THE GREAT PHYSICIAN.
"Verily, verily, I say onto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me. hath everlastling life, and shall not come into condemnation: bat !• passed from death into life." John 5: 24.
We have for our lesson to-day the 5th chapter of this gospel according to John. Of course, we have not time to read the whole chapter; but most of you, perhaps, have been familiar with it. This man had been lame eight and thirty years; and he had been lying at the pool; and when the waters were troubled, others that were better able than he, stepped in and were cured. He could not reach the healing waters, and had given up all hope of ever reaching them. The thought I want to call your attention to is this—that Christ helped the man that could not help himself. I remember that, during the war, when a doctor came into the ward of a hospital, he always went for the worst cases first, those that were most severely wounded; and I have an idea that that is the way the Great Puvsi
works. Some wonder why such abandoned characters are ed first, in meetings like this; but it seems to be the Great Physician's way. Here is a man that has been eight and thirty years lame; and Christ came to him and said, "Wilt thou be made whole?" And the man told his pitiful story, that he had no one to help him and could not get to the pool; and Christ, with a word, commanded him to arise, take up his bed and walk, and he did so. It was instantaneous; the man did not have to wait six months, or six years, and go to the apothecary for a lot of herbs to swallow. It was done at once.
The keynote of this chapter of John is the power of the word of the Son of God. After healing this man-, he tefls the people precious truths, and you will find always that he did so after performing a miracle. These miracles were, perhaps, designed to wake them up, to arouse their attention. Let me read the 24th verse, which I think is one of the most precious verses in the whole Bible. If every other one wore blotted out, there would be truth enough in that verse to save every soul in chis building. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death into life."
I suppose a great many of those Jews wondered and marveled at this wonderful miracle, that this lame man had been made well; but Christ tells them that the hour is coming when the very dead shall hear the voice of the Son of man, and come forth. We find, in the fourth chapter, the Centurion coming and speaking about his son being sick, and Christ sent back word, "Thy son liveth;" and he returned and he found that at that very hour the son was made well. The Jews are marveling at these wonderful things; but he says, "The hour is coming when the dead shall hear the voice and come forth." soon after, Jairus' daughter was raised from the dead. He had unbelievers and skeptics around him then, as we have now. The philosophers, doubtless, said: "This child was not dead; they made a mistake; she was gone into a sort of faint." A little while after, he met the son of the widow of Nain; and he spoke the word, and broug-ht him back to life. Doubtless, a good many said that the young' man was not dead; and so now men try to explain away the miracles by natural causes. So, he took Lazarus after he had been dead four days, and his body was turned black and was putrefying, and brought him to life.
When Christ told these men that the dead would hear his voice and come to life, he did not leave them without some evidence that what he said was true. He gave them a specimen of his power. You have merchants here who put specimens of goods in their windows; and so Christ gave us a specimen of what he was going to do on the resurrection morning. So we have no ground to doubt that all the dead will be brought to life. Therefore, let us write over all our cemeteries: "The dead shall rise again; they shall come forth and shall live." Now that was pretty strong meat for those Jews. The idea that they should hear the voice of this carpenter, or the son of a carpenter, of Nazareth; the idea that his voice should raise all the dead, is pretty strong meat. But now he iust brings in the witness. It you turn over to the 33d verse—and he speaks now of the witnesses that testify of him: "Ye sent unto John and he bare witness unto the truth." Turn back to the 19th verse of the 1st chapter of John, and you will find that the priests and Levites were sent down from Jerusalem to ask John who he was. They came and said "Who art thou?" And he confessed he was not the Christ, and said, " I am not theOhrist;" and they asked him, "What then? Art thou Elias?" He said, "I am not." "Art thou that prophet?" and he answered, "No." "Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?" He said, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the Prophet Esaias." Or, in other words, "I am just nobody. Take word back to those men in Jerusalem I am nothing but just a voice in the wilderness." John was all the time crying down himself, and crying up Christ. "I must decrease, but he must increase." And that is really the very height of preaching, when men make themselves out nothing and Christ everything. \Vhen they preach down self and preach up Christ, then the Holy Ghost can work. He said, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as saith the Prophet Esaias." "And they asked him and said unto him, Why baptized thou then if thou be not that Christ nor Elias, neither that prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water; but there standeth one among you whom ye know not He it is, who coming after me, is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were done in Bethabara, beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John seetn Jesus coming unto him, and he saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world." Now he said to those very men, who wer sent to John to inquire who he was, "And he testified of me, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world." He said, I have got another witness. "I receive not testimony from man; but these things I say, that ye might be saved. He was a burning and a shining light; and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light." But I have greater witness than that of John; "for the works which the Father hath given to me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me that the Father hath sent me."
Now, I have not only got John for a witness, but these works I am doing. How are you going to account for that man, who was lama for thirty-eight years and made whole by my voice? How arc you going to account for that Centurion's son, who was dying; and I spoke the word, and he was made whole? These works I am doing in your sight. If you will not believe my witnesses, believe me for my work's sake. What overflowing testimony they had that he was manifest in the flesh and came from heaven to do the will of his Father.
But he says, I have got another witness besides those works: "And the Father himself which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me." Not that he is going to, but hath already done it. When he was baptized in Jerusalem and came out of the Jordan, there was a voice fell from heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." God bare witness that Christ was his Son: "This is my beloved Son, in whom 1 am well pleased." Then, again, on the Mount of Transfiguration, when he took Peter, James and John up with him, and Moses and Elias were talking with him, and a cloud came upon him; and there came a voice out of the cloud from the throne of heaven, saying, "This my beloved Son, hear ye him." God bare witness for Christ; what more witness do we want? Then he said, I have another: "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me." There are four witnesses: John the Baptist; the works that he performed; God his Father; and the Scriptures.
And if you turn over into the Old Testament, you will find that Moses and the Psalmist and the Prophets all testified of Christ. Why, when Philip went out there to preach to that eunuch, he found him reading the 53rd chapter of Isaiah; and he commenced and preached Christ to him. He found Christ in the Old Testament. There are a great many men in Boston who cannot find Christ there, because the devil has blinded them. If they had their eyes open, they could find him upon every page of Scripture; if you hunt for him you will find him there. "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me." Yes, Moses wrote of him, David wrote of him, and Elijah and the prophets testified of him; and we find that nearly every prophet testified of his coming. No one wrote more beautifully of him than the prophet Isaiah. It seems to me that we have got all the proof we want that this Jesus'Christ was the Son of God; that he came from the bosom of the Father, and came to save the world. If you will call upon him he will help you. Just come to him and he will give you power to speak for him. He will open your eyes, and you will see him. He will open your ears and you will hear the voice of the blessed gospel. Ask and you will receive.