Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

October 6, 1909

Opening the Word

By Mrs. E. G. White

The history of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, as that of the Son of God, can not be fully demonstrated without the evidence contained in the Old Testament. Christ is revealed in the Old Testament as clearly as in the New. The one testifies of a Saviour to come, while the other testifies of a Savior that has come in the manner predicted by the prophets. In order to appreciate the plan of redemption, the Scriptures of the Old Testament must be thoroughly understood. It is the glorified light from the prophetic past that brings out the life of Christ and the teachings of the New Testament with clearness and beauty. The miracles of Jesus are a proof of His divinity; but the strongest proofs that He is the world's Redeemer are found in the prophecies of the Old Testament compared with the history of the New. Jesus said to the Jews, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of Me.” At that time there was no other Scripture in existence save that of the Old Testament; so the injunction of the Saviour is plain.

This mighty Conqueror of death, who had reached to the very depths of human misery to rescue a lost world, assumed the humble task of walking with the two disciples to Emmaus, to teach and comfort them. Thus He ever identifies Himself with His suffering and perplexed people. In our hardest and most trying paths, lo, Jesus is with us to smooth the way. He is the same Son of Man, with the same sympathies and love which He had before He passed through the tomb and ascended to His Father.

At length, as the sun was going down, the disciples with their companion arrived at their home. The way had never before seemed so short to them, nor had time ever passed so quickly. The stranger made no sign of halting; but the disciples could not endure the thought of parting so soon from One who had inspired their hearts with new hope and joy, and they urged Him to remain with them overnight. Jesus did not at once yield to their invitation, but seemed disposed to pursue His journey. Thereupon the disciples, in their affection for the Stranger, importuned Him earnestly to tarry with them, urging as a reason that the day was far spent. Jesus yielded to their entreaties and entered their humble abode.

The Saviour never forces His presence upon us. He seeks the company of those who He knows need His care, and gives them an opportunity to urge His continuance with them. If they, with longing desire, entreat Him to abide with them, He will enter the humblest homes, and brighten the lowliest hearts. While waiting for the evening meal, Jesus continued to open the Scriptures to His hosts, bringing forward the evidence of His divinity, and unfolding to them the plan of salvation. The simple fare was soon ready, and the three took their position at the table, Jesus taking His place at the head as was His custom.

The duty of asking a blessing upon the food usually devolved upon the head of the family; but Jesus placed His hands upon the bread and blessed it. At the first word of His petition the disciples looked up in amazement. Surely none other than their Lord had ever done in this manner. His voice strikes upon their ear as the voice of their Master, and, behold, there are the wounds in His hands! It is indeed the well-known form of their beloved Master! For a moment they are spellbound; then they arise to fall at His feet and worship Him; but He suddenly disappears from their midst.

Now they know that they have been walking and talking with the risen Redeemer. Their eyes had been clouded so that they had not before discerned Him, altho the truths He uttered had sunk deep in their discouraged hearts. He who had endured the conflict of the Garden, the shame of the Cross, and who had gained the victory over death and the tomb—He before whom angels had fallen prostrate, worshiping with thanksgiving and praise, had sought the two lonely and desponding disciples, and been in their presence for hours, teaching and comforting them, yet they had not known Him.

Jesus did not first reveal Himself in His true character to them, and then open the Scriptures to their minds; for He knew that they would be so overjoyed to see Him again, risen from the dead, that their souls would be satisfied. They would not hunger for the sacred truths which He wished to impress indelibly upon their minds, that they might impart them to others, who should in their turn spread the precious knowledge, until thousands of people should receive the light given that day to the despairing disciples as they journeyed to Emmaus.

He maintained His disguise till He had interpreted the Scriptures, and had led them to an intelligent faith in His life, His character, His mission to earth, and His death and resurrection. He wished the truth to take firm root in their minds, not because it was supported by His personal testimony, but because the typical law, and the prophets of the Old Testament, agreeing with the facts of His life and death, presented unquestionable evidence of that truth. When the object of His labors with the two disciples was gained, He revealed Himself to them, that their joy might be full, and then vanished from their sight.

When these disciples left Jerusalem, to return to their homes, they intended to take up their old employment again, and conceal their blighted hopes as best they could. But now their joy exceeded their former despair. “And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?”

They forgot their hunger and fatigue, and left the prepared repast, for they could not tarry in their homes and hold their newly found knowledge from the other disciples. They longed to impart their own joy to their companions, that they might rejoice together in a living Saviour risen from the dead. Late as it was, they set about retracing their way to Jerusalem; but how different were their feelings now from those which depressed them when they set out upon their way to Emmaus. Jesus was by their side, but they knew it not. He heard with gladness their expressions of joy and gratitude as they talked with each other by the way.

They were too happy to notice the difficulties of the rough, uncertain road. There was no moon to light them, but their hearts were light with the joy of a new revelation. They picked their way over the rough stones and the dangerous ledges, sometimes stumbling and falling in their haste. But not at all disconcerted by this, they pressed resolutely on. Occasionally they lost their path in the darkness, and were obliged to retrace their steps until they found the track, when they renewed their journey with fresh speed. They longed to deliver their precious message to their friends. Never before had human lips such tidings to proclaim; for the fact of Christ's resurrection was to be the great truth around which all the faith and hope of the church would center.

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