Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, July 20th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Daily Devotionals
Mornings and Evenings with Jesus
Devotional: July 20th

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Morning Devotional

And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole. - Matthew 14:36.

LET us observe the manner in which these people applied to the Saviour, and the consequences of it. First, As to the manner in which they applied to him, we observe it was importunate: -“They besought him.” And it was humble:-“They besought him that they might but touch the hem of his garment.” They were afraid of being too familiar with him; he so pure and undefined, and they so unholy and polluted,-he so glorious, and they so mean. A sense of their unworthiness, therefore, made them keep at a distance from him: they would not venture to shake hands with him; they would not touch his body at all: “they would only touch the hem of his garment.” So it was with the woman who had a bloody issue: she came behind him and touched the border of his garment. So the woman that was a sinner “came and stood behind him and washed his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head.” Thus on this occasion “they besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment.” But it showed the greatness of their faith, that they believed, not only that his touching them, but even their only touching the hem of his garment, would be instrumental to their cure.

Observe, The consequences of the application:-“And as many as touched him were made perfectly whole.” First, The efficiency was universal in its extent. Some of these cases doubtless were inveterate, and many unsuccessful applications had been made to others; but they were all now perfectly healed.

Secondly, It was powerful in degree:- they “were made perfectly whole.” The Saviour never does his work by halves; he never shows himself unable to finish what he begins.

Thirdly, It was speedy in its operation. Other physicians require time, and in some cases a long time. The best means are often slow in their operation, and require to be repeated, and the patient is only gradually healed. But here all is done in a moment.

Yet, Fourthly, It was silent in its influence. The rose does not make a noise, yet it perfumes the air. The kingdom of God comes with power, yet it comes not by observation. What a change did these people experience! “The blind received their sight, the deaf were made to hear, the dumb to speak, and the lame to walk.” The patients themselves first felt sensible of their recovery, which soon appeared to their neighbours, who rejoiced on their account; and so others will soon take knowledge of those who have been with Jesus and learned of him.

The grand thing is for us to feel our need of this blessed Saviour. “They that be whole need not the physician, but them that are sick;” and if we feel and know that we must be healed or perish forever, then let us remember for our encouragement that there is balm in Gilead, that there is a physician there, that there is the same Saviour waiting to heal us who restored all these poor afflicted creatures; and he is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Can we touch him, then? Yes, by faith. Faith can not only make an application to him, but make an application of him, and claim all his blessings.

And we may repair to him: none are excluded, since the promise runs, “Whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely.” And coming to him we shall be made perfectly whole. Not at once, indeed, but in due time. He will perfect that which concerneth us; he will bring us to Immanuel’s land, where our “sun shall no more go down, nor our moon withdraw itself, and where the days of our mourning shall be ended;” “where we shall weep no more,” “and where the inhabitants shall no more say, I am sick.”

Evening Devotional

God is love. - 1 John 4:8.

WHEN John says, “God is love,” he means not only that love is God’s attribute, but that it is God’s character. Indeed, we cannot apply the word character to God precisely as we do to men. Among men, character is always the consequence of habit, as habit is frequently the result of previous disposition, and always the result of repeated action. But love is God’s character, inasmuch as he is peculiarly distinguished by it: and that all his perfections are, so to speak, so many parts and modifications of his love.

His wisdom is love devising; his power is love executing; his truth is love fulfilling; his holiness is love forbidding whatever would be injurious to us. His anger, chastising us for our faults and reducing us to reformation and repentance, is the expression of his love to us, and it is our guard and our warning, and is designed to prevent the very evil it denounces. Let us, then, illustrate the doctrine, “God is love.” We observe, therefore, that God has written two huge volumes upon this subject. It would take years and ages to read them through properly: all we can do is to quote a chapter or a verse or two from each of them.

The first of these volumes is Creation. Creation is immense; but let us fix upon our own world, with its seas and continents, and all the seasons of day and night, summer and winter, succeeding each other in a regular order, so that they are prepared to melt into each other without any disruption, and all of them bringing forward their appropriate advantages and pleasures, so that the year is crowned with his goodness. There, we may observe, it is that God intended not only to provide for our wants, but for our gratification; not only for our support, but our delight. Eating and drinking are essential to our support; but our God might have rendered our food as nauseous as medicines. He has rendered them agreeable, so that, in partaking of them, we never think of necessity, but only of gratification. The perfume and the beauty of the rose and the lily can only be designed for indulgence. The apple-tree yields a fruit important to man, but God could have caused it to yield this fruit without the precious power of blossoming; this was intended to charm us before it enriched us.

But let us glance at the other volume, the volume of Revelation, which is much larger and nobler than the first. God has “magnified his word above all his name;” as sings good Dr. Watts-

“God, in the person of his Son,

Hath all his mightiest works outdone.”

But general reflections impress little compared with facts and incidents. The one is like surveying a province from a high hill; the other is like descending into the vale and examining each particular scene or object. The author of the book of Job, “the finest drama,” says the poet-peer, “in the world,” shows his genius when he would display the perfections of God in the universe; he brings forward from the universe four or five specifications, each of which he has rendered a perfect picture; and who does not know that the very essence of poetry is to be found in the absence of abstract terms used in the blending of individualities. Upon the same principle John proceeds in this epistle. Having asserted “God is love,” he immediately mentions an instance of it, from which the angels fetch their fairest and fullest proof of our doctrine; for, says he, “herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

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