Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

March 26, 1901

Lessons from the Christ-Life

Mrs. E. G. White

“I can of mine own self do nothing,” Christ continued; “as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which He witnesseth of me is true.

“Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth.” John had declared, “He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand.” “Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before Him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all; he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth; He that cometh from heaven is above all. And what He hath seen and heard, that He testifieth; and no man receiveth His testimony. He that hath received His testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.”

Speaking of John to the Pharisees, Christ said, “He was a burning and a shining light; and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.” At first the Jewish teachers were greatly moved by the message of John, but it meant too much to practice his teachings. They rejected him because he pointed out the inconsistencies of their course.

“I have greater witness than that of John,” Christ said; “for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.”

“Ye shall know them by their fruits.” If the Jewish leaders had had no other testimony than the works of Christ, they would have been without excuse. They were not ignorant of the miracles which He wrought, but these works were a testimony against them; therefore they rejected them.

“And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me.” At the baptism the Holy Spirit had descended on Christ, and God's voice had said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” But the Pharisees heard not the voice; they saw not the Spirit of God as a dove hovering over the Saviour. “Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape,” Christ declared.

As at different times during Christ's work divinity flashed through humanity, and He stood transfigured before the people, the Jewish leaders were deeply impressed. But as they talked it over with one another, their unbelief strengthened, and the evidence that should have convinced them was rejected. The strongest evidence was no evidence to them, while the weakest, most superficial arguments, if against the truth which the Saviour brought, were sound in their estimation. They had started upon a path leading to eternal ruin.

“Ye have not His word abiding in you,” Christ said; “for whom He hath sent, Him ye believe not. Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” They had in their possession the word of God, and they supposed that they knew its teachings. They were indignant that this new teacher should tell them to search the Scriptures.

Christ saw that the Jewish teachers misinterpreted the word of God, and He urged upon them a more diligent study of its precepts. In Him were fast being fulfilled the types and shadows of the Jewish economy. If they searched the Scriptures as they should, they would find that He claimed nothing which was not rightfully His.

Had the Jews searched God's word as they should, they would have seen that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah. But they searched with proud, selfish ambition as a guide, and they found a Messiah of their own imagination. Therefore when the Saviour came, a humble man, bringing to naught by His teaching long-established theories and traditions, presenting truth entirely opposite to their practices, they said, Who is this invader that dares to set aside our authority? Christ did not come as they had expected; therefore they refused to receive Him, and called Him a deceiver and an impostor. Instead of listening to Him that they might learn the truth, they listened with evil intent, that they might find something over which to cavil. And when once they had set their feet in the path of the great leader in rebellion, it was an easy matter for Satan to strengthen them in opposition. Christ's wonderful works, which God meant to be heaven-sent evidence to them, Satan caused them to interpret against Him. The more marked the way in which God spoke to them by His works of mercy and love, the more confirmed did they become in their resistance. Blinded by prejudice, they refused to acknowledge that Jesus is divine.

“I receive not honor from men,” Christ said. It was not the influence or sanction of the Sanhedrim that Christ desired. He wished not for human honor or approbation. He was invested with power from above. Had He desired honor, how quickly would the heavenly angels have come to His side! How quickly would the Father again have testified to the divinity of His Son! From no human source did Christ crave honor. He could not have been rendered more honorable if the whole school of the rabbis had lent Him their influence.

“I know you,” Christ declared to the Pharisees, “that ye have not the love of God in you.” He spoke to them thus plainly because they could not discern His divinity under the veil of humanity. He was God in human flesh, and He could not but work the works of God. Unbelief, prejudice, and jealousy beat about Him, and if His humanity had not been united with divinity, He would have failed and become discouraged. At times His divinity flashed through humanity, and He stood forth as the Son of God, His veil of flesh too transparent to hide His majesty. But the men who claimed to be the expositors of the prophecies refused to believe that He was the Christ. Satan had control of their minds, and they utterly refused to acknowledge the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth.

Since Christ was treated thus, can we be surprised when those to whom He has given His message are rejected and scorned by men whose resistance of light is even less excusable than was the resistance of the Jews?

Christ did not frame His words to accommodate the pretentious pride of a deceived, self-righteous people. “I know you,” He said, “that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” Jesus came by the authority of God, bearing His image, seeking His glory, fulfilling His word. His mission bore the divine credentials. But His work failed to convince the hearts that were steeled by prejudice. Yet when others should come, assuming the title of Christ without giving genuine evidence that they were sent by God, speaking on the authority of their own finite judgment, acting for their own glory, they would be received because their theories agreed with cherished ideas and opinions.

“How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?” Christ asked. “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”

Moses spoke only the words which the Great Teacher, enshrouded in the pillar of cloud, bade him speak. The writings of Moses presented types of the Messiah and promises of His coming. All these would condemn the Jews, because they professed to believe Moses. Had they really believed him, they would have welcomed the One of whom he wrote.

As Christ spoke, the scribes and Pharisees listened to words such as they had never heard before. But instead of receiving the speaker as the long-expected Messiah, they angrily rejected His claims. He questioned their doctrine, and this was regarded by them as a sin never to be forgiven. They were determined to stand by their traditions and commandments. They would teach them just as strenuously as if no counter-influence had been exerted to correct their errors and deceptions.

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