« AnteriorContinuar »
there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And He came and touched the bier, and they that bare him stood still. And He said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And He delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up amongst us; and, That God hath visited His people. And this rumour of Him went forth throughout all Judea, and throughout all the region round about.
This miracle differs in two respects from most of our Lord's miracles. First, He worked it without any request or prayer to do so. The sad condition of the widow alone moved Him to pity. Her sorrowful sighing came before Him." He had compassion on her. Next, the miracle was wrought before a multitude of people, while our Lord generally did His mighty works with only a few witnesses. Only five people were present when Jairus' daughter was raised; but a great number saw the widow's son restored to life and given to his mother. No doubt the Lord Jesus, to whom all hearts are open, knew that the people in Jairus' house were not fit to behold such a wondrous work, while these men of Nain would be moved by the miracle to glorify God.
In Eastern lands the burial places are outside the towns and villages; and thus our Lord on entering Nain met the funeral procession. No one is so desolate as a widow, no mourning so bitter as that for an only son. No wonder that He who declareth His almighty power most chiefly in shewing mercy and pity, had compassion on this widow. He said to her, “Weep not,' and in saying it He took away all need for tears. He who wipes away tears from off all faces, will also swallow
death in victory.
Nor call departed Christians dead,
And every grave becomes a bed. The body they were carrying to the grave was not shut up in a coffin. Coffins were not used then, but the dead were carried to their burial on a bier. Our Lord touched the bier with His holy life-giving Hand, and with His voice He called the young man back to life, as easily as we can rouse a man from sleep. Elijah and Elisha raised the dead with prayer, and with much effort. They cried to the Lord, and stretched themselves upon the children whom they desired to raise to
St. Peter knelt and prayed before he restored Dorcas to life. But Jesus Christ spake the word and it was done.
We cannot wonder that fear came on those who saw this sign of the Presence of God. Their fear was such as God blesses. It led them to glorify Him, and to receive our Lord Jesus as the Prophet who should come into the
XV.-THE HEALING OF THE IMPOTENT
MAN AT BETHESDA.
Most of our Lord's mighty works were done in Galilee. This one was wrought at Jerusalem, where He went to keep a feast, which is believed to be the Passover. It is related by St. John, chap. v. 1-16.
After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, He saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered Him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked : and on the same day was the Sabbath.
The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the Sabbath day: it is not lawful for
thee to carry thy bed. He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk ? And he that was healed wist not who it was : for Jesus had conveyed Himself away, a multitude being in that place. Afterwards Jesus findeth him in the Temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole : sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath day.
Bethesda means the house of outpouring, or the house of mercy.
It was the name of a pool near the sheep market, or, it may be, the sheep gate, (marginal reading,) and there from time to time a miracle of healing was wrought upon the first man who went into the water after an angel had disturbed it. It must have been a sad sight to see the multitude of sick and maimed persons who were laid in the porches round that pool to wait for the moving of the water. Yet there our Lord went, for the sake of one sufferer, who had been afflicted for thirty-eight years. Hope seems to have died out in that poor man's heart; he had waited so long in vain near the fountain of healing. When the Lord Jesus asked him whether he would be made whole, he said that he had no man to put him into the pool, not knowing that the Son of Man stood by him ready to make him well. Our Lord said to him what He said to the sick of the palsy at Capernaum, Arise, take up thy
Nehemiah, iii, 1, 32; xii. 39.
bed, and walk. And like that man he arose,
took up his bed, and walked.
But this was the Sabbath day, and the Jews found fault with him for carrying his bed. The man said in answer that he had been bidden to do so by Him who had healed him, but he could not tell them who that was. It was the custom with our blessed Saviour to withdraw from a crowd, and He had done so after working this miracle.
The man and his Saviour met again, however, and it was in the Temple. As Hezekiah went there on his recovery from sickness, as the lame man went there after being healed by St. Peter and St. John, so this man went there. No doubt it was to give thanks for the mercy he had received, an example to us when we have recovered from sickness, or received a special favour from God. And there our Lord
him that solemn warning, “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. True, he had had thirtyeight years of infirmity and pain; but if he should provoke God again, a more terrible judgement was in store for him.
Now the man knew who had healed him. It was Jesus, the Prophet of Nazareth in Galilee; and he went and told the Jews, thinking perhaps that when they heard His Name they would leave off cavilling. But they only began to persecute our Lord, and sought to slay Him, as they did many times afterwards, for working miracles of healing on the Sabbath day.
* Isaiah, xxxviii. 22,
? Acts, iji. 8.