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Humble Hero

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    The Aristocracy of the Nation Challenge Christ

    The two sects—Pharisees and Sadducees—had been bitter enemies, but now they united against Christ, asking for a sign from heaven. When Israel went out to battle with the Canaanites at Beth Horon, the sun had stood still at Joshua’s command. The leaders demanded some such sign from Jesus. But no mere external evidence could benefit them.HH 186.1

    “Hypocrites!” said Jesus. “You know how to discern the face of the sky”—by studying the sky they could foretell the weather—“but you cannot discern the signs of the times.” Christ’s own words, spoken with the power of the Holy Spirit, were the sign God had given. The song of the angels to the shepherds, the star that guided the wise men, the Voice from heaven at His baptism, were witnesses for Him.HH 186.2

    “But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, ‘Why does this generation seek a sign?’” “No sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” As the preaching of Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so Christ’s preaching was a sign to His generation. But what a contrast in how these two groups had received the word! The people of the great heathen city humbled themselves. The high and lowly together cried to the God of heaven, and He granted them His mercy. “The men of Nineveh will rise in judgment with this generation,” Christ had said, “and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.” Matthew 12:41.HH 186.3

    Every miracle Christ performed was a sign of His divinity, but to the Pharisees, these works of mercy were a great offense. The Jewish leaders looked with heartless indifference on human suffering. In many cases, their oppression had caused the suffering that Christ relieved. So His miracles were a rebuke to them.HH 186.4

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