And heal the sick that are therein, and say to them, The kingdom of God is come near to you.
This is a part of the discourse which Christ gave to His disciples when they were going forth to preach under His ministration. Their message was, "The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you." They were Jews in Jewry. They were preaching to their own countrymen — especially in Galilee; and this was a part of their message: the approach of the kingdom of God to all those that heard. Nothing more striking than the spiritual insight of our Lord. What is spiritual insight? As it existed in our Master, it was a perception of developed and perfect forms of morality and religion as constituent elements of human life in the broadest statement. It included —
1. A far more exalted idea of right and wrong than has been developed by human society.
2. A perception of character and conduct far more exalted than any that ordinary life develops.
3. A perception of the whole sphere of man. To Him life was a unit, and the life beyond was a part of it. Beyond all darkness He saw life and man in their higher relations, and in their possibilities. This higher spiritual condition, this perfectness of human nature in its aggregate emotions, now and hereafter, He called "The kingdom"; "The new kingdom"; "The kingdom of heaven"; "The kingdom of God"; and it was this that He told His disciples to preach when they went abroad. Whenever outward circumstances brought men to a place where the influences that acted upon them tended to develop their higher nature, and carry them forward along the path of perfectibility, or where their state of mind tended to make them perceptive of truths which at other times had little power with them, or where they were by outward things made sensible to things insensible, lifting them to the relation of the heavenly life, then He spoke of them as being near the kingdom of God. They were in a condition out of which should easily and naturally come spiritual development. What were some of those times?What may we gather in regard to them from a general inspection of Christ's ministry, and of His teachings to the people, and from our own experiences?
1. Times of general religious interest in communities bring the kingdom of God very near to men.
2. Any revelation to a man's consciousness of his exceeding need of change, of development, of exaltation; any influence which shall strike through a man, giving him a discriminating power by which he can separate between right and wrong, between better and worse, between good and better — any such revelation or influence brings him near to the kingdom of heaven.
3. Anything that brings to the personal consciousness and experience of a man a sense of his degraded condition may be said to bring the kingdom of God near to him.
4. Anything that reveals to a man the reality of his whole estate, and shows him a higher and supernal life, and gives him a consciousness of the stern, terrific danger that threatens him, is bringing him to the border of God's kingdom.
5. All the perceptions of concrete goodness which men gain, and which strike into their mind, bring them near to the kingdom of heaven.
6. All experiences of the unsatisfying condition of earthly life, are, or may be, instruments of bringing men to the very border of the kingdom of God.
7. Any cause of thought in ourselves, or any cause of thought in others brought to bear upon us, which opens clearly the nature of manhood, or the possibilities of the future endless development of human life, brings men not far from the kingdom of God.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.