Ellen G. White Writings

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Humble Hero, Page 227

prepare for Him.” But the people refused to receive Him, because He was on His way to Jerusalem. Little did they realize that they were turning away from their doors the best gift of heaven. The Samaritans lost all this because of their prejudice and bigotry.

James and John, Christ’s messengers, were greatly annoyed at the insult; they were filled with indignation because the Samaritans had treated Him so rudely. They reported to Christ that the people had even refused to give Him a night’s lodging. Seeing Mount Carmel in the distance, where Elijah had killed the false prophets, they said, “Do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” They were surprised at Jesus’ rebuke: “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And He went to another village.

It is no part of Christ’s mission to compel people to receive Him. He wants only voluntary service, the willing surrender of the heart moved by love. There can be no more conclusive evidence that we possess the spirit of Satan than the desire to hurt and destroy those who do not appreciate our work, who act contrary to our ideas. Nothing can be more offensive to God than, through religious bigotry, bringing suffering on those who are the purchase of the Savior’s blood.

Christ spent a significant part of the closing months of His ministry in Perea, the province beyond the Jordan from Judea. See Mark 10:1. Here the people crowded around Him, and He repeated much of His former teaching.

As He had sent out the Twelve, so He “appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of Him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go.” NRSV. For some time these disciples had been in training for their work. They had had the privilege of close association with Him and direct personal instruction.

Jesus did not give the same command to the Seventy that He had given to the Twelve—not to enter into any city of the Gentiles or the Samaritans. Though the Samaritans had rudely rejected Christ, His love toward them was unchanged. In His name, the Seventy visited, first of all, the cities of Samaria.

Samaritans Responded to Christ’s Love

In His commission to the disciples just before His ascension, Jesus mentioned Samaria with Jerusalem and Judea as the places where they were to preach the gospel first. When they went to Samaria, they found the people ready to receive them. The Samaritans saw that, despite their rude treatment of Him, Jesus had only thoughts of love toward them, and He won their hearts. After His ascension the disciples gathered a precious harvest from among those who had once been their bitterest enemies.

“A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.”

Isaiah 42:3

In sending out the Seventy, Jesus instructed them not to urge their presence where they were unwelcome.

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