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Humble Hero

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    Selfish Hopes Unfulfilled

    Jesus had done the very work that prophecy had foretold the Messiah would do, but the people had not seen what their selfish hopes had pictured as His work. In the days of Moses, Israel had been fed with manna forty years, and they expected far greater blessings from the Messiah. Why could Jesus not give health, strength, and riches to all His people, free them from their oppressors, and exalt them to power and honor? He claimed to be the One sent from God, yet He refused to be Israel’s King. This was a mystery they could not fathom. Did He dare not assert His claims because He Himself doubted the divine character of His mission?HH 174.8

    Half-mockingly a rabbi questioned: “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’HH 175.1

    “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven.’” The Giver of the manna was standing among them. Christ Himself had led the Hebrews and had fed them daily with the bread from heaven. That food was a symbol of the real Bread from heaven. The life-giving Spirit is the true Manna. “For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”HH 175.2

    Still thinking it was physical food, some exclaimed, “Lord, give us this bread always.” Jesus then spoke plainly, “I am the bread of life.”HH 175.3

    Moses had said, “Man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:3. And Jeremiah had written, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” Jeremiah 15:16. The teaching of the prophets made plain the spiritual lesson in the miracle of the loaves. If Christ’s hearers in the synagogue had understood the Scriptures, they would have understood His words, “I am the bread of life.” As the multitude had received physical strength from the bread He had given them the day before, so they could receive spiritual strength from Christ for eternal life. “He who comes to Me,” He said, “shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” But he added, “You have seen Me and yet do not believe.”HH 175.4

    They had seen Christ by the witness of the Holy Spirit, by the revelation of God to their hearts. The living evidences of His power had been before them day after day, yet they asked for still another sign. If they were not convinced by what they had seen and heard, it was useless to show them more marvelous works. Unbelief will always find excuse for doubt and will explain away the most positive proof.HH 175.5

    Again Christ appealed to those stubborn hearts: “The one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” All who received Him in faith, He said, would have eternal life. No longer did people need to mourn in hopeless grief over their dead. “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”HH 175.6

    But the leaders were offended. “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Referring scornfully to Jesus’ lowly origin, with contempt they alluded to His family as being poor and lowly. The claims of this uneducated Carpenter, they said, were unworthy of their attention. Because of His mysterious birth, they insinuated that He was of doubtful parentage.HH 175.7

    Jesus did not attempt to explain the mystery of His birth, as He had given no answer to the questions about His crossing the sea. Voluntarily He had made Himself of no reputation and taken the form of a servant. But His words and works revealed His character.HH 176.1

    The prejudice of the Pharisees grew out of the stubbornness of their hearts. Every word and act of Jesus made them angry, for the spirit they cherished could find no answering chord in Him.HH 176.2

    “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. ... It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.” None will ever come to Christ except those who respond to the drawing of the Father’s love. But God is drawing all hearts to Him, and only those who resist His drawing will refuse to come to Christ. Those who had learned from God had been listening to His Son, and they would recognize in Jesus of Nazareth the One who had declared the Father.HH 176.3

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