Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Ms 55, 1894

Sending Out Workers


December 10, 1894

Previously unpublished.

“After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest. Go your ways: behold I send you forth as lambs among wolves.” [Luke 10:1-3.] 9LtMs, Ms 55, 1894, par. 1

When Jesus sent out the twelve previous to the sending out of the seventy, their mission differed somewhat in character to that of the mission of the seventy. They were sent out two and two, “not into the way of the Gentiles,” or “into any city of the Samaritans,” but they were commanded to “Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” [Matthew 10:5, 6.] But when Christ appointed the seventy, He sent them “into every city and place, whither he himself would come.” [Luke 10:1.] He gave them directions similar to that which He had given to the twelve, but the seventy were sent into Samaria, into the regions where He had formerly forbidden His disciples to go. In His charge to the seventy Christ acted upon the principle that he announced in these words, “He that receiveth you receiveth me.” “He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.” [Matthew 10:40; Luke 10:16.] 9LtMs, Ms 55, 1894, par. 2

They were to preach along the same lines to the Samaritans as Christ had preached, presenting the message of truth in all cities and places whither Christ Himself would come. Christ had journeyed from Jerusalem because of the bitter opposition that was manifested against the truth which He had spoken to the Pharisees. They had been greatly offended at Him and had taken up stones to cast upon Him. But though He had departed from Jerusalem, He now steadfastly set His face to return. He was finishing His public ministry, journeying slowly from place to place, and taking a circuitous route by which He might pass through many villages. He knew that persecution, denial, rejection, condemnation, and death of a most cruel character awaited Him. But He also knew that this path was marked out for Him by His Father and He would not for a moment yield to the temptation to change His course and save Himself. 9LtMs, Ms 55, 1894, par. 3

Satan made a most determined effort to assail the Son of God to influence Him to avoid the terrible future; but He knew from whence these temptations came and He refused to listen to the enemy’s suggestions. He set His face determinedly to go to Jerusalem, and He would not be turned aside. On every hand He saw the poor sheep without a shepherd, and the enemy suggested that it would be better for Him to wait, that He could alleviate much distress and woe by avoiding the path of pain. There was much that He could do to stay the tide of evil. He groaned in spirit as He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of harvest that he would send forth laborers into the harvest.” [Verse 2.] 9LtMs, Ms 55, 1894, par. 4

What yearning compassion pressed His soul as He saw the needs of the people. Darkness covered the earth and gross darkness the people. But when the Samaritans were assured that Christ had set His face steadfastly to go to Jerusalem, they were offended. They refused the Majesty of heaven, jealous that He should pass by their temple of worship, and go to the feast at Jerusalem. The Samaritans refused to be helped physically on account of bitter religious prejudice. 9LtMs, Ms 55, 1894, par. 5

The Jews and the Samaritans were at bitter enmity one with another, and the fact that Christ would not go up to Mount Gerizim stirred up their feelings of hatred, and they refused to entertain Him. In their treatment of Christ and His disciples they violated the Oriental custom of showing courtesy to travelers. They knew something of Jesus. Many had heard of Him. If they had received Him as an honored guest, they would have been largely rewarded, for He bestowed blessings wherever He went. For every grace manifested toward Him in favor and courtesy, He requited a more precious and valuable grace. He gave the people light, and rich blessings, and made them co-laborers with Himself; but the precious gifts bestowed by the world’s Redeemer wherever He went were lost to the Samaritans on account of the bitter spirit that controlled them. 9LtMs, Ms 55, 1894, par. 6

The disciples were much offended at the disrespect shown to their Lord. They asked, “Wilt thou that we call down fire from heaven and consume them, as did Elijah?” But Jesus rebuked their indignation, and said, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.” “The Son of man came not to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” [Luke 9:54-56.] How effectually this lesson rebukes the spirit of persecution. Professed Christians who would proscribe the faith of others have no authority in sacred record for seeking to force the conscience of anyone. Those who are imbued with the Spirit of Christ will be kind to their enemies even as was Christ. 9LtMs, Ms 55, 1894, par. 7

No more forceable evidence can be produced that a man possesses the spirit of Cain than the indulgence and manifestation of that spirit. Cain destroyed Abel because his actions were contrary to his own ideas; but the Lord came not to destroy but to save. It was no new thing that Christ was repulsed. Even now He neared the completion of His great work in fulfilling all righteousness, for His face was set steadfastly to go to Jerusalem, and He was urging His way against entreaty and remonstrance. 9LtMs, Ms 55, 1894, par. 8

The spirit that animated the Samaritans is the same spirit that is found today in the religious world. But religious bigotry today is a greater offence in the sight of God than it was in the days of the Samaritans, because the light shining forth in the character of Christ is greater now than it was before His death, resurrection, and ascension. Any harm done to human agents by their fellow men is registered in the books of heaven as though done unto Christ Himself. Oppression and persecution is as offensive to God in this age as it was in the time when Christ spoke from the pillar of cloud, or as when He spoke as a man when clothing His divinity with humanity. 9LtMs, Ms 55, 1894, par. 9

The lesson which Christ gave to His disciples in regard to their treatment of the uncourteous Samaritans is a lesson that every one who desires that God’s judgments should fall upon the disobedient, should take home to themselves. We are not to show disrespect one to another by either word or manner. The human agent is not to indulge in the spirit of revenge, he is not to desire that retribution shall fall upon one who dishonors the truth and the Author of truth. 9LtMs, Ms 55, 1894, par. 10

Christ’s disciples were indignant because the Samaritans did not courteously respect the request of Jesus. Knowing Jesus so well themselves, they thought the Samaritans ought to think themselves highly honored in having the opportunity of entertaining the Messiah. The seventy were to plainly state the character of their guest. Oh, how much [we need] to learn the meekness and lowliness of Christ! He is our example in all things. Jesus came to represent the character of God, and if He had admitted that a vindictive spirit was proper upon such an occasion, He would not have left a true representation of the divine character. 9LtMs, Ms 55, 1894, par. 11

Those who follow Christ whithersoever He goeth will be doers of His word. He came to restore, to save. His heart is ever touched with human woe and He enjoined upon man the duty of respecting his brother man who was formed in the image of God. The human family is the Lord’s property by creation and redemption and anyone who abuses his position or his power by oppressing his fellow men under any circumstances will have to render an account to God and meet his actions as done to Christ in the person of him whom he has oppressed. Christ identifies His interest with those of the suffering, the hungry, the naked, the imprisoned. He has paid the ransom for man in the price of His own blood. 9LtMs, Ms 55, 1894, par. 12