Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)


Ms 53, 1900

The Simplicity of Christ’s Teaching


April 3, 1900

This manuscript is published in entirety in 16MR 97-99.

The simplicity of Christ’s teaching was in harmony with the whole purpose and work of His earthly mission. 15LtMs, Ms 53, 1900, par. 1

He came to draw all men unto Himself. He desired to uplift them from their earthliness and sensuality. And in order to accomplish this, He Himself came near to the fallen race. 15LtMs, Ms 53, 1900, par. 2

For thousands of years man had been in thraldom to a degenerating power. Satan had perverted their conceptions of God and of the plan and work of salvation. He had brought their minds so fully under his control that every heavenly attribute had been well nigh destroyed. Of himself man had not one thought or impulse of a spiritual nature. He could do nothing to save himself. Only as Christ should draw him could he take one step in repentance or reform. 15LtMs, Ms 53, 1900, par. 3

It was necessary that men should be brought to see this. They must look to Christ as their helper. Then He could free them from Satan’s control. He could impart to them those attributes of character which had been lost through sin. His grace would enable them to regain Eden. 15LtMs, Ms 53, 1900, par. 4

The Truth, the Life, and the Light of the world was to find a place in the hearts of men. For this, Christ clothed His divinity with humanity. This was the only means by which He could reach humanity. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” [John 1:14.] Christ became one with the human family. He spoke in the language of man. He bore with them their trials and their poverty. He ate with them at their tables, and shared their toils. Thus He assured them of His complete identification with humanity. 15LtMs, Ms 53, 1900, par. 5

It was necessary that He should do all this. Though He came in human form, His wonderful works and the mystery of His character inspired the people with awe, and tended to shut them away from Him. But by Himself coming in close contact and sympathy with men, Christ broke down the barriers. 15LtMs, Ms 53, 1900, par. 6

In His teachings, Christ did not conform to the practices of the great men of the world or of the divinity teachers. Their teachings made dark and intricate that which was plain. They made a show of possessing great knowledge, knowledge which the common people could not comprehend. But their wisdom was foolishness. Christ’s knowledge was great, His wisdom deep; but it was without pretense. It found expression in words beautiful with the grace of simplicity, yet clothed with dignity and power. 15LtMs, Ms 53, 1900, par. 7

Christ, the Author of truth, did not disdain to present truths that were old and familiar. The great purpose of His mission was ever kept in view. When this purpose could be served by the repetition of familiar truths, He employed them. By unsanctified minds, many of these truths had been disconnected from their true position and had been employed to strengthen error. Christ recovered and replaced them as links in the great chain of redemption. 15LtMs, Ms 53, 1900, par. 8

Many precious gems of light had lost their lustre; they were buried beneath a mass of tradition and superstition. As the Author of truth Christ was able to distinguish every precious gem. His hand removed the rubbish of false teaching and recovered the lost treasures. In all their original freshness and beauty, He set them in the framework of the gospel, and commanded that they should stand fast forever. In His teaching, Christ reached the minds of men by the path way of their familiar associations. He linked His lessons with their most hallowed recollections and their tenderest sympathies. His illustrations were drawn from the great book of nature, from the life experience of His hearers, from the treasury of household ties and affections. The simple lily of the field in its freshness and beauty was presented in the lessons of the great Master Artist. With the common duties of life He bound up the most precious treasures of divine truth. The regenerating power of His grace is represented by figures which all could comprehend. Thus He made truth and life a part of the daily appointments. Everything connected with the common routine of life was invested with a solemn dignity and shown to be related to eternal interests. 15LtMs, Ms 53, 1900, par. 9

Christ taught the people that all true knowledge is divine, and that, acted upon, it would lead them heavenward. In all His teachings there was suggested to His hearers a new train of thought, in harmony with the transforming principles of truth. By meeting the people where they were, He was able to carry them with Him to a higher plane of thought and life. Their hearts were prepared to receive the rays of light from the great Light of the world. 15LtMs, Ms 53, 1900, par. 10

Though Christ had taken upon Himself human nature, yet His divinity flashed through humanity. In all His education and discipline His superiority was revealed. In their simplicity the lessons which fell from His lips possessed a power and attractiveness which none of the world’s great men could equal. “The common people heard him gladly,” and the testimony borne to His teaching was, “Never man spake like this man.” [Mark 12:37; John 7:46.] 15LtMs, Ms 53, 1900, par. 11