Ellen G. White Writings

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The Youth’s Instructor

January 1, 1874

The Life of Christ—No. 10

By Ellen G. White.

The life of Christ had been so secluded at Nazareth that the world did not know him as the Son of God—their Redeemer. He was regarded as nothing more than the son of Joseph and Mary. His life in childhood and youth was remarkable. His silence in regard to his exalted character and mission contains an instructive lesson to all youth. His faithful obedience to his parents until he was thirty years of age is a pattern for youth to imitate more than the Jesus in Gethsemane and upon Calvary.

We shall never be required to endure the agony of the Son of God which he bore for a guilty world; but his life of submission and faithful obedience to his parents is the pattern for all children and youth. Although they may never experience, as did the Redeemer, the agony of Gethsemane or Calvary, they are required to imitate the life of Christ in humility, self-denial, self-sacrifice, and in filial, respectful obedience to their parents.

Jesus was brought up at Nazareth. John the Baptist, who was to do a special work in preparing the way for Christ's public labors, was in the desert wilderness. Although John was the cousin of Jesus, he was not acquainted with him. This was in the order of God, so that John should not have communication with Christ, that no occasion should be given for the unbelieving world to say that John and Christ had a mutual understanding, and that they worked with designing motives to favor each other as reformers.

When Jesus presented himself to John to receive the rite of baptism, he did not know him. The Lord had revealed to John that Jesus would be among the candidates who were to receive baptism at his hands, and that he would give him a special token whereby he might know the Lamb of God, and call the attention of the people to him as the long-expected Messiah.

John had heard of the sinless character and spotless purity of the life of Christ, and that he claimed to be the Son of God. He had been informed of his wise questions and answers in the temple, which astonished the grave doctors. He had listened to the recital of the Galilean youth silencing the doctors by his deep reasoning. He thought this must be the Son of God, the promised Messiah.

The crowd that had collected at Jordan's banks to be baptized of John had received the ordinance at his hand; and as they were leaving the banks of Jordan, Jesus came to him and offered himself as a candidate. As soon as the discerning eye of John rested upon Jesus, his spirit was stirred with the deepest emotion. He knew that he was not like any other man that had received the ordinance at his hand; He had strong convictions that this was the Christ of whom Moses and the prophets had written. His heart went out to Christ with intense love and reverence that he had never felt before. The very atmosphere of his presence was holy and awe-inspiring.

Although John knew not Jesus certainly as the Messiah, his heart had never been stirred with such emotions as when in the presence of Christ. He felt that Jesus was superior to himself. His work was to arouse the people to see their sinful condition, that they might repent of their sins, and their hearts be prepared for the ministry of Christ.

Multitudes had flocked to the wilderness to listen to the preaching of John. Many repented of their sins and received baptism at his hands. John could not understand why Jesus, who came not with confession to repentance, should need the rite of baptism when he had no sins to wash away. He refused to baptize Jesus because that he felt that he was better than himself. With firm and gentle authority, Jesus waives the refusal of John and his plea of unworthiness, by these words both of command and solicitation. “Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.”

Christ came to receive baptism, not with confession of sins to repentance, for he was without the taint of sin. He marked the way for the sinner by his own example in taking the steps the sinner is required to take. He pointed out distinctly the way of salvation for the repenting, believing sinner. It was not Christ that had broken the law of God, but sinful man. It was man that had forfeited all right to divine favor by transgression of the Father's law, and had separated himself from God by his disobedience.

Christ came as the sinner's substitute to bear the guilt himself, which justly belonged to man. Through the perfection of his character he was accepted of the Father as a mediator for sinful man. He only could save man by imputing to him his righteousness. His sinless, divine nature united him to God, while his human nature brought him into sympathy with the weaknesses and sufferings of humanity. “For we have not an High Priest which can not be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” The Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering, and thus qualified to help fallen man just where he needed help.

The example of Christ in childhood and youth was perfect. He shows the young the only course that they can take to perfect Christian character, and meet the approbation of God. Said Christ, “I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

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