Humble Hero


Not With Outward Show

This chapter is based on Luke 17:20-22.

More than three years had passed since John the Baptist gave the message, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Matthew 3:2. Many of those who rejected John and had opposed Jesus at every step were suggesting that His mission had failed. HH 234.1

Jesus answered, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation [“things that can be observed,” NRSV], nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” The kingdom of God begins in the heart. Do not expect earthly power to mark its coming. HH 234.2

“The days will come,” Jesus said, turning to His disciples, “when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.” You do not realize what a great privilege is now yours in having among you the One who is the Life and Light of humanity. You will look back with longing on the opportunities you now enjoy to walk and talk with the Son of God. HH 234.3

Not until after Christ’s ascension and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit did the disciples fully appreciate the Savior’s character and mission. They began to realize that they had been in the very presence of the Lord of glory. See John 1:14. Their minds were opened to comprehend the prophecies and to understand the miracles He had performed. They were like people awakened from a dream. The disciples never tired of going over Christ’s words and works. His lessons now came as a fresh revelation. The Scriptures became a new book to them. HH 234.4

As the disciples searched the prophecies that testified about Christ, they came into fellowship with the Deity. They learned from Him who had ascended to heaven to complete the work He had begun on earth. With amazement they reread the prophetic descriptions of His character and work. How dimly had they understood the prophetic scriptures! Looking on Him as He walked as a Man among them, they had not understood the mystery of His incarnation. They did not fully recognize divinity in humanity. But after the Holy Spirit shed light into their minds, how they longed to see Him again! And how they wished they could have Him explain the Scriptures that they could not comprehend! What had Christ meant when He said, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now”? John 16:12. They grieved that their faith had been so feeble, that they had so failed of comprehending the reality. HH 234.5

The wonderful Person whom John had announced had been among them for more than thirty years, and they had not really known Him as the One sent from God. The disciples had allowed the prevailing unbelief to cloud their understanding. They often repeated His conversations and said, “Why did we allow the opposition of the priests and rabbis to confuse our senses so that we did not comprehend that Someone greater than Moses was among us, that One wiser than Solomon was instructing us? How dull were our ears!” HH 235.1

When they were brought before councils and put into prison, the followers of Christ rejoiced “that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” Acts 5:41. They recognized the glory of Christ, and they chose to follow Him even if it meant losing all things. HH 235.2

The kingdom of God does not come with outward show. The gospel, with its spirit of self-denial, can never be in harmony with the spirit of the world. But today many people want to make our Lord the ruler of the kingdoms of this world, the ruler in its courts, legislative halls, palaces, and marketplaces. They expect Him to rule through legal enactments, enforced by human authority. Since Christ is not here in person now, they themselves will act in His place. Such a kingdom is what the Jews wanted in the days of Christ. But He said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” John 18:36. HH 235.3

The government under which Jesus lived was corrupt and oppressive. Everywhere were terrible abuses—extortion, intolerance, and grinding cruelty. Yet the Savior attempted no civil reforms, attacked no national abuses, nor condemned the national enemies. He did not interfere with the authority of those in power. He who was our example kept His distance from earthly governments, not because He was indifferent to human woe, but because the remedy did not lie in merely human and external measures. The cure must regenerate the heart. HH 235.4

The kingdom of Christ is not established by courts, councils, or legislative assemblies but by implanting Christ’s nature in humanity through the work of the Holy Spirit. Here is the only power that can elevate mankind. And the human agency to accomplish this work is the teaching and practicing of the Word of God. HH 235.5

Now, as in Christ’s day, the work of God’s kingdom does not lie with those who clamor for recognition and support from earthly rulers and human laws. Rather, it lies with those who declare to the people in Christ’s name the spiritual truths that produce in the receivers the experience of Paul: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20. HH 235.6