The Great Miracle-Worker
“Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.”— John xi. 47.
I WILL make a preface out of the verse preceding our text: “Some of them”— that is, some of those who saw Lazarus raised from the dead, “went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.” Mr. Whitefield once raised a great storm against himself by saying that man, by nature, was little better than half beast and half devil. That was, certainly, a very strong expression; yet I question whether there are not abundant instances of conduct, on the part of men, which would be a disgrace even to beasts, and which would seem more in harmony with the character of the devil; and, in such cases, it would not be inappropriate if we were to say that man is altogether devil. Certainly, in his natural condition, he is altogether under the power of the prince of the air; and, being led captive by Satan, he is oftentimes made to do the very worst of deeds. I am led to make this observation because the two verses, which I have just read to you, reveal some of the meanest conduct that has ever been recorded in human history.
Here we have, first, a band of common informers, — men who stood by the grave of Lazarus, and heard that he had been dead four days, and who listened to the objection of the prudent Martha to the taking away of the stone, because, said she, “by this time he stinketh.” These men had seen Lazarus come forth from the tomb at the call of Jesus; they had observed how the onlookers, at Christ’s command, unwound the napkin and the graveclothes; and they had not the shadow of a doubt that a notable miracle had been wrought, and that a dead man had been raised to life. One would have thought that the very last thing anybody would have done would be to steal away from such a sight as that, and go and tell the enemies of the great Miracle-worker in such a way as to excite them to yet greater enmity against him. Many of the spectators, on that memorable occasion, were so convinced by what they saw that they became Christ’s disciples, and very properly so; but these other people were only excited to malice and ill-will, and in a mean manner marched off to accuse Jesus to the Pharisees.
Perhaps you say, “Oh! but that happened only once in human history.” Possibly not; but our Saviour has never done anything among men but that which is good and kind; his whole life was one of self-denying goodness, and his gospel is a message of mercy, and love, and peace, and truth; and yet there are still many, who insinuate all manner of evil against him, and find fault with his followers, — no difficult task, alas! — not so much out of enmity to the offenders, as enmity to the cause of Christ. O human nature, thou art indeed an evil thing when thou canst act thus meanly!
Nor is this all, for the Pharisees, who were informed of the miracle which had been wrought by Christ, present to us another picture of man at his very worst. Here is positively a parliament of hypocrites! They come together as the great Sanhedrim, or supreme council of the nation, — the chief priests in their robes, and the Pharisees with their phylacteries, — the holiest men in all Judaea; ask them, and they will assure you that it is so; — yet they have met together to oppose a perfectly innocent man, to say the very least about him, who has proved, by working a miracle, that he is a great deal more than a man. When they meet together, they say, “This man doeth many miracles;” yet they are sitting there, plotting and planning to put him down. Surely this assembly looks like another form of Pandemonium; and as Milton gives us pictures of all the winged spirits in hell coming close together into the council with Satan in the midst, I think I see the same thing carried out in Jerusalem. There is the high priest, Caiaphas, in the midst of them; and the Pharisees gather together around him, taking counsel to see if they cannot destroy the Christ.
So, first, there was a band of common informers, and, then, a parliament of hypocrites. Next, look at the arguments they use as the reason why Christ is to be put down. Of course, it is pretended that their desire for his overthrow is the result of their zeal for the public good. It is often the case still that, when a man opposes true religion, he says that he is prompted to do it by zeal for morality, or a burning desire for the good of his country or his race. So it was with these hypocrites in Jerusalem. In effect, they said, “If this man goes on working miracles, and we do not stop him, the people will become his disciples; then the Romans will believe that a new king is being set up over us, and they will pounce upon our nation, and destroy it; and, therefore, we must put him down before they do so.” Now, this was a transparent lie; for, first, supposing that Christ had converted all the people of Judaea, had he ever in his life said a word about making himself a king? Did not these Pharisees know that, when the people wanted to make him a king, Jesus had withdrawn himself from them, in order that nothing like a political tinge might be given to his sacred mission? Did they not also know that the Romans never interfered with religious movements among the nations that they subdued? They were the most tolerant of all conquerors. What mattered it to the Romans what the Jews believed, or did not believe? They left them entirely to themselves religiously; so that, if Christ had induced all the people of the land to become his followers, the Romans would not have interfered in the least degree. But this is, to me, the most transparent part of the falsehood. If this man worked miracles, then the people ought to believe in him, and they ought to become his disciples, and they ought not to be afraid of the Romans. The Romans might be strong, but the man who could work miracles must be stronger; and if it should ever come to a conflict between Roman legions and the Divine Miracle-worker, there can be no question about which would be victorious. So, you see, this argument of the Pharisees, as to why Christ should be put down, was a self-evident fraud.
Perhaps someone asks, “Do men, at the present time, ever talk like this about the Saviour?” I answer, — Yes; the majority of the objections to Christianity, which lull men’s consciences to sleep, are nothing better than transparent frauds. If they would honestly examine the evidence laid before them, if they would give their minds to searching out the truth, they would soon be brought to believe on Jesus. Do you not remember how two gentlemen, both of whom were sceptics, said to one another, “Let us, as candid men, investigate some part of the Bible, and see whether it holds together, and bears the mark of inspiration.” One of them took the subject of Christ’s resurrection, and the other selected the conversion of the apostle Paul. They both sat down to study the Scripture narratives, not believing them to be true; and the result of their investigation was that they were both converted, and the one has given us a book upon the life of Paul, and the other has given us a book upon our Lord’s resurrection. Their own examinations of the Word, candidly made, led them to the Saviour’s feet. And I believe a similar result would follow, in the case of any sceptics here present, who would take the same course; at any rate, I challenge them to make the trial, and I am not asking of them more than candour requires of every honest man.
There are some people who raise questions even concerning God himself. According to their notions, God should be this, or that, and almost anything but what he really is. Jehovah, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God and Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the only living and true God, is not at all according to their taste. Some even venture so far as to call his justness “severity.” They would have “a God all mercy” if they could. Or they pick out some one or other of God’s attributes, and they want to have a change made in it. What! man, is God to be made to suit thee, instead of thou thyself being adapted to God’s will? And is the question to be, not, “How can I be right with my Maker?” but, “How can I make my Maker right with myself?” Is that the blasphemous turn that your thoughts have taken? It is so with some people; and, accordingly, they practically become idolaters; for, while they pretend to worship the one living and true God, yet, inasmuch as they attribute to him a character which is not his own, they do, in effect, worship a god of their own making.
There are others whose quarrel is with God’s Word, this blessed Book, the Bible. There are certain things in it which they do not approve; and when a man once begins to rail at Scripture, you never know what he will say. It is impossible to tell on which side he will find what he calls a fault; and, probably, that which is the highest excellence of the Word will most offend him. We shall, therefore, put this question to him, — Would you have a Bible made according to your mind, — a brand-new Bible, I suppose, once a week, for your mind changes so often that it would need constantly to be revised in order to be according to your mind? And shall God speak only such things as you would have him say? Are you to be master of his voice, and lord even of the Inspired Word? That must not be; it is not for us to say what the Bible ought to be, but to find out what the Bible really is, and then- meekly to bow before it, and accept it as the revelation of the Most High.
Many persons dispute with God concerning his providence, both on the larger and on the smaller scale. They think that they could govern nations very much better than God can; and when they read history, some of them cannot see God’s hand there at all; and others, who do perceive his hand, yet dare to arraign their Maker for his management of the world. As to their own share in the dispensations of providence, many are utterly discontented. They are not so much in the sunlight as they would like to be, and the rivers that ripple o’er golden sands do not pass through their inheritance. They are often poor and obscure, and therefore they quarrel with the arrangements of God’s providence. To anyone of that sort, whom I may be addressing, I would say, “Should it be that the Maker of heaven and earth should do thy bidding?” Surely, this is only another form of the opposition of these chief priests and Pharisees to the Christ of God.
I have to mention one more point that arises from the context; and that is, that the arguments of this parliament of hypocrites led them to a conclusion of blood: “This man is a worker of miracles, therefore he must die.” You know the word regicide, which describes the killing of a king, a crime that is rightly thought to be a very terrible one. You know what fratricide means, killing a brother; parricide, killing a father; matricide, killing a mother; but what will you say of a deicide, a God-killer, one who seeks to destroy God if it be possible? There was God in human flesh, moving amongst men, displaying his divine power in working miracles; yet these wicked men said, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.” Human sin reached its highest point when, at last, it took the innocent, loving Saviour, and hung him up upon a gibbet to die like a common felon. Yet such is the nature of man that he will do anything he can against his God; the case is proven against the capacity of human nature, at any rate, by the passage which we have been considering.
Now I want specially to turn your attention to the latter part of the text: “What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.”
I. In considering these words, I ask you to notice, first, THE STUBBORNNESS OF UNBELIEF.
The natural conclusion from the statement, “This man doeth many miracles,” should have been, — “Then, he is the Christ of God; so, let us believe in him; let us yield ourselves up wholly to him.” But these chief priests and Pharisees did not come to the natural conclusion; so stubborn was their unbelief, that they said, “This man doeth many miracles, therefore we will put him to death if we can.”
So that, first, they admitted the miracles, yet denied the Miracle-worker. We have many rising up, nowadays, who do not even admit the miracles; they are consistent if they also deny him who wrought the miracles. But if you own the miracles, how can you deny the Miracle-worker? I may be addressing some, who did not know how much that statement concerned themselves. You do believe that Jesus Christ of Nazareth wrought many miracles; why, then, do you not believe on him? You are convinced that he did all these things that are recorded concerning him in his Word; why, then, do you not trust him, — trust him to save you, and so to work a miracle of mercy in you? You know that he raised to life those who had been dead; then, why do you not ask him to raise you up from spiritual death, and to give you everlasting life? You believe that he opened the eyes of the blind; then, why do you not ask him to open your eyes? If this man doeth such miracles as these, why do you not come to him, and touch the hem of his garment, that virtue may go out of him to you, as it did to the woman who had the issue of blood?
“Oh!” says one, “I believe all that I find recorded in the Scriptures; I am no sceptic.” I am glad to hear you say so; but, if you really do believe it, why do you not act upon it? If you are sick, and you know that this medicine will heal you, why do you not take it when it is freely given to you? If there be salvation in Christ, why are you not saved? If there be pardon for sin, why have you not obtained it, especially as it is to be had for nothing, as the free gift of the grace of God to everyone who trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ?
It was, indeed, stubborn unbelief which made the chief priests and Pharisees accept the truth of the miracles, and yet deny the great Miracle-worker.
Further, they admitted the miracles, yet opposed the Miracle-worker. Well, now, a man is a fool who acts like that. If a person can work miracles, I certainly will not oppose him, for I cannot tell how far his power may extend; if he can kill, and make alive, I am not going to strive against him. If I fight against anyone, give me an adversary who has only natural power, and not supernatural. “Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker!” To contend with omnipotence is as foolish as for wax to fight with flame, or tow with fire. Possibly, I am addressing some who admit that Christ works miracles, and yet who refuse to accept his gospel. You, dear friends, are living in a state of heart which practically does despite to his precious blood; and I ask you, whoever you are, to consider how fruitless your opposition must be, and no longer to be so stubborn in your unbelief as to confess that Christ is able to save, and able to destroy, and able to do all things, and yet, all the while, you will not yield yourself to him, and even scoff at religion, and use harsh and cruel words towards those dear ones in your own family who are true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do not, I implore you, continue to be so inconsistent as to believe the miracles, and yet to oppose the Miracle-worker.
Yet once more, these chief priests and Pharisees manifested a very stubborn unbelief in another way, for they admitted the miracles, and yet they were afraid of the Miracle-worker’s influence over the people. We also have some objectors, in the present day, who believe Jesus Christ to be a great Teacher, but they are constantly telling us that, to preach up salvation by grace, justification by faith in Jesus, is to endanger morality. Ah, me! I marvel not that the darkness thinks the light is dangerous; yet this complaint is most absurd. If Jesus Christ works miracles, then he is of God; and if he is of God, then the more his influence is extended among the people, the better. Suppose that the preaching of the gospel does stir up opposition in some minds; yet the supremacy of truth is such that opposition to it need never be feared, for truth will lay her iron hand on all her adversaries, and break them in pieces if they will not submit to her righteous rule.
Perhaps some of you imagine that, if you could see a miracle wrought, you would believe in the Miracle-worker; but there is no certainty that you would do anything of the kind. These Pharisees had, doubtless, seen many of Christ’s miracles, or received reports of them from those who knew they were true. They admitted that Christ had wrought many miracles, yet they did not believe on him. As a rule, signs and wonders are not sufficient to make men believe. Such things may, indeed, increase their responsibility, but not affect their conscience and their heart. Why do any of you want to see miracles wrought by Christ? You have his Word, you have the Spirit of God among you, and if you reject these, neither would you believe though one rose from the dead. Though the earth should shake, and the heavens should pass away like a scroll, though the sun should be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, yet would you not believe if you will not accept the Christ of God as he is revealed in Holy Scripture. Such is the stubbornness of unbelief.
II. But now, secondly, and briefly, let us notice THE FUTILITY OF ALL OPPOSITION TO CHRIST, for the chief priests and the Pharisees said, as if they realized their own impotence, “What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.”
The whole history of Christ’s Church in the world is summed up in the words of our text. After the persecutions to which the early Christians were subjected among the Jews, the Romans tried to destroy Christianity by hunting Christians to the death. Nero smeared them with tar, and set them up in his palace gardens to burn at night to afford light for his sports. There was no kind of inhuman cruelty that was not practised upon the followers of Jesus, yet within about three hundred years after the death of Christ upon the cross, Christianity was the ruling religion of the then known world. The more the persecutors tried to crush it, the more it continued to advance; the more they fought against it, the more it conquered. Christians had patience and grace enough to endure all manner of trials, and courage enough to continue to bear testimony to the gospel they believed, till at last the truth overthrew the gods of the heathens, and the temples of the idols became, in many instances, the places where Christians met to worship the one living and true God. Well might the adversaries of Christ then have said, “What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.”
Then there came a long time, when the light of the gospel grew fainter, and waned under the influence of riches and wealth. The devil probably thought that he should have everything all his own way then; but up there among the mountains of Northern Italy, and in the valleys of Piedmont, and away there towards Lyons, and in divers spots there were godly men and women who had not bowed the knee to Baal; and even when the followers of antichrist thought themselves supreme, they might still have said, “What do we? for this man doeth many miracles; and here, among poor ignorant men and women is the power of the gospel still kept alive.” The enemies of the faith sought to crush out all who loved it, but God continually sent fresh witnesses to bear testimony to the truth. Two of these mighty men were Jerome of Prague, and John Huss, who preached the gospel in Bohemia, and then sealed his testimony with his blood. The name Huss means goose, so as he was being burned, he said to his persecutors, “You may roast this goose, but there will come a swan that you will not be able to bum.” That prophecy was fulfilled in Martin Luther; and, by-and-by, there sprang up many others who held the truth; and, in various places, no sooner was the gospel proclaimed than multitudes responded to its call as though they had lain concealed, and were only awaiting the summons to arise. It was as when some chieftain has hidden away his men, and then, when he blows his whistle, from every rock there rises up a soldier. Once more wash that ancient Scripture true, “The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.” Calvin, Zwingle, Knox, and thousands of others stood up in different lands, until the devil and the pope had to say, “What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.”
And since then, whenever there has come a sad, dark time, and the enemy has begun to exult over the faithful, then the light of the gospel has suddenly broken out again, as it did in the days of Whitefield and Wesley, when the whole land seemed steeped in midnight darkness. Then up rose these earnest men, and thousands were brought to the Saviour by their preaching, and the Church had a new reformation. So will it be right on to the end of the age, God will go on converting men by the power of the truth as applied by his Holy Spirit. Some of them will be such remarkably singular men that their conversion will indeed be a miracle of mercy. Foolish people talk about the last of the Evangelicals, and the last of the Puritans; but that is all nonsense. So long as the earth endureth, and sun and moon shall shine, the everlasting gospel shall not lack a man to proclaim it; and if all the ministers who now live should desert the gospel, and all universities should pour out heretics instead of true preachers of the Word, the Lord will raise him up ministers out of the darkest slums of London, or will find them among the very poorest of the poor, or even among the heathen; but, somehow or other, his gospel must be continually spread abroad. What do ye, O ye haters of the Christ of God? What do ye accomplish after all your opposition to him? Remember that ancient verse of the psalmist: “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” For, still, “this man doeth many miracles;” and he will continue to do them till he himself shall come to claim his final victory. Wherefore, be of good comfort, all ye who tremble because of the evil times in which you live, and believe that God will overcome all the powers of darkness in his own good time.
III. Now, the last and the longest part of my discourse is concerning THE CONCLUSION OF TRUE, REASON FROM THE TEXT: “This man doeth many miracles.” What then? Why, let us believe on him.
I want every one of you to give me your most earnest attention; I do not want you to hear for your neighbour, but for yourself. Let each one of us say for himself or herself, “If this man doeth many miracles, I will see what sort of miracles he does, in order that, if possible, I may have such a miracle wrought upon me.” We must always remember that most of the miracles of Christ are symbols and emblems of the spiritual and moral miracles that he works in the world of the heart.
In the Gospel according to John, several miracles are recorded which are not mentioned by any other evangelist; I want to refer to some of them, and also to others recorded by John, in order that we may learn the spiritual lessons that they teach. The first miracle which Christ wrought was the turning of water into wine at the marriage at Cana of Galilee. This is recorded in the second chapter of John’s Gospel. Christ did but speak the word, and “the conscious water saw its God and blushed” itself to wine. Is there any instruction for me in that miracle? Suppose that I am a Christian, that I have been rendered pure and clean, so that I am like water that might be served up at a feast. What then? I should like to be much better than I am now, if that is possible. I should like to have much more influence over my fellow-men, far more power to affect them for their present and eternal welfare. I should like to be more fit for use in Christ’s blessed festival of mercy; can I be? Yes; “for this man doeth many miracles.” He can make that which is good to be much better. He can take the gracious, and lift them up to a still higher plane of spiritual life. He can make the best Christian to be as much better than he now is as the wine that Christ made was better than the water of which he made it. Come, thou devout spirit, thou who lovest Christ, thou who knowest his power to save, and put thyself into his hand, that he may make something more of thee than thou hast ever yet imagined. I earnestly desire to experience this miracle in my own soul just now; and cannot some young man here from this time forth live a nobler life than he has ever yet lived? God has, by his grace, made him pure and clear; now may he make him strong and full of holy savour, that he may bless his race as long as he lives! “It will be a great miracle,” says one, “if he does that to me.” That is true; but, then, “this man doeth many miracles.” Brother, sister, he can do as much for thee as he did for the water when he turned it into wine.
Now read on in that second chapter, and you will find that it contains the record of another miracle; that is to say, the driving out of all the buyers and sellers who were in the temple at Jerusalem. This is not usually called a miracle, but I think it should be reckoned as one that Christ, with a scourge of small cords, should be able to drive out the many men who were sitting there, selling doves and changing shekels; for, if they had banded themselves together, they might easily have overcome one person armed only with a little scourge; but the Lord Jesus, by the majesty of his person, completely overawed them all. He overturned the tables of the money-changers, and said to those that sold doves, “Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise.”
Is there anything in this miracle that can comfort anybody here? Dear friend, you who are consecrated to God, you who are God’s temple, and who rejoice to know that it is so, you desire that your whole being should be the house of God, and used only for his glory; but, somehow or other, evil thoughts have entered into your mind, and you cannot get them out. Constitutional temptations, old habits, your daily surroundings, — all these are like the moneychangers in the temple; or like those that seem , not only to sell doves , but to sell dragons and owls. Well, now, you wish you could get rid of these unwelcome invaders. Do you not see what comfort there is for you in our text? “This man doeth many miracles;” then, ask him to come and drive out these evil thoughts, these atheistic doubts, these critical sophistries which lead you almost into infidelity, for he can cast them all out. “Oh!” say you, “I have struggled against them for years, and I cannot get rid of them; if they were once all banished from me, it would indeed be a miracle.” Well, “this man doeth many miracles,” and he can give you such calm and peace of mind, and such certainty of holy faith , that your nature shall become like a purged temple wherein is heard nothing but the song of holy praise, and the voice of them that say, from morning until evening, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Oh, what a miracle that would be! And as “this man doeth many miracles,” why should he not do this for you?
Now, if you will turn to the fourth chapter of this Gospel, at the 47th verse, you can read about the next wonder which Christ wrought, and which John has recorded. That was the raising up to health of the nobleman’s child who was at the point of death. Jesus said to him, “Go thy way; thy son liveth;” and he found that it was even so. Have any of you children at home unconverted? Are they the subject of your prayerful solicitude? Are you afraid, from what you see of them, that they will not turn out well? Mother, do they distress you? Father, do they cause you sleepless nights and much anxiety? Well, now, do you not see in this miracle much that may comfort you? Apply to Jesus as that nobleman did; tell him about your child, and his soul-sickness; for the Lord Jesus can heal him of his ill temper, and evil disposition, and all that now causes you such sorrow, and you shall yet hear him say to you, “Thy son liveth;” and you shall have most joy in the very child who caused you most grief. Those characteristics which now seem to be most likely to lead to vicious practices shall, by divine grace, be turned into a strength of character which shall enable your son to glorify God even more than others who have not those propensities. I think we ought to have great comfort concerning our children whenever we read of our Lord Jesus Christ healing those who were at the point of death, and raising up those who were already dead. After all that he has done, what is there that Christ cannot do either for ourselves or for our dear ones? If he has done for you all that you need, then ask him to do for your household all that he has done for you; and from this miracle of the healing of the sick child take comfort to bring every hard case before him.
Now turn to the fifth chapter, and read the record of the miracle wrought by Christ at the pool of Bethesda. There lay a man, who had been decrepit for thirty-eight years; and not until Christ came on that Sabbath day, and bade him take up his bed, and walk, was he cured of his malady. I wonder whether anybody here can get comfort out of this miracle. This poor man was alive, but he was very ill. There had been a time in his life when he was well, but it was such a long while ago that he must almost have forgotten it. Thirty-eight years is a long period of sickness, and the man must almost have despaired of ever being restored. Am I addressing somebody who was once a professor of religion, a member of a Christian church? Are you sighing —
“What peaceful hours I then enjoyed I
How sweet their memory still”?
It is a long time since you had any such enjoyment as that; yet there is still some life in you, and that makes you look back upon the past with some pleasure, wishing that you could have those happy times over again, and once more know yourself to be God’s child. Well, that man’s thirty-eight years’ sickness, out of which he was restored by Christ, should seem to say to you, “Backslider, though you may have fallen very low, and wandered very far, yet ‘this man doeth many miracles,’ and he can bring you back again to all your former joy.” The devil may have concluded that you belong to him. “Ah!” says he, “I shall never trouble about him.” He does not tempt you much now, for he looks upon you as one who is perfectly safe. He thinks that you will never run away from him; but suppose he should be undeceived this very hour? What if this God-man, that doeth many miracles, should come and call you by his grace, and you should leave the sin into which you have fallen, and in which you seem as though you had been imbedded, as though you had stuck fast in a bed of cement, and should so call you that you will be able to come forth, and say, “I will arise, and go to my Father”? Why should it not be so with you? Have faith in him, who doeth great marvels, and trust him to work a miracle of mercy even for you.
I have not time to do more than just remind you, in passing, that in his sixth chapter John tells us of the five thousand hungry men, besides women and children, whom Christ fed with the lad’s five barley loaves and two small fishes. What does that miracle teach us? I think it tells all anxious workers that Jesus Christ is equal to every emergency. Think of the four millions of people in this city, and of the very few in it who really are dealing out to them the bread of life. Yet, brethren, never despair; Christ can feed five million souls as easily as he can feed five; and though the stock to begin with be only a few barley loaves, and a still smaller quantity of little fishes, yet he can keep on multiplying them until the whole multitude shall be satisfied. The agencies at work are sufficient for the purpose in view, if Christ does but bless them; so have unbounded faith in him, for “this man doeth many miracles.” In that sixth chapter, there is also the story of Christ’s walking on the sea, to come to his troubled disciples. “The sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew,” but in the night watch Jesus came, “and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.” What says that miracle to us? Is not this the lesson to be learned from it? Christ’s Church is always safe; she may be “tossed with tempest, and not comforted;” but in the darkest night Christ will come, walking over the waves of her trouble, and he will hush her tumult, and give her perfect peace, for “this man doeth many miracles.” Everything is safe in his hand, so let us not be afraid, whatever may happen.
Then, if you turn to the ninth chapter, you can read about the miracle — which John alone records — of the man born blind. He had never seen the light, yet Christ made his eyes to open, to the astonishment of all beholders. Is there not someone who can get comfort out of this miracle? Are you, dear friends, desirous to see the true light, and to find Christ as your Saviour? I have met with many persons, who have been for years attending a place of worship, anxious to find salvation. Very often, their failure has been explained by what they have said to me, “Where I have been in the habit of worshipping, sir, there was about a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes of something that I never understood. I did not know anything about the way of salvation, and could not make head or tail of what the minister said; but it seemed to be the proper thing to go to a place of worship, so I continued to go there. But, at last, I went to another house of prayer, where I heard the simple story of the cross, and my eyes were opened to see my Saviour, and now I am rejoicing in him.” Ah, dear friend! this man, who opened the eyes of the blind, still doeth many miracles; and if you have been for years wanting to know what you must do to be saved, and are not saved yet, ask Jesus Christ to save you now, and trust him to do it, and the film shall depart from your eyes as you see that Jesus Christ, your Saviour and Redeemer, has undertaken to save all those that put their trust in him.
The last miracle that I can mention now is the one with which our text is concerned, that is, the raising of Lazarus. Here was a man, who was not blind, or sick, or hungry, but dead, — dead, — DEAD; yet that made no difference to the great Miracle-worker. “This man doeth many miracles;” and here is the crowning one of all, he can actually raise the dead to life. Is your verdict concerning yourself that you are spiritually dead? Dead? DEAD? Do I seem to make those words sound to you like a knell? “Dead! dead! DEAD! And, my Christian friend, have you been earnestly talking to someone, trying to persuade him to trust in Christ, and after all that you have said, have you had to turn aside, and cry, “Alas! he is dead! Dead! DEAD? Then, what is the good of your talking to him? What is the use of my preaching to him? Can the dead arise through anything we can do? No; but this is our comfort and our blessed hope; there is One who is the resurrection and the life; and if he will but bless the message that he gives us to deliver in his name, however feeble we may be as the repeaters of it, he is not feeble, he still doeth great miracles, he can raise the dead, he is still “mighty to save.” Ah, yes! if he so wills, he can convert any soul here, however hardened or debased. When I am preaching, I do not think to myself, “I wonder how many souls here will make themselves willing to come to Christ.” My thought is, “They shall be willing in the day of his power.” When his grace goeth forth, the free will of man is not marred as to its freeness, yet it is sweetly controlled and miraculously subdued, so that he who, but an hour ago, could curse and swear, now begins to pray and to sing; he, who despised Christ, now adores him; he, who was an unbeliever, is now a believer in Christ, and therefore is saved, for “he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” If the gospel had to wait till men came to it, there would be poor results from it; but it is a dew from the Lord that waiteth not for men, neither tarrieth for the sons of men, but it falls when he pleases. Christ waits not till men bare their bosoms to receive his pointed shafts; but he takes his bow, and fits the arrow to the string, and through mailed corslet or steeled cuirass he makes his-dart fly omnipotently strong till it pierces the heart, and causes the sinner to fall down slain beneath his matchless might, only to rise to a new life by his glorious grace. O strong Son of God, work some of these miracles in this place just now; and out of heaven may the angels lean over the jewelled battlements, to see what Christ is still doing among the sons of men! For verily, verily, I say unto you, “this man doeth many miracles.” Amen.