Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

January 27, 1898

Knowing Christ

As Christ was speaking His last words of instruction to His disciples, before His crucifixion, Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” Amazed at his dullness of comprehension, Christ asked with pained surprise, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?” The disciples had been Christ's companions for nearly three years; they had listened to His words, witnessed His mighty works, and heard Him say to the Pharisees as He read their thoughts, “I and My Father are one,” and He was astonished that they did not yet know Him. If they had not been so slow of comprehension, if they had been more devoted hearers and doers of the Saviour's words, they would not thus have grieved His heart of love by their unbelief.

Philip's doubt called for the utterance of golden truth, which it was essential for the disciples to hear. “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?” Christ asked. “The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself; but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the very works’ sake.” Not long before this, Christ had declared solemnly and decidedly: “He that believeth on Me, believeth not on Me, but on Him that sent Me. And he that seeth Me, seeth Him that sent Me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on Me should not abide in darkness.”

Christ showed that the treasures of eternity were at His command. He was under no control in the disposal of them. He who thought it not robbery to be equal with God brought into the world the accumulated treasures of eternity. With authority and decision He said that those who suffered here for His name's sake should receive their reward in heaven, thus showing His oneness with God.

Speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul says of Christ: “God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

In His teaching Christ referred to Jonah. The prophet went to Nineveh to deliver God's message, and the warning rang through the streets of the godless city. His message humbled the nation at that time the mightiest in the earth. The proclamation of their destruction caused them to repent in great humiliation, and their doom was averted. The law of God was revered and the God of Israel honored and exalted throughout the heathen world. This experience the Jews kept ever in remembrance. But said Christ, “A greater than Jonas is here.”

Solomon was one of the greatest kings that ever wielded a scepter. He built the magnificent temple at Jerusalem, giving character and greatness to the Jewish nation. The Jews extolled and honored him, yet standing before them, Christ declared, “A greater than Solomon is here.” He spoke of patriarchs and prophets who longed to sit at His feet and learn of Him, who would have thought themselves highly honored could they have ministered to Him. Turning to His disciples, He said: “Blessed are your eyes; for they see; and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”

Christ appropriated to Himself the title of authority, and affirmed His claim to our entire service and allegiance. “Ye call Me Master and Lord,” He said; “and ye say well; for so I am.” Had any one but God manifest in the flesh made such a claim, it would have been pronounced blasphemy in the heavenly courts. But Christ made no false claim. He was indeed one with God. How slow of comprehension the disciples must have been to ask, “Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.”

“This is life eternal,” Christ declared, “that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” These words mean much. It is only by knowing Christ that we can know God. The Sent of God calls upon all to listen to these words. They are the words of God, and all should give heed to them; for by them they will be judged. To know Christ savingly is to be vitalized by spiritual knowledge, to practise His words. Without this, all else is valueless.

Christ came to this world to reveal the Father. What patience, what pitying tenderness, what divine compassion, what strength of purpose, he manifested! He did not fail nor become discouraged. He was the embodiment of purity, and His love was without a parallel. At every step He practised self-denial and self-sacrifice. In His death He was the revelation of the reconciliation between God and man. By taking our nature, He bound Himself to us through eternal ages. He is our representative and head. He represents our race before God, still and forever bearing the humanity of the race. He pleads before the Father the perfect righteousness of all who accept Him.

Christ calls upon us to hear His words, that we may know Him. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” We are not to hear as did those of whom the apostles said, “The Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” Those who hear savingly are those who hear in faith, and who give earnest heed to the things which they have heard, lest at any time they should let them slip.

“Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven,” Christ says; “but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say unto Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.”

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

God has measured how much it cost to save man. This salvation was accomplished only by the sacrifice of Himself in His Son. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Earthly parents love their children. How then did God feel when the Son of His love was despised by those whom He came to elevate and ennoble and save? He saw Him dying on the cross, mocked at and jeered at by the passers-by, and He hid as it were His face from Him. Christ was bearing the sin of the whole world, and dying in the sinner's stead. Exalt the God of heaven, you who can realize the depth of His self-sacrifice; for He suffered with His Son.

The sinner must see Jesus as He is, full of grace and truth. Heavenly peace will be felt by those who know Him who first loved us, who is the chiefest among ten thousand, and altogether lovely. Every lingering doubt will be swept away. Their hearts will burn with the fire of divine love, and their characters will be transformed.

Mrs. E. G. White

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