This morning, I decided to do a study of Reverend JC Ryle and was going to read today’s text for November 23 in his collection, Daily Readings. Instead, I was inspired by the Lord to read February 23rd, the Morning reading. This reading was centered around Mark 2:1-12, Matthew 9:2-8, Luke 5:17-26, and Philippians 2:17-26.
The main text is about Jesus preaching in a home in Capernaum. The house was packed with His followers as well as Scribes. While preaching, four men brought a paralytic who was laying in his bed. They could not get into the home so they went up on the roof and removed some of the roof so they could lower the paralytic’s bed into the home and Jesus could heal him.
As they lowered the man through the roof, Jesus saw their faith and He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5). When the Scribes saw this, they thought to themselves that Jesus was blaspheming as no one can forgive sins except God (See Mark 2:6-7). Jesus then detected what the Scribes were thinking and He said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or say ‘Rise and take your bed and walk?’” Jesus went on to say, “But that you know that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins-He said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.’” The paralytic rose, he picked up his bed, went out among all the crowds to see, and went home (See Mark 2:8-12).
Isn’t it interesting that the Capernaites had the pleasure to hear the true faultless preaching of Jesus surrounded with miracles? JC Ryle stated, “they were dead in their trespasses and sin. Nothing seems to harden men’s hearts so much as to hear the gospel regularly, and yet deliberately prefer the service of sin and the world” (Ryle 2020).
Ryle goes on to write, “Pains and diligence are just as essential as well-being and prosperity of our souls as of our bodies. In all our endeavours to draw near to God, in all our approaches to Christ, there ought to be the same determined earnestness shown by the sick man’s friends. …Men who are not in spiritual earnest about salvation have no time for Bible-reading, prayer, and hearing the gospel. They have time for money, business, pleasure, and politics” (Ryle 2020).
Did you read that last sentence? Men who are not in spiritual earnest about salvation have no time for Bible-reading, prayer, and hearing the gospel. They are more interested in money, business, pleasure, and politics!
Where are you? Are you seeking God, have a hunger to read God’s Word and pray to Jesus? Do you crave to hear the gospel? Or are dead in your sin and trespasses and are more interested in money, business, pleasure, and politics? If the latter, then I have a great concern about your salvation and your faith! Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Why is it that Christians of today do not spend more time in prayer, Bible reading, and hearing the gospel? After all, they do work shorter hours than our forefathers, and yet they have no time for God. Why is it that way? Even when JC Ryle lived, he asked this same question.
Christians, I pray that you will seek a closer walk with Jesus. Don’t be like the Caperniates who listened to Jesus in person and yet criticized Him and rejected Him. They were dead in their sins and trespasses.
Do you know Him? If not, then you are dead in your sins and trespasses. Why not invite Him into your heart and life today?
Pray this simple prayer. Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. I believe that you are the Son of God and that you came into the world to save it. I believe you died on the cross to save me of my sins. I believe that you rose from the grave on the third day. I ask you to come into my heart and forgive me from all the sins and trespasses I have ever committed. Thank you, Jesus, for saving my soul. I pray this in Jesus Name!
Ryle, JC. Daily Readings. Edited by Robert Sheehan. Welwyn Garden City: EP Books, 2020.
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