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Humble Hero

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    People Gathering to Jesus

    One of the earliest prophecies of Christ says,HH 88.2

    “The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
    Nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
    Until Shiloh comes;
    And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.”
    Genesis 49:10
    HH 88.3

    The people were gathering to Christ. If the priests and rabbis had not gotten in the way, His teaching would have brought about such a reformation as this world has never witnessed. But these leaders determined to break down Jesus’ influence. It would help if they could arraign Jesus before the Sanhedrin and have Him openly condemned. Whoever dared to speak against the rabbinical requirements was regarded as guilty of treason. On this ground the rabbis hoped to create suspicion of Christ as someone who was trying to overthrow established customs, in this way causing division among the people and preparing the way for the Romans to trample them down completely.HH 88.4

    After Satan had failed to overcome Christ in the wilderness, he combined his forces to oppose Christ and hinder His work. He matured his plans to blind the minds of the Jewish people so that they would not recognize their Redeemer, filling their leaders with his own hatred against the Champion of truth. He would lead them to reject Christ and to make His life as bitter as possible, hoping to discourage Him in His mission.HH 88.5

    Jesus had come to “magnify the law and make it honorable.” Isaiah 42:21. He had come to free the Sabbath from those burdensome requirements that had made it a curse instead of a blessing. For this reason, He had chosen the Sabbath for the healing at Bethesda. He could have healed the sick man on any other day or simply have cured him without telling him to carry away his bed. But He selected the worst case and told the man to carry his bed through the city to call attention to the great work done for him. This would open the way for Him to denounce the Jews’ restrictions regarding the Lord’s Day and to declare their traditions not valid.HH 88.6

    Jesus stated that the work of relieving the afflicted was in harmony with the Sabbath law. God’s angels are always ministering to suffering humanity. “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” All the days are God’s, in which to carry out His plans for the human race. If the Jews’ interpretation of the law was correct, then the One who instituted the Sabbath must bring a temporary close to His labor and stop the never-ending routine of the universe.HH 89.1

    Should God forbid the sun to perform its function on the Sabbath? Must He command the brooks to pause in their watering of fields and forests? Must wheat and corn stop growing? Must trees and flowers put forth no bud nor blossom on the Sabbath?HH 89.2

    God could not for a moment remove His hand, or mankind would faint and die. We also have work to perform on this day. The sick must be cared for and the wants of the needy be supplied. God’s holy rest day was made for us. God does not want His creatures to suffer an hour’s pain that can be relieved on the Sabbath.HH 89.3

    The Sabbath law forbids secular labor on the rest day of the Lord. The work that earns our livelihood must stop. No labor for worldly pleasure or profit is lawful on that day. But as God ended His labor of creating and rested on the Sabbath, so we are to leave the occupations of daily life and devote those sacred hours to healthful rest, worship, and holy deeds. Christ’s healing the sick honored the Sabbath.HH 89.4

    But the Pharisees were still more upset. Jesus had not only broken the law, according to their understanding, but in calling God His Father, He had declared Himself equal with God. They accused Him of blasphemy. These opponents of Christ could only refer to their customs and traditions, and these seemed weak and stale when compared to the arguments Jesus had drawn from the Word of God and the unending round of nature. But the rabbis evaded the points He made and tried to stir up anger against Him because He claimed to be equal with God. If they had not feared the people, the priests and rabbis would have killed Jesus on the spot. But popular sentiment in His favor was strong. Many justified His healing of the lame man at Bethesda.HH 89.5

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