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Humble Hero

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    Ideas of God Mold Character

    Their ideas of God molded their own character. Just as, in their view, He had no interest in mankind, so they had little regard for one another. Refusing to acknowledge the influence of the Holy Spirit, they lacked His power in their lives. They boasted of their birthright as children of Abraham, but they were destitute of the faith and kindness of Abraham. Their hearts were not touched by the needs and sufferings of others. They lived for themselves.HH 280.5

    By His words and works, Christ bore witness to a divine power that produces supernatural results, to a future life, to God as a Father of the human family, always mindful of their true interests. He taught that God moves on the heart by the Holy Spirit. He showed how wrong it was to trust in human power to transform character, when only the Spirit of God can do it.HH 280.6

    In seeking a controversy with Jesus, the Sadducees felt confident that they could damage His reputation, if not condemn Him. The resurrection was the subject on which they chose to question Him. If He would agree with them, He would offend the Pharisees. If He would differ with them, they intended to hold His teaching up to ridicule. The Sadducees reasoned that if the immortal body is to be composed of the same particles of matter as it was in its mortal state, then it must have flesh and blood and resume in the eternal world the life interrupted on earth. Husband and wife would be reunited, marriages formed, and all things go on the same as before death.HH 280.7

    In answer to their questions, Jesus lifted the veil from the future life. “In the resurrection,” He said, “they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.” The Sadducees were wrong. “You are mistaken,” He added, “not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.” He did not charge them with hypocrisy, but with error in their beliefs.HH 281.1

    He declared their ignorance of the Scriptures and the power of God to be the cause of their confusion of faith and darkness of mind. Christ called on them to open their minds to those sacred truths that would broaden the understanding. Thousands become unbelievers because they cannot understand the mysteries of God. The only key to the mysteries that surround us is to acknowledge in them the presence and power of God. People need to recognize God as the Creator of the universe, One who commands and performs all things.HH 281.2

    Christ told His hearers that if there were no resurrection of the dead, the Scriptures that they professed to believe would be of no value. He said, “But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” God sees the result of His work as though it were now accomplished. The precious dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and come out from the grave to immortal life. There will be a close and tender relationship between God and the resurrected redeemed. He sees this condition as if it were already existing. The dead live unto Him.HH 281.3

    The Sadducees were left with nothing to say. He had not spoken a word that they could take the least advantage of to condemn Him.HH 281.4

    The Pharisees, however, did not despair yet. They convinced a certain learned scribe to question Jesus about which of the ten commandments was the most important. They had exalted the first four commandments, which point out our duty to our Maker, as of far greater significance than the other six, which define our duty to others. Jesus had been charged with exalting the last six commandments above the first four.HH 281.5

    The lawyer approached Jesus with a direct question, “Which is the first commandment of all?” Christ’s answer was direct: “The first of all the commandments is ... ‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’” “The second is like the first,” said Christ, “for it flows out of it.” “‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”HH 281.6

    Both of these commandments are an expression of the principle of love. We cannot keep the first and break the second, nor can we keep the second while we break the first. Only as we love God supremely is it possible for us to love our neighbor impartially.HH 281.7

    Christ taught His hearers that the law of God is a divine unit, not so many separate laws, some of them highly important and others only slightly important. We show our love to God by obeying all His commandments.HH 282.1

    The scribe who had questioned Jesus was astonished. In the presence of the assembled priests and rulers he honestly acknowledged that Christ had given the right interpretation to the law.HH 282.2

    The scribe had some sense of how worthless were mere ceremonial offerings and the faithless shedding of blood for cleansing from sin. Love and obedience to God and unselfish regard for others appeared to him to be more valuable than all these rites. His firm and prompt response before the people showed a spirit entirely different from that of the priests and rulers. Jesus’ heart went out in pity to the honest scribe who had dared to speak his true convictions. “Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’”HH 282.3

    The Pharisees had gathered close around Jesus as He answered the scribe. Now He asked them a question: “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” He intended this question to show whether they regarded Him simply as a man or as the Son of God. A chorus of voices answered, “The Son of David.” When Jesus revealed His divinity by His mighty miracles, when He healed the sick and raised the dead, the people had inquired among themselves, “Could this be the Son of David?” But many who called Jesus the Son of David did not recognize His divinity. The Son of David was also the Son of God.HH 282.4

    In reply, Jesus said, “‘How then does David in the Spirit [the Spirit of Inspiration from God] call Him “Lord,” saying:HH 282.5

    “The Lord said to my Lord,
    ‘Sit at My right hand,
    Till I make Your enemies Your footstool’”?
    HH 282.6

    “‘If David then calls Him “Lord,” how is He his son?’ And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.”HH 282.7

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