Morning Reading for February 23

Mark 2:1-12
(Matthew 9:2-8; Luke 5:17-26)

Suggested further reading: Philippians 2:7-11

Some persons enjoy great spiritual privileges yet make no use of them. No city in Palestine appears to have enjoyed so much of our Lord's presence as did Capernaum. It was the place where he dwelt after he left Nazareth (Matt. 4:13). It was the place where many of his miracles were worked and many of his sermons delivered. But nothing that Jesus said or did seems to have had any effect on the hearts of the inhabitants. They crowded to hear him (v. 2). They were amazed and astonished at his mighty works (v. 12), but they were not converted. For this they drew heavy condemnation from our Lord (Matt. 11:23-24).

We are apt to suppose that it needs nothing but the powerful preaching of the gospel to convert men's souls, and that if that gospel is brought into a place everybody must believe. We forget the amazing power of unbelief and the depth of man's enmity towards God. The Capernaites heard the most faultless preaching and saw it confirmed by the most surprising miracles, and yet remained dead in trespasses and sins. Nothing seems to harden men's hearts so much as to hear the gospel regularly, and yet deliberately prefer the service of sin and the world.

However, what pains men will take about an object when they are in earnest! The friends of the sick man overcome all obstacles to bring him to Jesus (v. 4). By pains, labour and perseverance the friends gained for him a complete cure. In any activity there are no gains without pains.

Pains and diligence are just as essential to the well-being and prosperity of our souls as of our bodies. In all our endeavours to draw near to God, in all our approaches to Christ, there ought to be the same determined earnestness shown by the sick man's friends. We must allow no difficulties to check us and no obstacle to keep us back from anything which is really for our spiritual good. Men who are not in spiritual earnest about salvation have no time for Bible-reading, prayer and hearing the gospel. They have time for money, business, pleasure and politics!

For meditation: Modern Christians work shorter hours than ever, but always have less time for God than their forefathers. Why?

These readings (ISBN: 0 85234 420 1) are copyrighted and made available with permission by
Evangelical Press; 12 Wooler St., Darlington, Co, Durham, England, DL1 1RQ