Then Jesus went there, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
Of all the expressions of Christian life, prayer is the foremost, h precedes and accompanies every other. It is the breathing of the soul, the palpitation of the heart of the new inward man.
I. (1) Prayer is a NECESSITY. A Christian cannot live without inward intercourse with his God and Saviour. Love cannot exist without unbosoming itself.
(2) It is also a spiritual power. It not only reacts upon ourselves and our temper, it also acts from us outwardly on the course of things; for it both cases our heart, and overcomes God's.
II. THE SENSE OF OUR WANT URGES US TO PRAY. Knowledge of our sinfulness drives us to God. As the drowning man attaches himself to the saving hand, and does not let go his hold, so the soul attaches itself to the hand of Jesus, and refuses to be shaken off. Then the wrestling prayer for salvation begins, for it is begotten of the feeling of the soul's misery.
III. WHAT HELPS US TO OVERCOME IN THE STRUGGLE IS THE PERSEVERANCE OF HUMBLE FAITH. Jesus is the conqueror; but Jesus we seize by faith, and with Him is victory.
1. We must seek Jesus. No rest till we come to Him. No other can help us, or rid us of our sin.
2. We must not let Jesus go. If He goes away, follow Him; if He seems to be stern, become more urgent; if He hides His face, cry the louder; if He will not listen, assail His heart. Every No of Jesus is an Aye in disguise. It is true we deserve none of the things we pray for; but He has enough and to spare for all; and after the children are filled, He can afford to cast the crumbs to the dogs. If we have but the crumbs from His rich table, we shall be satisfied. Even if we are the last in His kingdom, it is sufficient, so that we only have some share of His grace. If it is only one look of His eye; only one glance from Him. If we are not allowed to rest on His breast with John, we shall be satisfied if only with Thomas we are permitted to behold the print of the nails. And when we have become quite exhausted in wrestling with Him, and all our strength is broken; when, so to speak, the hollow of our thigh is out of joint; when we can only cling to Him and declare we will not let Him go except He bless us; even then we shall overcome, and He will declare Himself to be vanquished.
IV. WHAT DO WE WIN IN THE VICTORY? The blessing of Jesus Christ — "Be it unto thee, even as thou wilt." What a wonderful word. To whom does it apply? To him who first has sacrificed his self-will, and has learnt to say, from the bottom of his heart, "Lord, not as I will, but as Thou wilt." Then God's will and man's are become one. Just before, almost powerless: now, almost almighty. He who thus wins God's heart, wins everything. A child of God is lord over all things,
(C. E. Luthardt.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.