And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by…
One of the noblest of the psalms commences with that verse which it would have been well worth while to have lived a long and stormy life to have written, "God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present Help in trouble." Who can estimate the thousands of thousands of tempest-tossed human souls to whom these words have brought help and comfort! The latter part of this passage is in very close relation to our text. It brings before our minds -
I. THE COMPARATIVE NEARNESS OF GOD TO US. It may indeed be objected that the Omnipresent One, being everywhere, cannot be more truly in one place than in another. Doubtless that is so. But God may be more manifestly present, and therefore more present to our consciousness, in one place than in another. So the old Hebrew worshipper felt as he drew near Jerusalem, as he entered the precincts of the temple, as he went into the court of the Jews, as he saw the priests enter the sanctuary itself. And once in the history of mankind God did so visit us that he was "manifest in the flesh;" he was "Emmanuel, God with us" - with us in a sense in which he was not before and has not been again. There is a sense in which God is nearer to us in the sanctuary and at the table of the Lord than elsewhere. He has promised to meet us there; we go there on purpose to be in his presence; therefore to our consciousness he is in a peculiar sense present with us - our very present Saviour.
II. THE PRESENCE OF HIS POWER. "The power of the Lord was present." Any Israelite of ancient time would have told you that God's power was present in the sky, in the sea, in the corn, in the rain. But he was more impressed with the power of God as manifested in the storm in harvest-time, or in the overthrow of Sennacherib's mighty host. Yet this was only in his imagination; the power of God was as truly and as graciously present in the ordinary and the regular as in the miraculous. We are inclined to think that Divine power is most manifest in the shaking thunder or in the flashing lightning, or in the upheaving earthquake; but the wiser we are, the more we "observe these things, and (consequently) understand the loving-kindness of the Lord," the more we perceive that God's power is as present in the common and the continuous as in the startling and the exceptional, is "very present" in the unfolding morning and the descending night, in the growing of the grass and the ripening of the corn and the blooming of the flowers. God's power is present with us always and everywhere, if we have but eyes to see it and hearts to feel it.
III. THE PRESENCE OF HIS HEALING POWER.
1. A very beneficent power is that of healing; perhaps we never praise God quite so feelingly as when we bless him that "he has healed our sicknesses." God has always been healing men. He has supplied us with the substances which are fitted to restore, and he has given us a bodily system of such a nature that it has great recuperative powers. There are but few among those who have reached manhood and womanhood who have not had occasion to know that the power of the Lord is present to heal us now. In the hour of convalescence they gave him the glory and offered their renewed life to him. What are they doing now that health has been restored and confirmed?
2. And this healing of the body is but the picture and the promise of the healing of the heart. When Jesus Christ went from village to village, healing all manner of diseases, it was partly, if not principally, to say to all men everywhere of every age, "Understand, ye blind souls that walk in darkness, I am the Light of the world; come to me, that you may see indeed! Ye strengthless and sick ones in need of spiritual healing, I am the Divine Restorer; come unto me, that ye may be strong indeed! Ye dying ones, I am the Resurrection and the Life; come unto me, that you may live indeed!" - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.
WEB: It happened on one of those days, that he was teaching; and there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every village of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. The power of the Lord was with him to heal them.