Arise, and Take Up Thy Bed

Mark 11:1-12
1And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, 2And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. (Mark 11:1‑2)You will find there is a moral order in the miracles of the Lord as recorded in the opening of the Gospel- by Mark. He meets man here according to his need, and therefore the first miracle spoken of is that in which He casts out an unclean spirit. The second is the fever; that is the excitement of nature; and the third is the leprosy-man's state by nature. He heals the leper. Of course God always had power over Satan, but here is a Man who has power over him; He Shows that He is able to meet every kind of evil from which man suffers at the hand of Satan. Leprosy is external defilement; if a man speaks a bad word, it is leprosy; it not only does himself harm, but it contaminates others. And. next we come to the fourth-the palsy-the perfect helplessness of man; and the man that is thoroughly helpless draws the most from God, for the great attraction for the grace of God is my need of that grace. So what is it that attracts the heart of Christ? What was it that was attractive in the widow of Sarepta? It was her sorrow: A poor widow gathering a, few sticks to dress a last meal for herself and her son, and then going to die! Christ ever desires to find a home in the widowed heart-in the desolate heart. Do you want to attract Christ to you? What is there in you to attract Him? Is it that you are great or beautiful? No, but that you are powerless. See how the Syrophenician came to the Lord.
She takes the lowest place to get a claim on Him; she says, I am content to be a dog if only I may have a crumb. Then, He says, you have got a claim, aid more than one; great is thy faith!
Here we get a case of utter powerlessness; palsied man; so a new principle comes in that is not mentioned in the previous miracles, and that is faith. Where one can do nothing-where there is least power,-there there is most faith. "It is of grace that it might be by faith." The thief on the cross is a wonderful sample of faith to us;. he recovers what was lost' in the garden of Eden; he is the first man who turned the corner in that way, so to speak; he gained the power of God where the power of man had been lost.
So here with the palsied man. He has not a particle of power; he cannot come to Christ himself, and the moment others attempt to bring him, they are hindered by the press; but " when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.” There is nothing that will really stop faith; faith wants to reach its object-an object outside itself. They want to get to a Person, and they find obstacles in the way, but faith is not hindered by obstacles; it is like a river that is dammed; it swells until it gets over the barrier.
There are two things I would now bring before you: first, what Christ does for a soul, and next, what a soul does for Christ: what is done for me, and what is done in me; and I must not confound the two.
What is done for me is the first thing. The palsied man is laid before the Lord; but He does not say a word about his palsy; He says, "Son, thy Sins be forgiven thee." Why is this? Because. He comes ‘out to meet the greatest enemies first; it is not the palsy He is looking at; and as to his sins, it is not one or two of them, nor three or four, but all; when He accomplished the work He removed them all. If he had only removed twenty out of twenty-one, I -should be lost, for the one; but it is " the forgiveness of sins,". of all of them: And not for past sins only: as has been said by another, there is not a sin of ours, but has been committed since. Christ died, so that we are in a poor position if He has not died for them all. I must see that He is the Person who has done away with all my sins; He has not to die for my sin every time I commit one; if He did not die for them before I committed then who is to die for them?
God says, I will meet the case. It is plain we could not meet it ourselves. I ‘may say to one of my children, you have broken this beautiful pane of glass, and you Cannot mend: it but I will repair it myself in a Perfect way. It 'is just so between ourselves and God; We cannot meet our sins, but He has met them in a -perfect way. Suppose a man owes me, money arid: cannot pay -it, and I say, You can never pay me this, so I will pay it myself! It is thus that God has dealt with us. He has "laid help upon One that is mighty;" He has taken away through Him- the thing that offended His holy eye, so that He might have me in His presence forever. And He cannot lose sight of the efficacy of what He has done; I may lose sight of it, but He never can. God comes forth of His own self, and says he loves the world; Jesus says He takes away the sin of the world. " He was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification." I look to Min as I walk, and I say, The man on that side of the road ruined me; I belong to the Man on this side; so I turn my back upon the one, and I turn my face to the other-I turn my eyes to Him. One man is the man that ruined me; the other is the Man that has wrought deliverance, and therefore He says, " Look unto Me, and be ye saved.' The lamb in the Levitical order only showed what God required; so Christ, as the Lamb of God, takes away the sin of the world; and, the moment a man has faith in Him, He rises to the height of grace, and says, " Son, thy sins be forgiven thee."
Well but, says some one, I have committed a great many sins since I have been converted, and do not doubt you have; but you have now to regard your sin as a child, and not as before, as a vagrant, As a child of God I say, when I sin, I have no right to have done such a thing as this I repudiate it; I confess my sins, and then " He is faithful and just to forgive me my sins, and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness." "Through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins," and, " your sins and your iniquities will I remember no more." Do you believe that God really ever spoke those words? God cannot impute sin to a believer. You may have a sense of having committed sin, but God will never lay it to your charge. When I sin what do I find? Why, that the moment I go into God's presence I am humbled, and have to confess it; but, as I do so, I say that God did away with it all at the cross. God says, you must get rid of all this black that is upon you. Like a naughty child I have gone down into the cellar and got myself soiled; but God says, You must collie up out of that place and be made clean again-be made fitting to the place I have set you in.
And what a place that' is! I am now a brother of the risen Man! (See John 20) And I love to think how that I am more distinctly a brother to Christ than I am a brother to the old nature-the Adam nature in which I was born; I am more distinctly by divine power in the new creation than I am in the old. A new and more wonderful creation has been wrought in me-poor creature though I am in myself-than has been in the making of this world, this sky, these stars, which we all admire so much. In the new creation I am a brother to the glorified Christ! I never was a brother to Christ on earth. It was not until He was risen from the dead that He could say, " Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." I am a brother to a risen Christ, and though I have belonged to the old man, the cross has broken me off from him-and united me to this risen Man.
What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, How am I to keep my eye on Him? I reply, Keep your eye off everything else and you will soon see Him All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him—How simple it is! So far for the first part.
Now they raise the question, " Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive Bins but God only? ' And Jesus says, " Why reason ye these things in your heart? whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed„ and go thy way into thine house." Now comes out the power in us. And what I want you to see, beloved friends, is that you have nothing to say, or to do, as to the first of these two things, whilst you have everything to say to the second. People are continually confounding the two. God does the first entirely for you, but having done it, He does not leave you there; it is said, " The same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost;" He imparts a new power to you.
How shall I know when I have a new power? I will tell you. Whatever 'you are most singularly defective in in nature, there you will be most singularly superior in grace; in other words, you will carry your bed. In everything it is so. Here is a poor weak man who says he cannot do without his bed. Well then, that is the very thing he is to carry. Whatever you are notorious for in nature that is the very thing you will be the reverse of in grace. A man is covetous: he will become the very opposite in grace; he will be generous.
Christ now in the place of power; He is at God's light hand, and fie says, I am going to give you a power that shall enable you to show me forth in spite of all that is around you and within you to hinder it. But, you say, I am in the old creation!-I know' you are; but remember that the Head of the new creation is the Lord of the old. " And if you have this power it will manifest itself most where there has been most carnality-Most of the old man; there it-will express itself most distinctly.
How do I learn my besetting sin? By seeing how the Lord watches me, by seeing how the Word touches me, and by seeing how the Lord exercises me. There is not a person who walks with the Lord but he finds out what is his bedwhat is his weak point.
What does Christ want to do with you, beloved friends? what does He want to do with you upon earth? He waists that He Himself-Christ-may be seen in you. But there is that in you which hinders the expression of. His grace. Now what will He do to get rid of this hindrance? He' will bring in a power that will entirely overcome it―to such a degree that that man's body here upon the earth, which was the very soil in which all the seeds of Satan were sown to his cost-that body is to be the garden of the Lord; it is to bring forth fruit for the Lord; so that people may well say, "We never saw it on this fashion." It is a-new point set forth in Christianity-that the body is the Lord's.
Look at the history of any saint walking with: God, and -you will see how, in grace, he becomes superior to what distinguished him in nature. If he be 'in nature an ambitious man then that is the -very thing not be now, because that was what ministered to his infirmity-that is his bed...People say, I cannot do without reading light, books, newspapers, and so on. I answer, that is the very thing that ministers to your selfishness-to your nature-; and when you get power you will carry it. It is the very thing that you were most notorious for in nature, as a man, that in grace you will be made most superior to; for now, instead of being under its power, you rise above it; instead of letting yourself down to it, you are superior to it-You carry your bed.
Just turn to Eph. 4:2828Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. (Ephesians 4:28). " Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth."
Now here is a case, that is very remarkable. You see it is a very bad case. " Let him that 'stole steal no more "-that is where most people stop; and, in doing so, they: make it only the law, and nothing more. But what will this divine power make of a thief? A: thief is a taker; but grace makes him a, donor. " Let him labor, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he "-may be able to support his family and take care of himself? Not a bit! but, " that he may have to give to him that needeth."
I can bring you instances enough to show you that saints have been distinguished for the very thing in which by nature they failed. Take Peter. He was so active-always foremost in everything. He ends by being carried, and that too where in nature he would not like to go.
In Hebrews we have another example of grace making strong the very spot that was weak. We all know what Jacob was, a most grasping man, always looking out for the present, always thinking of himself. God took him up as the most perverse of men just to show what grace can do. Here at the end of his life he is found leaning on his staff, a worshipper.-Now a worshipper is one whose heart is detained by the object that controls it-adoringly occupied with that one object. And he was not only worshipping-occupied with another instead of himself; but he was also blessing the sons of Joseph-thinking of things future instead of planning for the present. And thirdly, to complete the picture, we find in Genesis what we do not get in Hebrews, that, when he looks at himself, all that he can say is: " As for me, 'Rachel died by me in the way." He says, I can bless you as to the future, but, as for me; the whole scene is a blank here; death has cast its pall upon it.
He is brought out at the close of his life to show how grace has turned him right round, and made him the very opposite of all for which he was notorious as a man. He was thinking of others; he was not moping, though all was a blank; Rachel died by the way. All is the very reverse of what it was. Is this the Jacob we used to know?, Yes, indeed! he is carrying his bed!
We make so little of divine power. People Often indeed go on just the same after they are in Christ as they used to do before. But a Christian is a man who is exemplifying a Man who is in heaven, whilst he himself is on earth. And I cannot do this-I cannot learn Christ here upon earth, but as I know Him where He is. As the apostle says: " To me to live is Christ." That is not a man of whom men can say, Oh, that is a very nice man; Christianity Ms improved him -lent a burnish to him-a polish to him. It
is not that at all. But Christianity has 'turned him right round-made a new man of him altogether. That is what divine power is: not to make him a good man, but to make him like Christ. People are all for humanizing Christ, and Christianizing men, and there is nothing I fear more for saints than that. To humanize Christ is to bring Him down to man's level; and to Christianize a man is to 'Make a good man of him I am sure I say it humbly, that I often do not know how Christ would do, a certain thing. I often think and know how a man-and how a nice man would do something; but the thing is how would Christ do it? It is easy to find out how a man would like a thing done? If I say, How would people like this to be done? I am going wrong. That is not the way to do it., The question is, How would Christ like it done? It is another order of things altogether. I feel for my own part how ignorant I am about it, but I am glad 'to -say I think about, it, and am exercised about it.
If I am to have power, I, must know a glorified Christ seated in heaven at the right hand of God. What would that make me? Why it would make me like Christ. It is as plain as can be to me; I am carrying it out very; little, but the fact is plain, that divine power would give me that divine shape, that divine attitude, that divine conduct, that would be His if He were standing in the very place in which I now am. Therefore the apostle says: " Christ shall be magnified in my body."There are two parts in Christianity. First there is the Deliverer; He brings you to God through His own work on the cross. And second, being delivered, you are to be like the Person who delivered you.; you are to be the expositor of the One you belong to. You are to express nothing of yourself; you are a thorn in the hedge, but a thorn that is to bear a rose. I am in myself but a briar in a hedge, but I have been engrafted; and the consequence is I bear what is not natural to me, a rose; and thus, though my stem is hut a briar, the fragrance that I shed around, is that. of a rose of Sharon.
Divine power is to be manifested in -the one who is absolved from his sins-in the one to whom it has been said: " Son, thy sins be forgiven thee." The man that is naturally avaricious, when grace works in him, will cease to amass for himself, and will end by being a giver. The man who is ambitious will be brought down in every direction. The Lord-will not let a man glory in flesh.
May the Lord in His grace make it plain to your hearts, first, that Christ's blood shedding washes you completely before a holy God from everything that could rise Up against you;-and God has never lost His satisfaction in Christ, and never can lose it, and therefore He can never lose His satisfaction in me who am in Christ. And secondly, that divine power has -come to make me much more marked with the power of Christ, than vas even that man who carried his bed in Jerusalem. There is not one of you but has a bed; and the work of God is just hindered in you because you will not carry it. This man was not to carry it about the streets either; he was to take it to his house. A Christian husband is to be a peculiarly good husband; a Christian wife, to be a peculiarly good wife; a Christian child, to be a peculiarly good child. It is at home that people always fail-it is in the inner circle that failure first comes in-because there they are off their guard.
As I have said, what I want the Lord in His mercy to keep before our hearts are these two things. One, what Christ has done for me-that He has removed everything' by his own work that stood between God and me, so that nothing can ever come between Him and me again. And the other, that there is a power which can make you superior to everything in -yourself.
I do not know what our bed is; I know very well what mine is; and God says, I will crush it, snap it, do anything to it to put it down; because it is every bit of it the flesh in me, that it hinders Christ from shining-forth in me. The thing here is not to get Christ in to me, though: that must of course come first, but- to get Christ out of me. That is the thing!
And “they were all amazed! " It does make people amazed to see Christ come out of such poor creatures-to see divine power act through such weakness. Christ says: The body is mine; and now it is to grow beautiful' flowers for me.- Your very countenance is to shine! Is it to be sorrowful? No! " always rejoicing."
The Lord lead you to see what this grace of God is-what this divine power. That is all that I desire. The power that wrought in Christ Himself is the very power that is working in me to bring me now. to His image, to which I shall be conformed entirely when He appears.