Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 19 (1904)


Ms 26, 1904

Persecution Not to Be Needlessly Encountered


March 11, 1904 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in LDE 151-152. +Note

“After these things, Jesus walked in Galilee: for He could not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill Him. 19LtMs, Ms 26, 1904, par. 1

“Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brethren therefore said unto Him, Depart hence, and go into Judea, that Thy disciples also may see the works that Thou doest. For there is no man that doeth anything in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If Thou do these things, show Thyself to the world. For neither did His brethren believe in Him.” [John 7:1-5.] 19LtMs, Ms 26, 1904, par. 2

Christ’s brethren had been closely associated with Him from childhood. But they had not regarded this association as a great privilege. Instead of being blessed and benefited by beholding His blameless life, they had imbibed the sentiments of unbelief. Their words reveal their darkened comprehension. Had they believed in the divine mission of Jesus, they would not have spoken such words. Neither love nor reverence is seen in their attitude to Him. 19LtMs, Ms 26, 1904, par. 3

Jesus answered His brethren, “My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you; but Me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.” [Verses 6, 7.] Those who receive the spirit of the world and share its unbelief will receive no opposition from the world. 19LtMs, Ms 26, 1904, par. 4

Jesus refrained from taking a course that would bring such a crisis in His life as to cut short His lifework. The opposition of the priests and rulers at Jerusalem had driven the mighty Healer from their midst. He restricted, for a time, His labors to Galilee. Often He left one field of labor for another in order to escape from those who were seeking His life. When He was rejected at Nazareth, and His own townsmen tried to kill Him, He went down to Capernaum, where the people were astonished at His teaching, “for His word was with power.” [Luke 4:32.] He did not, by rushing into danger, hasten a crisis. He knew that He was to receive the world’s hatred; He knew that His work would result in His death; but prematurely to expose Himself would not be the will of His Father. 19LtMs, Ms 26, 1904, par. 5

From this we are to learn a lesson. As time goes by we shall have to encounter an opposition that will become more and more intense. As enmity is aroused in various places against those who observe the Sabbath of the Lord, it may become necessary for God’s people to move from the places to places where they will not be so bitterly opposed. God does not require His children to remain where, by the course of wicked men, their influence is made of no effect and their lives endangered. When liberty and life are imperiled, it is not merely our privilege, it is our positive duty to go to places where the people are willing to hear the word of life and where the opportunities for preaching the Word will be more favorable. 19LtMs, Ms 26, 1904, par. 6

There is a large field in which to labor for the salvation of souls; and unless loyalty to God requires it, His servants are not to imperil their lives. They are not to be discouraged by persecution; but when their work is hedged up in one place, they are to seek a place where they can continue to labor for the salvation of souls, where there are people whose hearts have not, by unbelief, been hardened against the truth. Christ moved quietly from one place to another, traveling on foot. He knew that some of those who heard His words would gladly receive the truths He taught. After His ascension, many who, during His ministry, had listened to His words openly acknowledged their belief in Him as the Son of God. 19LtMs, Ms 26, 1904, par. 7