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« Reply #165 on: March 15, 2006, 05:52:54 PM »

The Intolerance of Jesus- Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Christ Died Because of His Intolerance

I mention that just to make plain to you that I am not shutting my eyes to common truths. Yet the fact remains that in all great personalities, there is a strain of what is called intolerance. There are things in which it must be yea or nay—the everlasting no, as Carlyle has it. There are spheres in which all compromise is treachery, and when a man must say with Luther, "Here I stand." And that intolerance, so far from being the enemy of love and sympathy and generous culture, is the rock that a man needs to set his feet on, if he is to cast his rope to those who cry for help. You find it in the God of the Old Testament—"Thou shalt have no other gods before me." He is a jealous God, and brooks no rival. He must be loved with heart and soul and strength and mind. You find it in the music of the psalmist, and in the message of prophet and apostle, and you find it bosomed amid all the love that shone in the character of Jesus Christ. Never was man so tender as the Lord. Never was man so swift to sympathise. Never did sinners so feel that they were understood. Never did the lost so feel that they were loved. Yet with all that pity and grace and boundless comprehension, I say you have never fathomed the spirit of the Master, until you have recognised within its range a certain glorious and divine intolerance. We talk of the infinite tolerance of Shakespeare; it is a commonplace of all Shakespearean criticism. Nothing was alien from that mighty genius; the world was a stage and he knew all the players. But underneath that worldwide comprehension there is a scorn of scorn, a hate of hate; there is such doom on the worthless and the wicked as can scarce be paralleled in any literature; and till you have heard that message of severity—that judgment which is the other side of love—you have never learned the secret of the dramatist. In a loftier and a more spiritual sense that is true of our Master, Jesus Christ. He loved us and He gave Himself for us. He says to every weary heart, "Come unto me." But that same spirit which was so true and tender could be superbly unyielding and inflexible. The gentle Saviour was splendidly intolerant, and because of His intolerance He died.

Intolerant toward Hypocrisy

We trace the intolerance of Christ, for instance, in His attitude towards hypocrisy. One thing that was unendurable to Jesus was the shallow profession of religion. You can always detect an element of pity when Jesus is face to face with other sins. There is the yearning of infinite love over the lost; the hand outstretched to welcome back the prodigal. But for the hypocrite there is no gleam of pity, only the blasting and withering of wrath. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" It is the intolerance of Jesus Christ.

Christ Is Intolerant of Sharing His Uniqueness

We trace it again in those stupendous claims that Jesus Christ put forward for Himself. The Lord our God is a jealous God, and the Lord our Saviour is a jealous Saviour. "I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life"—"No man cometh unto the Father but by Me"—"No man knoweth the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." What do you make of these amazing claims, and of that splendid intolerance of any rival?—yet all these words are in the Gospel record as surely as "a bruised reed shall he not break." Do you say there are many doorways to the Father? Christ Jesus stands and says, "I am the door." Do you say there are many shepherds of the sheep? Christ stands in His majesty, and says, "I am the shepherd." Pitiful, merciful, full of a great compassion, Christ is intolerant of any rival; He stands alone to be worshipped and adored, or He disappears into the mists of fable. So far as I am aware that is unique; there is nothing like it in religious history. The ancient pantheons had always room for the introduction of another god. It is Christ alone, the meek and lowly Saviour, who lifts Himself up in isolated splendour. Friend of the friendless and Brother of the weakest, He is intolerant of any sharing of His claims.

Christ Is Intolerant When It Comes to Sharing the Allegiance He Demands from us
Again I trace this same intolerance in the allegiance which Christ demands from us. He is willing to take the lowest place upon the cross; but He will not take it in your heart and mine. When He was born in the fullness of the time, He did not ask for the splendour of the palace. He was born in a manger, reared in a lowly home, and grew to His manhood in obscurest station. But the moment He enters the kingdom of the heart, where He is King by conquest and by right, there everything is changed, and with a great intolerance He refuses every place except the first. "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me"—"Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead." That is the word of a King in His own Kingdom, claiming His rightful place among His subjects. And when you speak of the meek and lowly Jesus, never forget there is that imperial note there. He is divinely intolerant of everybody who would usurp the throne that is His right.

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« Reply #166 on: March 15, 2006, 05:54:54 PM »

The Intolerance of Jesus- Page 3
by George H. Morrison


Such, then, are one or two instances of the intolerance of Jesus Christ, and now I want to examine its true nature, that we may see how worthy it was of Christ.

The Intolerance of Christ Is the Child of Glowing Faith

The first thing I note in the intolerance of Jesus is that it is the child of glowing faith. The intolerance of Christ is little else than the other side of His perfect trust in God. When one is a stranger to you, bound by no ties of love, you are little affected by what is said about him. The talk may be true, or it may not be true, but it is none of your business, and you do not know. But the moment a man becomes a hero to you, that moment you grow intolerant of liberties. If you believe in a woman, your heart is aflame with anger should anyone sully her name even with a breath. A French poet tells us that when he was a youth he was a passionate worshipper of Victor Hugo. He believed in Hugo with all his heart and soul; he thought there had never been a poet like him. And he says that even in a dark cellar underground, where nobody possibly could have overheard him, he could not bear to whisper to himself that a single verse of Hugo's poetry was bad. That is the fine intolerance of faith in ardent and eager and devoted natures. That is the faith which Jesus Christ was filled with, in God and His righteousness and providential order. And with a faith like that there can be no compromise; no light and shallow acceptance of alternatives. Under the sway of such a glowing trust a certain intolerance is quite inevitable. It is easy to be infinitely tolerant, if all that Christ lived for means but little to you. An age that can tolerate every kind of creed is always an age whose faith is burning low. And just because Christ's faith burned with a perfect light, and flashed its radiance full on the heart of God, you find in Him, in all His God ward life, a steady and magnificent intolerance.

Christ's Intolerance Was Found in His Perfect Understanding

Then once again the intolerance of Jesus is the intolerance of perfect understanding. It was because He knew so fully, and sympathised so deeply, that there were certain things He could not bear. One great complaint we make against intolerance is that it does not sympathetically understand us. It is harsh in judgment, and fails in comprehension, and has no conception of what things mean for us. We have all met with intolerance like that, but remember there is another kind. Take the case of drunkenness, for instance; there are many people very tolerant of drunkenness. They talk about it lightly, make a jest of it; they are none of your rigid, longfaced Pharisees. But sometimes you meet a man, sometimes a woman, to whom such jesting talk is quite intolerable, and it is intolerable not because they know so little; it is intolerable because they know so much. The curse has crossed the threshold of their home, and laid its fatal grip on someone who was dear. They have seen the wreck and ruin of it, and all its daily misery, and the drying up of every wellspring of the heart. So in their grief they grow terribly intolerant, and it is not because they do not understand; they are intolerant because they understand so well. Never forget that it is so with Christ. He is intolerant because He comprehends. He knows what sin is; He knows how sweet it is; He knows its havoc, its loneliness, its dust and ashes. And therefore is He stern, uncompromising, and says to us, "Choose ye this day whom ye will serve." There are men who are intolerant because of ignorance; Christ is intolerant because He knows.

Christ's Intolerance Is Based on His Love

Lastly, the intolerance of Jesus is very signally the intolerance of love. Love beareth all things—all things except one, and that is the harm or hurt of the beloved. Here is a little child out in the streets, ragged and shoeless in the raw March weather. Let it stay out till midnight, no one complains at home. Let it use the foulest of language, no one corrects it. Poor little waif, in whom all things are tolerated, and tolerated just because no one loves it! What kind of mother has that little child? What kind of father has that little child? You know them in the street, swollen and coarse, reeking with all the vileness of the city. They tolerate everything because they do not love; when love steps in, that toleration ceases. Now we all know that when our Saviour came, He came at the bidding and in the power of love; love wonderful, love that endured the worst, love that went up to Calvary to die. And just because that love was so intense, and burned with the ardour of the heart of God, things that had been tolerable once were found to be intolerable now. That is the secret of the Gospel's sternness and of its passionate protest against sin. That is why age after age it clears the issues, and says, "He that is not with me is against me." The love that beareth all things cannot bear that hurt or harm should rest on the beloved. Christ is intolerant because He loves.

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« Reply #167 on: March 19, 2006, 06:45:51 PM »

March 19

Feeding the Five Thousand - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude— Mat_14:19

The Only Miracle Recorded in All Four Gospels

This is the only miracle recorded in each of the four Gospels, and we must take that as a token of the profound impression which it made. To us, the raising of Lazarus is more astounding than this mountain feast; but had we lived in Galilee, and heard the common talk, we should have perhaps found that this miracle was graven deepest on men's hearts. Most of the other miracles had been seen by few. There was no crowd near when the Nain widow got her son again. When Lazarus awoke, there were only the village neighbours present. But here five thousand lips had eaten, and five thousand lips would talk, until in every farm house and cottage this miracle would be a household word. That deep impression is registered in the fourfold narrative.

Only a word is needed to describe the miracle. Partly to avoid the dangerous neighbourhood of Herod, and still more, to refresh His overstrained disciples—for there is nothing like a day with Christ among the hills for making a worried heart itself again—Jesus and His disciples cross the lake, and steer for the quiet hills by the north shore. Alas! there was to be little rest that day. The folk had seen them launching. They hurry round by the north end of the lake, meeting and mingling with the pilgrim-companies making for Jerusalem to keep the Passover. And as the prow of the boat grates on the beach, and Jesus and His disciples step ashore, God's great cathedral of the mountainside, whose roof is heaven and whose organ music is the sea, is thronged with a vast and eager congregation. Then Jesus heals, and teaches, and in the evening feeds them. Which done, the stars come out, and the crowds are scattered, and the disciples are rowing homeward to Capernaum, and Jesus is on the mountainside in prayer.

Christ's Compassion

Note first that this miracle had its roots in Christ's compassion. When He stepped ashore and saw much people, we read that He was moved with compassion towards them. And all the healing, and teaching, and feeding of that memorable day sprang from that pity in the heart of Christ. And that is the glory of divine compassion it is the source and spring of noble deeds. Often we pity where we cannot help. But the compassion of Jesus sprang into action always. It set Him healing, teaching, feeding hungry men, and it still draws Him to the same service. Is Christ my compassionate High Priest today? Then He will help me in my struggle to be true. He will lift me up when I have failed and fallen. He will feed me when my soul is starving.

One Food for All

Mark, too, there was but one food for all these thousands. The rich were there, journeying to Jerusalem, and the poorest of the poor were there, from the rude huts by the lakeside. Yonder were the quick merchants from the cities, here lolled the farmhands from the fields. There was a mother crooning to her babe, and here were the children romping on the green. Old men were there with the first glow of heaven about them, and young men with the first glow of earth. Yet Jesus fed them all with the same bread. The strange thing is that no one scorned the victual. All ate, and all were filled. No swift relays of courses had ever been so sweet as the single dish with Jesus on the hill.

Now the wonderful thing about Christ—the living Bread—is that He satisfies us all. What a great gulf between the Jew of Tarsus and the ignorant fishers of Bethsaida! What a world between the gentle Lydia and the rude jailer at Philippi! Yet the power of Christ that made a man of Peter was no less mighty in the heart of Paul; and the love of God that won the love of Lydia conquered the jailor too. In all love, says a thinker, there is something levelling; and the love of God is the great leveller of the ages. It knows no social barriers. It is not powerless where temperaments differ. It comes to all, this one glorious Gospel of the grace of God, and all may feed and be satisfied.

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« Reply #168 on: March 19, 2006, 06:47:43 PM »

Feeding the Five Thousand - Page 2
by George H. Morrison




Jesus Uses Gifts Men Bring Him

Again note, that in satisfying the needs of men Christ uses the gifts which men bring Him. Had Jesus so willed, He could have made bread out of the stones. In times past, God had called water from the rock, and brought manna from the windows of heaven, and I do not know why God in Christ might not have summoned these hidden stores again. But Jesus' miracles were acted parables, not wrought to amaze, but to instruct. And so He takes what the disciples give Him, and uses that to feed the crowd. It is often Christ's way to help the world through men. It is His plan to bring the Kingdom in through us. And if we take our gifts, however poor and humble, and lay them freely at the feet of Jesus, He will so bless and multiply and use them that we shall be amazed, and recognise His hand.

The Bread Increased in the Breaking of It

I see, too, that it was in the breaking that the bread increased. A wonder-worker would have touched the loaves, and made them swell and multiply before the crowd. But Jesus blessed, and brake, and gave to the disciples, and as they brake the bread, it increased. It was through the blessing that the miracle was wrought, and through the breaking that it was realised. And ever, through the breaking, comes the increase, and in the using of our gifts, with God's blessing, are our gifts enlarged. Trade with your talent bravely, and it shall be five. Power springs from power, and service out of service. Never try to do good, and you will find no good to do. Do all the little good you can, and every day will bring a fresh capacity and a new opportunity, until you find that "there is that scattereth and yet increaseth."

Careful of the Fragments

And lastly, note that Jesus was very careful of the fragments. One would have thought that Jesus was too rich to trouble Himself about the fragments. Surely it was but labour lost to sweat and stoop and stumble in the dark, to fill their wicker baskets with the scraps. But Jesus is imperious. "Gather the fragments that remain," is His command. And the twelve disciples, who a little before had been sent out to heal and teach and preach the Gospel, had now, in the presence of the thousands, to set about sweeping the crumbs. It was a splendid discipline. Someone has said that if two angels came to earth, the one to rule an empire, and the other to sweep a crossing, they would never seek to interchange their tasks. And our own poet has told us that:

A servant with this clause
Makes drudgery divine,
Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws,
Makes that and the action fine.

But was that all? I think not. It was not merely to discipline the disciples that Jesus commanded the fragments to be gathered. We cannot read the story of His life, but we detect a care for the fragments through it all. The fragment of a day, how He employed it! The fragment of a life, how He redeemed it! The fragment of a character, how He ennobled it! Yes, that is His great passion—to love and lift our fragmentary lives till they are brought into the image of His own.

____________________

George H. Morrison Devotions

Dist. Worldwide in the Great Freeware Bible Study package called
e-Sword by Rick Meyer: http://www.e-sword.net/downloads.html
Full Featured - Outstanding - Completely FREE - No Strings Attached

(The goal of Rick Meyer is to distribute excellent Bible Study
Software to every country on earth in their own language FREE
of charge, and that goal gets closer by the day.)
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« Reply #169 on: March 23, 2006, 03:58:58 AM »

March 21

Jesus Walking on the Sea - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea— Mat_14:25

Jesus Felt the Necessity of Being Alone with God

It had been a day of trial and stress for Jesus, and when the sun set, the danger was not over. There were terrible risks in that enthusiastic crowd that surged and swayed upon the mountain side. The miracle of His feeding the five thousand had made a powerful impression. It had struck deep into these fickle hearts. And if the cry once rang along the hillside "Jesus is King!" who knew where the echoes of that cry might end? Christ recognised the peril of the hour. He felt the supreme necessity of prayer. It was a moment in the Master's life when His greatest desire was to be alone with God. Full of that quiet authority that moved the crowd as wonderfully as it calmed the sea, Jesus constrained the disciples to depart, and sent the throng away. How they would talk as they travelled homeward! How gladly, as the first gusts of storm swept down on them, would they descry the gleaming of their cottage windows! I see the children plucking their mothers' robes, and crying, "Mother, where is the Teacher now? We left Him on the hill—has He no home?" Perhaps some of them would learn in after days that it was home and heaven and life for Jesus to be alone with God.

A Storm Breaks Out to Teach the Disciples Dependence

Meantime the storm had broken. The clouds swept out the stars, the wind came whistling through the glens and corries, the sea ran high. And out in the midst of it toiled the disciples, Masterless, shelterless, helpless. It was a wild night after a weary day. It was a strange fulfilment of their promised rest (Mar_6:31). And yet I question if any holiday among the hills could have taught them as much as did that unmanageable boat. That very evening they had been ordering their Master (Mat_14:15). They had been giving Him advice about five thousand men. They had been eager to manage that great crowd for Jesus—and now they cannot manage their little craft! It was a very blessed and very humbling storm. It brought the disciples to their place again. It printed upon their hearts, as in a picture, that the secret of Christian power is dependence.

They Wanted Jesus and Yet They Did Not Recognise Him

And so the night wore on, and every wave that dashed into the boat deepened their need of Jesus. The crowds were home now, the children were asleep, and every light by the lake side was out. Then with the dawn came Christ. They spied a form, moving along the ridges of the sea, now lost for a moment in the trough of the waves, now dimmed by the showers of spray. And though they had longed for Jesus, and prayed for Jesus, and this was Jesus, they did not know Him, and cried out for fear. Sometimes we get the very thing we ask, and we do not recognise it when it comes. Sometimes we win the very help we need, and we are just as troubled as before. They cried, It is a spirit! The demon of the tempest was abroad, and Jesus—where was He? Who can describe their joy when the familiar voice rang over the white crests, "Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid!"

One Stood Out

Now there are times when a man's character is revealed, and one of these times is often that of storm. When we find Jesus sleeping in the tempest, it teaches us His perfect trust in God. When we rehearse Paul's conduct in the shipwreck, it opens a window into that noble heart. So here, from all the disciples, one stands out; and amid the spray, and in the driving wind of that wild morning, there falls a shaft of light on Simon Peter. It is Peter who cries across the storm, "Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee." It is Peter who flings himself upon the waves to get to Christ. And it is Peter who begins to sink, and would have gone to the depths but for the hand of Jesus. There is the strength and there is the weakness of that hero. There is the story of his life condensed. When the wind ceased, and the ship's company knelt down to worship Jesus, none felt so deeply as Peter that this was the Son of God.

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« Reply #170 on: March 23, 2006, 04:00:32 AM »

Jesus Walking on the Sea - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


The Long Delays of Heaven

Among the many lessons of this miracle we shall note three. First remark the long delays of heaven. The night must have seemed endless to the twelve. Hour after hour dragged on, and hour after hour brought no word of Jesus. And it was not till the Roman guard in Caesarea had changed for the fourth watch, that the beloved voice was heard over the waves. Had they lost heart and hope? Did they suspect that Jesus had forgotten them? We are always ready to think ill of God, because of God's great method of delay. But of this be sure that when our need is greatest, God is closest. He may delay, He will not disappoint. We must be schooled out of our impatience somehow. We must be trained in waiting and in trusting. It was not only for a night of prayer that Jesus lingered. It was to teach His own that patience of hope which was to win such triumphs for the Church.

Christ Comes by Unexpected Roads

I see, too, that Christ comes by unexpected roads. That night the twelve were longing for their Master, but they never dreamed that He would come that way. If any sail went beating up the lake, their hopes rose, for Jesus might be there. But even Peter, most sanguine of them all, had never guessed that the waves would be His street. Yet by that unexpected avenue the King approached, and on unlikeliest highways He is coming still. By what strange roads Christ enters human hearts! By what strange ways He comes into our homes! A word, a visit of a stranger perhaps, a sickness or a death—and He is here. And it is all so different from what we looked for, that we do not recognise it is the Lord. There are ten thousand thoroughfares for Jesus. His ways of ingress into human souls are endless. Let me not bind Him. Let me not limit Him either to my preconceptions or my prayers. He puts to shame my wellworn offers of salvation, and comes to men by unexpected roads.

We Sink When We See Nothing But the Storm

And lastly, this meets me in the story: we sink when we see nothing but the storm. When Peter looked to Jesus he was safe. But perhaps a wave came and towered like a wall before him, and for the moment he could not see his Lord. He saw the waves, he felt the spray, he heard the wind. But he looked and he saw no face, no arm, no hand, and in that moment Peter began to sink. Do we still detect that presence in the tempest? Do we discern the presence and the love of God in the confusion of our common day? When we see nothing but the storm, we sink. When we see Christ enthroned in it, we triumph.

____________________

George H. Morrison Devotions

Dist. Worldwide in the Great Freeware Bible Study package called
e-Sword by Rick Meyer: http://www.e-sword.net/downloads.html
Full Featured - Outstanding - Completely FREE - No Strings Attached

(The goal of Rick Meyer is to distribute excellent Bible Study
Software to every country on earth in their own language FREE
of charge, and that goal gets closer by the day.)
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« Reply #171 on: March 23, 2006, 04:02:26 AM »

March 22

Beginning to Sink - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


Beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me— Mat_14:30

The Pathos of a Wasted Life

There are two sights in human life which fill the heart with profound sorrow. The first is that of a person who has sunk. When we see a face made loathsome by iniquity and think that once it was innocent and childlike; when we hear of somebody who bore an honoured name, but is now in the depths of degradation, that is one of life's most piteous spectacles. It arrests even the worldly-minded who cherish no ideals for humanity; how much more must it sadden one who has anything of the vision of Christ Jesus. Men who are sunken—women who are sunken—are the heartbreak of the home and of the city. There is such infinite pathetic waste in a wasted, miserable life. But to the seeing eye and the perceiving heart, there is another spectacle which is not less tragic—it is that of the man who is beginning to sink. Beginnings are always mighty and momentous for every eye that has the power to see. Much of our knowledge and our power today springs from our modern study of beginnings. And in this text we have an instance, not of a man who has sunk into the depths, but of a man who is beginning to sink. Shall we look at him in that light for a little?

Our Best Qualities May Be Our Ruin

The first thought to force itself upon me is that it was Peter's temperament which put him in this danger. He began to sink because he was Simon Peter. The other disciples were all safe. It never occurred to them to leave the vessel. They were men of sagacity and common sense and knew the difference between land and water. But Peter was reckless, headstrong and impetuous, acting on impulse. Peter followed the dictates of his heart, and never waited for his laggard reason. In a sense that was the glory of his character. It made him do what no one else would do. It gave him the charm of daring and enthusiasm of that unexpectedness which always fascinates. But those very qualities that in the hand of Christ were to go to the upbuilding of the Church, sometimes brought him to the verge of ruin. It was only Peter who would begin to walk, and it was only Peter who would begin to sink. He was led into peril on these stormy waters because of what was self-forgetful in him. And it may be there is someone who has not sunk yet, but is beginning to sink, because he has a temperament like that. Our perils do not always reach us through our worst. Our perils sometimes reach us through our best: through what is charming in us, delightful, and enthusiastic. And so like Peter we begin to do what the cold and calculating would never do, and then like Peter we begin to sink. That is why every man needs to be saved not only from his sin but from himself. That is why God, in His holy love to save us, gave us not a message but a Man. For our brightest social qualities may wreck us. A touch of genius may be our ruin. For all that is implied in that word temperament, we need the keeping of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sinking amid Familiar Surroundings

The next thing to arrest me here is that Peter began to sink in very familiar waters. I suppose if you had asked him if he knew them, he would have replied that he knew them, every inch. Some of us, who spend our summers by an ocean or a lake think we are very familiar with them. And if love be at the source of all true knowledge, then indeed it may be that we know them. But if you want a true and perfect knowledge, it is not to the summer visitor you look, but to the fisherman who was cradled by its shores. Now Simon Peter was a fisherman, and all his life had been spent beside that lake. He had played on its shores as a little child; he had known it in summer and in winter. And it was there, in these familiar scenes, amid what was habitual and customary, that he began to sink. There was another occasion when he began to sink, and that was in the High Priest's palace at Jerusalem. He was a stranger there—in unfamiliar scenes—among men and women who knew nothing of him. Here it was different. Here he was at home. He was among those who knew him and who loved him, and here he began to sink. It is a very sad and pitiable thing when a man begins to sink away from home, when he goes away into a distant land and forgets the God of his father and his mother. But the peril for each one of us is the peril of Peter on the lake of Galilee—that we begin to sink amid familiar waters. Beginning to sink in India is sad; beginning to sink at home is almost worse; forgetting the sanctuary and the bended knee, the purity and temperance and tenderness. And if there is anyone who is beginning to sink at home, amid those who love and pray, now is the time to cry as Peter cried, "Lord, save me, or I perish."

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« Reply #172 on: March 23, 2006, 04:04:07 AM »

Beginning to Sink - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Sinking after Loyal Discipleship

Another feature which I note is that Peter began to sink after loyal discipleship. He had known Christ and had loved and followed Him before this hour of peril on the lake. We all remember that great hour in history when Peter had been called to the discipleship. Then he had left all and followed Jesus; he had made the full surrender to the Lord. And from that hour he had companied with Jesus and seen His miracles and heard His words and enjoyed the infinite blessings of His friendship. No one would doubt the reality of that. That self-surrender was intensely real. And Peter loved his Lord and knew His power and was never happy except in His companionship. And it was after all that rich experience—that self-surrender and devoted service—that Peter on the lake began to sink. He was no raw and inexperienced youth. He was one who had heard the calling of the Master. He was no beginner in the higher life. He was a man who had done yeoman service. And the sad thing is that in every community there are men and women who begin to sink, not in their raw and inexperienced youth, but after years of discipleship and service. Sometimes it is the deceitfulness of riches which causes it. Sometimes it is growing absorption in business. Sometimes it is the constant subtle influence of one who is unspiritual in the home. Sometimes it is weariness in well doing and the dropping of the life to lower levels from secret clingings that no one knows but God. No one would say such lives were sunken lives. I am not speaking of moral wrecks and tragedies. I am speaking of men who are still of good repute, still kind at home, still diligent in business. And yet one feels they have begun to sink; they are not the men we remember in the morning; there is a different accent in their speech and a different atmosphere around their character. Men need to be awakened out of their security, as Peter was wakened on the sea of Galilee, to recall their past discipleship and to compare it with what they are now, and then to cry, as Simon Peter cried, "Lord, save me, or I perish."

Sinking While Obeying Christ

Also to be noted is this fact, that Peter began to sink on a permitted path. When he began to sink he was no trespasser; he was going where Christ permitted him to go. Had our Lord cried to him across the water, Thou art a madman if thou triest to come; had He cried to him, Thou shalt not come—on the peril of thy life I bid thee halt; why then we should have understood it better—we should have said it served him right to sink for then he would have been disobeying Christ, and the wages of disobedience is death. The point which I want you to notice is that Simon Peter was not disobeying. Our Lord had not forbidden him to come. And so do I learn that on permitted paths—on ways that are sanctioned by the voice of heaven—it is possible now, as on the lake of Galilee, for men and women to begin to sink. There are ways that are forbidden to every child of man. God writes His flaming "No Thoroughfare" upon them. And just for the reason that this is a righteous universe, the man who sets foot on them begins to sink immediately. But the strange thing is that even when God says "Come," and opens up the way that we may walk in it, even there it is always possible to sink. That is true of the blessedness of home. It is true of all social and Christian service. And man may preach the everlasting Gospel, yet run the risk of being cast away. And therefore amid all our privileges and all the gifts which God has blessed us with, "Lord, save us, or we perish."

Peter Began to Sink When He Began to Fear

Equally notable is this, too, that Peter began to sink when he began to fear. And the Scripture tells when he began to fear: it was when he took his eyes off his Lord. There is not a trace that the wind had grown more fierce while the disciple was walking on the water. It had been just as fierce and the waves had been just as boisterous when he had sprung from the gunwale of the boat. But then he had thought of nothing but the Master, had had eyes for nobody except the Master, and so long as that continued he was safe. Looking to Christ, he could go anywhere. The very sea was as a pavement to him. Looking away from Christ he was as other men, and the perils that surrounded him were terrible. And then he regretted the rashness of his venture and saw nothing around him but the seething waters, and so Peter began to be afraid and beginning to be afraid, began to sink. That is true of every kind of life. It is true especially of spiritual life. In the perilous calling of the spiritual life, to lose heart is to lose everything. And that is why the Lord is always saying to us, "My son, give me thine heart," for only in His keeping is it safe. It is a simple message—looking unto Jesus, and yet it is the message of salvation. To trust in Him and to keep the eye on Him is the one secret of all Christian victory. And when we have failed to do so in the stress of life, as all of us, like Simon Peter, fail, then there is nothing left but to cry with Peter, "Lord, save me, or I perish."

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« Reply #173 on: March 23, 2006, 04:05:48 AM »

Beginning to Sink - Page 3
by George H. Morrison


Sinking Unobserved

I think, too, we may reasonably infer that the other disciples knew nothing of all this. When Peter began to sink, they never noticed it. To begin with, all this happened about the time of daybreak. Then the waves were boisterous and in wild confusion, so that the feet of Peter often would be hidden. And if they failed to recognise their Lord when He walked in majesty upon the waters, they were not likely to see Peter clearly. When we see someone on the point of drowning, our first instinct is to give a cry. But we have no hint of anyone crying here, save the disciple himself in his distress. And so I gather from these converging hints that when Peter began to sink into the deeps, no one saw it except himself and Christ. There are some people just like Simon Peter. They have not sunk yet, they are not degraded; they are just beginning to sink. Yet no one at home knows anything about it; no one suspects it or has ever dreamed of it; no one would believe it for a moment. When a man has sunk, then there is no disguising. The story is written that he who runs may read. There is nothing hidden but it shall be revealed, whether of things in heaven or things in hell. But when a man is just beginning to sink it may be utterly different from that; it may be a secret between himself and God. His nearest and dearest may not dream of it; his mother and father may be in total ignorance. And he may come to church and engage in Christian service and take his place at the communion table. And we say of him, How well he is getting on—what a fine young fellow he is turning out to be. And all the time, unheard and unobserved, the man is crying, "Lord, save me, or I perish." It ought to make us very tenderhearted. It ought to make us always very prayerful. There are things happening among us which we never suspect, of which we never dream. For the heart knoweth its own bitterness and a stranger intermeddleth not therewith; but there is One who is not a stranger and He knows.

Christ Is Never Far A way

And so I close by saying that when Peter began to sink, his Saviour was not far away. Immediately He put out His hand and grasped him. How far Peter had walked upon the water the narrative of Scripture does not tell us. Shall we say fifty yards, or shall we say a hundred yards?—it matters not whether fifty or a hundred. If the nearest human hand was fifty yards away, the hand of Christ was not fifty yards away; immediately He put forth His hand and helped him. My brother, just beginning to sink, will you remember that Christ is at your side? All human help may seem very far away; remember that He is not very far away. He is near you now; near you where you sit. You need Him sorely and He is there for you. Cry out now, "Lord, save me, or I perish," and He will do it to the uttermost for you.

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« Reply #174 on: March 23, 2006, 04:07:35 AM »

March 23

The Syrophoenician Woman - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil— Mat_15:22

Jesus in Heathen Territory

The first interest of this story lies in the fact that Jesus is now moving in heathen territory. It is a pledge and forecast of the time when the Spirit of Jesus, living in countless missionaries, will spread the knowledge of the Kingdom throughout heathendom. When we think of the heathen, our thoughts fly far away. There are vast distances of sea between us and them. But a walk of a few miles, over the hills of Galilee, brought Jesus to the borders of a heathen country. We must not think, however, that they were uncivilised people like the Africans. They were not wild barbarians like the Scots whom Columba found around him in Iona. They were an ancient people with a wonderful history, skilled navigators, builders of mighty cities. Who could have thought that that wearied Galilean, journeying northward for a little rest, was to be far more powerful in the world than these old kingdoms? Yet Tyre is today a mean town of ruins, and the commerce and the colonies of Sidon are forgotten, and the Kingdom of Jesus is becoming worldwide.

Her Child Brought Her to Jesus

One of the first stones of that worldwide empire was laid when this woman got her girl again. We sometimes think there are no homes in heathendom. We think that the children are all cruelly treated, and are never encircled by a mother's love. But here was a mother who loved her daughter so, and had such an agony of heart about her, that it led her straight to the feet of Jesus Christ. I have read that in the wild American prairies, if a traveller steps out of his tract but a few yards, he often finds it impossible to discover his way back. But there is a flower there, called the compass-weed, that always bends to the north; and when the traveller finds it, and watches how it leans, it shows him his course, and sets him right again. And all that is noblest in the human heart has been like a compass-weed to lead a wandering world to Jesus. It was this mother's love that led her. It was her passion for her daughter that constrained her. A little child had brought her to His feet.

Her Faith Conquered Jesus

It has been asked, how could this woman have heard of Jesus? But I do not think we need trouble about that. I am quite sure she was not a Jewish proselyte. If you had peered through the window of her humble cottage, when her daughter was crying and writhing on the floor, you would have found her pleading for mercy from her heathen gods. But just as the woman with the issue, having tried all physicians, determined at last to steal a cure from Jesus, so this poor mother, who was only the worse for all her heathen gods, determined at last to come to Jesus too. Some village neighbour had told her of this Son of David. Some friend had been marketing in Capernaum that morning when the nobleman's boy had been brought to life again. And if He could do that for a centurion's boy, would He not do as much for a Syrophoenician's girl? She hurries to Christ. She pleads with Him. She bows at His feet. She will not be gainsaid. Until at last even Jesus wonders at her faith, and conquered by its power and persistency, gives her, her heart's desire. They say love conquers all things, but it is only faith that can conquer Jesus. A faith like this, powerful in ten thousand hearts, would give us a time of Pentecost in Christendom.

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« Reply #175 on: March 23, 2006, 04:09:05 AM »

The Syrophoenician Woman - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


Her Faith Overcame the Prejudice of Her Race

Now what was the real greatness of her faith? And how did it make even Jesus of Nazareth marvel? Well, first, it overcame the prejudices of her race. She was a heathen woman, trained in a heathen home. She had bowed down to idols from a child. She had been taught from infancy to scorn the Jews. If she had asked her aged mother by the fireside for advice, she would have been told that to go to Jesus was to disgrace the family. If she had gone to the priests and asked for their permission, they would have banned her by all the powers of heaven. But she broke through everything to get to Jesus—all that was customary, all that was dear. And Jesus knew what barriers had gone down, when she lay at His feet and cried, Lord, help me. Have I no barriers to break to get to Christ? And are they keeping me from coming closer to Him? We are not born and bred in a heathen land. God has been good to us and set us down where the church bells ring, and the Bible is on the table. But sometimes a friendship, and sometimes what the others will say, and sometimes the jeering of a brother or sister, have kept us from coming right out for our Captain; and this poor heathen woman is going to shame us when we all stand face to face with Christ.

Her Faith Mastered the Natural Shrinking of Her Heart

And, again, her faith mastered the natural shrinking of her heart. It steeled her for this terrible ordeal. When a woman loves her daughter as this mother did, she is never fond of attracting public notice. She will watch all night by her sick daughter's bed; she will make her cottage a very heaven of service; but to cry out in public, and have the gaze of the strange crowd upon her, is very alien to a true mother's heart. I dare say in her after days she often wondered how she had ever done it. We cannot explain them, but Jesus can; and in the enthusiasm of this woman He saw faith. It was faith that had prompted her to leave her cottage. It was faith that had nerved her heart before the company. Had she not ventured everything on Christ, she would have been sitting weeping by her daughter yet.

Her Faith Refused to Be Denied

And then her faith was great because it so stoutly refused to be denied. No silence and no rebuff could drive her off. She was simply determined that she should have an answer. And so closely are faith and love bound up together, that the cry of her little daughter in her ear, and the picture of her daughter in her heart, kindled her faith into a flame again when it was almost quenched. Did Christ keep silence? She still cried, Lord, help me! Did He discourage her? She was still at His feet. Did He speak about the children and the little dogs? She has caught the words up, and made a plea from them. And it is in that magnificent persistency, as humble and reverent as it is persevering, that the true greatness of her faith is found. We have a beautiful hymn beginning, "O love, that will not let me go." We want another beginning, "O faith, that will not let Him go." When we have that faith—and this woman had it—our hearts and homes shall be as blessed as hers.

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« Reply #176 on: March 25, 2006, 05:35:19 AM »

March 24

The Cross and the World - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel— Mat_15:24
I, if I be lifted up…will draw all men unto me— Joh_12:32

Christ Came to and for Israel

We have but to read the record of the Gospels, to find confirmation of the former of these texts. The whole activity of Christ on earth shows Him as sent to the lost sheep of Israel. Within the boundaries of Israel He was born, and within the boundaries of Israel He died. With the one exception of the journey here recorded, He never in His maturity left the Jewish land. His twelve disciples were of the Jewish faith; His friends were inhabitants of Jewish homes; His enemies were not the Romans, but His own, to whom He came and they received Him not. For His teaching He sought no other audience than the men and women of the Jewish villages. For His retirement He sought no other solitude an that of the Galilean hills. And all His miracles, with rare exceptions, which were recorded because they were exceptional, were wrought for the comforting of Jewish hearts, and for the drying of tears in Jewish eyes. The whole story of the Gospel, then, is a witness to the truth of our first text. In the fulfilling of His earthly ministry Christ confined Himself to Jewish limits. And He did so because of His assurance, that He was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Christ, However, Anticipated a Wider Ministry

But as we study the words of our Redeemer, one thing gradually grows very clear. It is that He anticipated a ministry that should be wider than these Jewish limits. I am not thinking just now of any words He spoke after He was risen from the dead. I am thinking only of His recorded utterances in those crowded years before the cross. And what I say is that no reasonable man can study the discourse of the historic Jesus without discovering that He foresaw a ministry which was to be as wide as the whole world. There is, for instance, the second of our texts today—"I will draw all men unto me." There is that beautiful word of an earlier chapter, "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold." There is that utterance at Simon's table, when the woman broke the alabaster box, "Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, this that she hath done shall be told of her." I ask you to observe that these great sayings have stood the test of the most searching criticism. They are so germane to the mind of Christ that they have come triumphant through the fires. And they tell us this, that through the earthly ministry, confined as it was within the house of Israel, Christ had the outlook of an approaching lordship over the nations of mankind.

The Cross and the Worldwide Empire

But these utterances tell us more than that, and to this I specially invite attention. They tell us that in the mind of Jesus His death and His worldwide empire were related. So far as we can learn about the mind of Christ, we can with reverence say this about it. It was when the cross was clearest in His thought that the worldwide empire was most clear to Him. If you will think of the texts which I have cited, and consider the occasion of their utterance, you will understand quite easily what I mean. Take for instance that most beautiful word, "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold." What are the words which immediately precede it? "The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." At the very moment when the thought of shepherding kindled the vision of the shepherd's death, at that very moment there flashed upon the Lord the vision of the sheep beyond the fold. Take again the scene at Simon's feast where Jesus spoke of a Gospel for the world. "Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there this deed that she hath done shall be remembered." And what was it that the woman had done under the interpreting eyes of Jesus Christ? She had anointed His body for its burial. In other words that womanly act of hers had spoken to Jesus of His coming death. Over the table where the guests reclined, it had cast the awful shadow of the cross. And it was then, anointed for His burial by an act which no one else could understand, that Christ in vision lifted up His eyes and saw the Gospel preached to the whole world. Clearly, then, Christ looked upon His death as the great secret of a worldwide empire. When the one grew vivid in His thought, there rose on Him the vision of the other. And that to me is a matter to meditate on, as one of the most momentous of all truths, by every man and every woman who is interested in the world empire of the Lord. Now the question is, can we follow out that thought, and see even dimly where the connection lies? It is that which I should like to attempt to do.

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« Reply #177 on: March 25, 2006, 05:37:34 AM »

The Cross and the World - Page 2
by George H. Morrison


The Motive of Missionary Enterprise

In the first place, it is the death of Christ which supplies the motive of missionary enterprise.

We must ever remember that when we speak of the death of Christ, we speak of a death different from our own. Our death is the cessation of activity; Christ's was the crown and climax of His life. "I have power to lay it down," He said, and that is a power no other man has shared. We die when our appointed hour comes, and when the hand of God hath touched us, and we sleep. But Christ never looked upon His death like that, as something inevitable and irresistible. He looked on it as the last free glorious service of a life that had always been a life of love. Here in one gleam, intense and vivid, was gathered up the light of all His years. Here in one action which we name His dying was gathered up the love in which He wrought. And it is just because of the power of that action, concentrating all the scattered rays, that Christ could say, "I, if I be lifted up,…will draw all men unto me." How true this is as a fact of history we see in the story of the Christian Church. There is the closest connection in that story between the death of Christ and missionary zeal. There have been periods in the Church's history when the death of Christ was practically hidden. The message of the cross was rarely preached; the meaning of the cross was rarely grasped. And the Gospel was looked on as a refined philosophy, eminently fitted for the good of men, inculcating a most excellent morality, and in perfect harmony with human reason. We have had periods like that in Scotland, and we have had periods like that in England. God grant that they may never come again with their deadening of true religion. And always when you have such a period, when love is nothing and moral law is everything, you have a period when not a hand is lifted for the salvation of the heathen world. For it is not morality that seeks the world; it is religion centering in love. It is a view of a divine love so wonderful that it stooped to the service of death upon a cross. So always, in evangelical revival, when that has been apprehended in the wonder of it, the passion to tell it out has come again, and men have carried the message to mankind.

And may I say that it is along these lines that the road must lie to a deepening of interest. To realise what it means that Christ died, is to have a Gospel that we must impart. There are many excellent people who, in their secret heart, confess to a very faint interest in missions. They give, and it may be they give generously, and yet in their hearts they know that they are not interested. They know almost nothing about mission-fields, and are never seen at missionary meetings, and take the opportunity to visit a sister church when a missionary is advertised to preach in theirs. With such people I have no lack of sympathy, for I think I understand their position thoroughly. I have the gravest doubt if any good is done by trying excitedly to lash up their interest. But I am perfectly confident that these good people would waken to a new and lively interest, if only they realised a little more the wonder of the love of God in Christ. What think you, my brother and my sister, is the most wonderful thing that ever happened? It is not the kindling of the myriad stars, nor the fashioning of the human eye that it might see them. It is that once the God who is eternal stooped down from heaven and came into humanity, and bore our burdens, and carried our sorrows, and died in redeeming love upon the tree. Once realise what that means, and everything else in the world is insignificant. Once realise what that means, and you must pass it on to other people. And that is the source of missionary zeal—not blind obedience, nor any thoughts of terror, but the passing on of news so wonderful that we cannot—dare not—keep it to ourselves.

The Answer for a Universal Need

In the next place, the death of Christ interprets and answers a universal longing. It meets with perfect satisfaction the deepest need of all the world.

One of the great gains of this age of ours is that it has drawn the world together so. There is now an intermingling of the nations that but a few decades ago was quite impossible. Thanks to the means of transport we possess, and to the need of expansion on the part of nations; thanks to the deathless spirit of adventure, to the gains of commerce and to the march of armies, there is a blending now of the whole earth such as was undreamed of once. Now one result of all that intermingling has been a new sense of the oneness of humanity. No longer do we delight in travellers' tales, such as captivated the Middle Ages. Men push their way into untravelled forests, and they come to us from Arabia and Tibet, and under all that is strange they bring us tidings of the touch of nature that makes the whole world kin. We realise today as men have never done, how God has made all nations of one blood. Deeper than everything that separates, there are common sorrows and elemental hopes. There is one common heart by which we live; one common life in which we share; one common enemy awaiting all, when the pitcher is broken at the fountain.

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« Reply #178 on: March 25, 2006, 05:39:43 AM »

The Cross and the World - Page 3
by George H. Morrison


But especially has this oneness of humanity been made evident in the religious life. That has been one incalculable gain of the modern study of comparative religion. It has investigated a thousand rites, and found at the back of them a common longing. It has touched the foundations of a thousand altars, and found they were built upon a common need. It has gathered from Africa, from India, from China, the never-failing story of religion, and always at the very heart of things it has discovered one unchanging element. It is not enough to say that all men have religion. That is now an accepted commonplace. Something far more wonderful and thrilling has been slowly emerging into prominence. It is that under a thousand different rites, from those of Patagonia to those of China, there lies the unquenchable desire of man to get into right relationship with God. Deeper than all sense of gratitude, though gratitude is very often there—deeper than unreasoning terror, though heathen religion is always big with terror deeper than that, this fact stands out today, based on exhaustive and scientific study, that the deepest longing in the soul of man is the longing to get right with God. It is that in the last analysis which explains sacrifice, and where is the heathen tribe that does not sacrifice? It is that which explains the sway of heathen witchcraft, of which the evils can never be exaggerated. The religious life is the deepest life of man, and in that life, over the whole wide world, the one determining and vital question is, how can mortal man get right with God?

My friend, I almost ask your pardon for having taken you so far afield. But you see, I think, the point which I am driving at, and from which there is no possible escape. That very question, so vital to humanity, is the question which the atonement answers. It answers the cry that is rising to the heavens from every heathen rite and heathen altar. It tells men in language that a child can grasp, yet with a depth that angels cannot fathom, how sinful man by an appointed sacrifice can be put right with the eternal God. I believe with all my soul in educational missions, but at the heart of missions is more than education. I believe with all my soul in medical missions, but at the heart of missions there is more than healing. Christ never said, "My teaching shall draw all men," nor yet, "My healing power shall draw all men"; He said, "I, if I be lifted up, shall draw all men, and this spake He of the death that He should die." That means that in the atoning death there is the answer to man's deepest need. It means that the deepest cry of all humanity is answered in the message of the cross. And I venture to say that all we have learned today in the modern study of comparative religion, corroborates, and authenticates, and seals that certainty upon the lips of Jesus.

The Necessary Step before the Comforter Could Come

Then, lastly, we have the thought that the death of Christ has liberated His influence. It has opened the window of the ark, if I might put it so, that the dove might fly abroad over the waters. "It is expedient for you that I go away," He said, "for if I go not away the Comforter cannot come." Now the Lord is that Spirit, says the apostle—it is that same Jesus glorified and liberated. So by the lifting up upon the cross Christ was set free from local limitation, to pass into a spiritual ministry that should be co-extensive with the world. No longer can any village of far Galilee claim the present monopoly of Christ. No longer can loving hearts in Bethany say, "He is our guest and ours only for tonight." He is at present now by the lake shores of Africa as He is within the house of God where you worship—because He lived and died. We often talk of the story of the cross as if in that story lay the world's redemption. But I beg of you to remember that while that is true, it is far from being all the truth. Christ spoke not a word of the story of the cross. He said, I—persisting through the cross—I, the living Christ, will draw the world—I whom death is powerless to hold. In other words, when our missionaries go forth, they go with something more than a sweet story. They go with Him of whom the tale is told, so wonderful, so unspeakable, so moving. They go with Him who, having tasted death, is now alive and lives for evermore, and who is able to save unto the uttermost all who come unto God by Him.

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George H. Morrison Devotions

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« Reply #179 on: March 25, 2006, 05:41:17 AM »

March 25

Great Faith - Page 1
by George H. Morrison


O woman, great is thy faith— Mat_15:28

The Greatness of Faith Measured by the Obstacles It Overcomes

The greatness of faith often can be measured by the obstacles it overcomes. Our Lord evidently had that in mind when He spoke of faith like a grain of mustard seed. The mustard seed, when it is grown, is nothing extraordinarily beautiful or useful. One does not love it as one loves the lilies, nor is it fashioned into food for man. The wonderful thing about the mustard seed is its gallant adventure in the world of life, starting from the unlikeliest beginnings. Faith can often be measured by achievement; but achievement is not the only measurement. It may accomplish little and yet be really great in its overcoming of opposing circumstances. And in the faith of this Syrophoenician woman that feature is so signal and so splendid that we might measure her faith by that alone. Let us, then, lay aside all else, and think only of the things that were against her, when she came to Jesus that memorable day.

Her Birth Was against Her

In the first place, her birth was against her. St. Matthew tells us that she was a woman of Canaan, and she is called a Syrophoenician woman by St. Mark, from which we learn that she belonged by birth to one of the native races of the land. Now when, long centuries before, the Jews had entered Canaan, they had been bidden to exterminate these races. It had been war to the death between the Hebrews and the tribes who were in possession of the land. And we know what hatred and bitterness will rankle in the heart of some poor remnant whose memories are of exterminating wars. Into that heritage was this woman born. She was bred in abhorrence of the name Jew. To her the Jew was like the Norman conqueror to the disinherited and defeated Saxon. Yet all the bitterness in which she had been trained, and the prejudice in which she had been steeped, was overcome in her profound belief that Jesus could save her little daughter. How her neighbours would deride her if she hinted to them the nature of her errand! They would charge her with being false to her own gods, a traitress to her people and her past. But all the mocking of her village friends was powerless to dissuade her from her purpose, and here we find her at the feet of Christ.

Her Lack of Knowledge Was against Her

Again, her lack of knowledge was against her. This woman was not a Jew; she was a Grecian. She had been reared in the worship of the heathen gods, and was a stranger to the God of Israel. Doubtless she had heard Jehovah's name, but always in tones of hatred or contempt. Possibly there had drifted to her ear tidings of the Jewish hope of a Messiah. But how that hope would be misrepresented, and in what distorted fashion it would reach her, is not very difficult to picture. She was a stranger to the Hebrew Bible, with its prediction of a coming Saviour. She had never dwelt upon its pages in secret, feeding her soul on the nurture of the promises. The Psalms of David she had never sung; the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah she had never read; no one had ever told her of a Coming One who was to bear the sicknesses of others. Think, too, how little she could know of Christ Himself. It is almost certain that she had never seen Him. A woman with such a heart and such a daughter was unlikely to be away from home often. All that she knew of Jesus was from hearsay, from the stray rumours that would travel northward, and there was not a single rumour yet that could speak to her of the healing of a heathen. When the sisters sent for Jesus, when Lazarus was ill, theirs was indeed a noble faith. But Christ had lived with them, and loved them, and all that was a mighty encouragement to faith. Here there was nothing of such sweet experience; no personal knowledge for faith to strike its roots in. And it was all so wonderful that even Jesus wondered—"O woman, great is thy faith."

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