Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 31a, 1898

“His Own Received Him Not”


March 7, 1898

Formerly Undated Ms 124. Portions of this manuscript are published in UL 80; CC 34; 12MR 307. +Note

“At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.” [Matthew 12:1.] 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 1

The word here translated corn means wheat. The disciples rubbed the wheat in their hands, and ate the kernels. But the Pharisees were continually on Christ’s track; for the enemy was working through them to counteract Christ’s work of healing the sick and preaching the gospel to the poor. “When the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, Thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungered, and they that were with him: how he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests, or have ye not read in the law how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?” [Verses 2-5.] 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 2

Then Christ referred to His own prerogative. “But I say unto you,” He said, “That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.” [Verses 6-8.] 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 3

“And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue and, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered.” [Verses 9, 10.] This man had come to the synagogue hoping to receive the great blessing of healing. This the Pharisees knew, and they felt sure that Christ meant to heal him. They determined to let Him know their mind on the matter. They asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day? That they might accuse him.” [Verse 10.] 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 4

“And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into the pit on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?” This it was the practice to do, and that very morning they had performed this act. “How much then is a man better than a sheep,” Christ continued. “Therefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath day.” [Verses 11, 12.] 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 5

“Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand.” [Verse 13.] By faith the man was to do this, and as he made the effort to move his useless hand, virtue from Christ gave vitality to the nerves and sinews and muscles, and the hand was perfectly restored. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 6

Full of faith in the great Healer, the man became His disciple. And many others, as they beheld the work of restoration, gave glory to God. But did this evidence, added to the multitude of evidences already given, cure the Pharisees of their prejudice and unbelief? No; rather than that this work of healing should have been done before the people, they would have had the afflicted man carry about his helpless arm. With what grief Christ looked upon these leaders of the people. They were professedly in advance of all others on the face of the earth, yet they were continually interposing between God and the people. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 7

Then the Pharisees went out, and held a counsel against Him, “how they might destroy him,” because He was the Restorer of human maladies. [Verse 14.] When Jesus knew their purpose, He withdrew Himself from them, and great multitudes followed them, and He healed them all; and charged them that they should not make Him known. He was desirous of continuing His work of healing, and relieving those who were under the cruel power of Satan. He knew that He alone could break that power. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 8

In Luke we read of Christ, “It came to pass in those days that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” [Luke 6:12.] Men of the world often spend whole nights planning, in order to secure success, and Jesus spent many nights in prayer. He was along with His Father, earnestly seeking the Lord with strong crying and tears. He seemed to be in an agony of distress. Why was this? He had come to his vineyard to claim His own, but he was rejected, abused. <The people to whom He came were even then laying plans to crucify Him.> He was more and more hardly beset by satanic agencies. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 9

The resistance shown by the priests and rulers to His work corresponded to the convincing evidences of His divinity. They were jealous of Him because He possessed a power that drew the people to Him. His tongue was like the pen of a ready writer. He was the very treasure house of knowledge, and His parables and illustrations made the truth plain to the unlearned. Under His teaching those who could not learn the truth from books could learn it from nature. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 10

But those who had been entrusted with the oracles of God, that they might be faithful expositors of the Scriptures, rejected and denied the Teacher sent from heaven. Christ saw that their spirit and principles were entirely contrary to the Scriptures. He saw that the Word of God was misinterpreted and misapplied. He saw how difficult it would be to instruct the people to read the Scriptures correctly, when their teachers read them in the light of their perverted judgment. What could He do to soften and subdue their hearts? This was the burden of His prayer. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 11

The Jewish people might have repented if they would, but they were clothed with the garments of their own self-righteousness. They claimed to be the descendants of Abraham, and looked upon every promise made to Israel as theirs. But the Israel of God are those who are converted, not those who are the lineal descendants of Abraham. “What advantage then hath the Jews? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” “For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew which is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” [Romans 3:1, 2; 2:28, 29.] 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 12

The priests and rulers gloried in their exalted privileges, till they became proud and arrogant. In word and action, by their numerous forms and ceremonies, they said, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord are we. But they were separating themselves from God, loading the cloud of retribution soon to break over them. Christ declared of them, “For my love they are my adversaries. ... Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise. For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me; they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. They compassed me about also with words of hatred, and fought against me without a cause. ... And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.” [Psalm 109:4, 1-3, 5.] 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 13

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,” Christ cried as He stood on Mount Olivet, and looked down over the city, “Thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.” [Matthew 23:37.] It was this generation, then acting its part under the guidance of Satan, that was guilty of the murder of the Son of God. A solemn responsibility rested upon the Jewish people when Christ was among them; but the wisdom of His appeals could not reach their hard, impenitent hearts. “Ye would not come unto me that ye might have life,” He declared. [John 5:40.] “Ye would none of my counsel: ye despised all my reproof. If thou art destroyed, thou thyself art responsible.” 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 14

Christ’s heart was wrung with intense anguish as He realized the outcome of the course of action pursued by the Jewish action. He saw those who should have cooperated with Him in His work refusing God and His Son, and accepting Satan. He heard the tramp, tramp of the assailing armies. He heard the plans laid by the enemies of the Jews. With prophetic eye He saw the flames bursting from the beautiful temple, in which the people had worshiped while they refused its Maker. He saw the city laid level with the ground, and the ploughshare going deep [into] its ruins. He saw the unhappy people, Israelites only in name, scattered in every land. He saw them flowing to every nation, but citizens of none; and he cried out in sorrow, How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? He did not want to give them up to their own perverse way. But the warnings and entreaties of the prophets, and the work of the great Teacher, were in vain. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 15

“Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.” [Matthew 12:22.] This was Christ’s work; and had the people of Jerusalem received the truth He brought, what a great missionary center their city would have been. Backslidden Israel would have been converted. A vast army would have been gathered for the Lord. But the leaders of the people refused to assimilate with Christ. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 16

The Saviour had received His commission from heaven to speak to those who would hear, and to help those who would be helped. But His work was made exceedingly hard by the priests and rulers. They would not cooperate with Him in His work of relieving the afflicted. They would not cease their bitter opposition to Him who was doing this great and wonderful work. When the man possessed with an evil spirit was healed the people were amazed, and said, “Is not this the Son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils but by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils.” [Verses 23, 24.] 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 17

“And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods except he first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” [Verses 25-30.] 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 18

“Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” [Verses 31-36.] 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 19

In 1898 we have the same difficulties to encounter that our Saviour encountered. When in His own way and by His own instruments the Lord gives a message to His people, and to the world, there are those who see that this message is in advance of their views, or contrary to that which they have been teaching. These offer all the opposition in their power to God’s message. So it was in Christ’s day. By His miracle-working, He showed that He was from God. Again and again He demonstrated His power by works of mercy. At His word suffering of every kind and degree was relieved. But the priests would not believe the evidence of what they did not wish to be true. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 20

Christ showed no respect to their views in regard to the observance of the Sabbath. He plainly stated that the object of the law was not to oppress but to bless all who were obedient to its requirements. But pride, obstinacy, jealousy, rose in the hearts of the priests, because the people were learning to love Christ’s teaching. They cherished a spirit more satanic than divine. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 21

In this our time we find the priests and rulers no more inclined to study carefully and candidly whether there are not truths they ought to know than were the priests and rulers who opposed Christ. The Lord may give success to His messengers as they bear the message He has given them; but if the truth made known is not in harmony with the ideas of false religious teachers, they seem to think that they are being injured. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 22

Those who lived before the flood were only a few steps from God, the Creator of the world and its inhabitants. The long life and large intellect given to these men might have been used in God’s service. But their intellectual strength, that mighty power, was perverted to dishonor God. God looked upon them as they disregarded the law given when the foundations of the earth were laid. He saw that they were being used by the great apostate to do battle against good. He saw wickedness and pride budding and blossoming. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 23

In that age of almost perfect physical health, men forgot their God. Those who could do cunning work, who could have become more and more capable of acquiring tact and ingenuity, perverted their talents. Their God-given powers ripened into wickedness and all kinds of selfish gratification. The imagination of the heart was only evil and that continually. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 24

There was violence in the land. The people advanced in crime as they advanced in knowledge, and grew in wickedness as they grew in intellectual cultivation. The belief was cherished that man would never die, or at least would live a thousand years. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 25

Man’s wickedness made the race offensive to God. He would not leave them to hand their sins to their posterity. “God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt: for all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come up before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them, and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” [Genesis 6:12, 13.] 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 26

When men separate from God, they place themselves under the control of Satan. Talents have been given to men that they may be used in God’s service. From the day that Noah’s family came out of the ark, these talents have been accumulating. There is only one safe way for any man, and that is the way of obedience to a “Thus saith the Lord.” 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 27

“The Poor Have the Gospel Preached Unto Them.”

“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias, and when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” [Luke 4:16-19.] 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 28

This is a wonderful description of Christ’s work. The Pharisees and Sadducees despised the poor. Learned and rich neglected them, as though their riches and learning made them of more value than those who were poor. But Jesus declared that it was His work to give encouragement and comfort and help where it was most needed. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 29

The rich and learned exalted themselves above those who came to Jesus that they might be saved. But the Word of God declares, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness: but unto us which are saved it is the power of God; for it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 30

“For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greek, Christ, the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty, and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.” [1 Corinthians 1:18-28.] 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 31

The poor need comfort and sympathy, for there are those who without a helping hand will never recover themselves. Christ came to this world, not to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. He is the great Physician. He knew that by works of healing He could best reach the sick and the afflicted. He knew this would draw the people to Him, and by being cured of physical suffering, many would be saved to eternal life. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 32

“When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper, and worshiped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him, see thou tell no man; but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.” [Matthew 8:1-4.] The leper was to comply with the conditions specified, that a testimony might be borne to the priests. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 33

In Luke is recorded another instance of the Saviour’s power. “A certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this, for he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.” [Luke 7:2-5.] 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 34

Christ did not need this urging, He was ever ready and willing to give relief. He went with them, “and when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends unto him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: ... but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.” “When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.” [Verses 6, 7, 9, 10.] 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 35

Christ came to our world to teach all who believe in him the way in which to work. It is not to be in vain that God has given the Bible to the world. The disciples were to begin their work by publishing the great truths of Christianity in the metropolis of Palestine. From Jerusalem they were to go to all parts of the world. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 36

As Christ sent His disciples forth, He gave them their commission. “When he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” [Matthew 10:1.] This is just as verily a part of the work of those who proclaim the gospel message as is ministering to the spiritual needs of the being. Christ’s messengers are to act in His stead in behalf of their fellow men. In this age of the world, when Satan is stirred by a power from beneath to work with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, the Saviour is waiting to cooperate with His servants. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 37

Christ met with the greatest success among the poor. Thus every human being, learned and unlearned, may find abundance to do. In doing this work they will fulfil their commission. This is the highest credential of the gospel ministry. If the gospel had been of men, it would have been popular with the rich and mighty. But it pours contempt upon human greatness, and calls upon all who accept it to work the works of Christ, helping those who are destitute, despised, forsaken, afflicted. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 38

For reasons which we cannot explain, the feet of many have been led in false paths through the influence of others. They have not been educated to cherish a true sense of their accountability to God. It may be because father and mother were irreligious. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 39

Those who take hold of the work for the love of Christ and the love of souls, <labor in Christ’s lines.> The world is a lazar house of disease, but Christ came to heal the sick, to comfort the brokenhearted, to proclaim deliverance to the captives, to give sight to the blind. The gospel is the very essence of restoration, and Christ would have us bid the brokenhearted, the hopeless, and the afflicted take hold of His strength, for the acceptable year of the Lord is come. 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 40

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference, and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.” [Jude 20-25.] 13LtMs, Ms 31a, 1898, par. 41