In the eighth chapter of Matthew it is related that a centurion came to Jesus, "beseeching him, and saying, Lord,Â my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. . . . And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour."
Now what was it that the centurion expected would heal His servant? It was "the word only," which Jesus would speak. And after the word was spoken, what did the centurion depend upon--to what did he look for the healing power? It was "the word only." He did not look for the Lord to do it in some ways apart from the word. No. He heard the word, "So be it done unto thee." He accepted that word as it is in truth the word of God and expected it, depended upon it, to accomplish that which it said. And it was so. And that word is the word of God today as certainly as in the day that it was originally spoken. It has lost none of its power, for that word "liveth and abideth forever."
Again in John 4:46-52 it is related how a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum came to Jesus at Cana of Galilee and "besought him that he would come down and heal his son; for he was at the point of death.Â Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto him,Â Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then inquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth."
This is the power of the word of God to the man who receives it as it is in truth the word of God. This is the power that "effectually worketh also in you that believe." This is the way that the word of God accomplishes that which He pleases, in those who will receive it and let it dwell in them. Notice that in both instances the thing was accomplished at the very time when the word was spoken. Notice also that the sick ones were not in the immediate presence of Jesus but some distance away--the latter was at least a day's journey away from where Jesus was spoken to by the nobleman. Yet he was healed at once when the word was spoken. And that word is living and full of power today, as certainly as it was that day, to every one who receives it as was done that day.Â It is faith to accept that word as the word of God and to depend upon it to accomplish the thing that it says. For of the centurion when he said, "Speak the word only and my servant shall be healed," Jesus said to them that stood around, "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." Let Him find it now everywhere in Israel.
Jesus says to every one of us, "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." It is through the word that this cleansing is wrought. The Lord does not propose to cleanse you in any way apart from His word, but through the word which He has spoken. There and there alone are you to look for the cleansing power,Â receiving it as it is in truth the word of God which effectually worketh in you and accomplishes that which He pleases. He does not propose to make you pure except by the power and indwelling of His pure words.
A leper said to Jesus, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." And Jesus answered Him, "I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed." Are you mourning under the leprosy of sin? Have you said or will you now say, "Lord,if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean"? The answer is now to you, "I will; be thou clean." And "immediately" you are cleansed as certainly as was that other leper. Believe the word, and praise the Lord for its cleansing power. Do not believe for that leper away back there; believe it for yourself here, now,Â immediately. For the word is to you now, "Be thou clean." Accept it as did those of old and immediately it worketh effectually in you the good pleasure of the Father.
Let all who have named the name of Christ receive His word today as it is in truth the word of God, depending upon that word to do what the word says. Then as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it, "that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish," even so it will be now to the glory of God.