Redemption Or The First Advent Of Christ With His Life And Ministry

Chapter 4—The Ministry of Christ

After Satan had ended his temptations, he departed from Jesus for a season, and angels prepared him food in the wilderness, and strengthened him, and the blessing of his Father rested upon him. Satan had failed in his fiercest temptations; yet he looked forward to the period of Jesus’ ministry, when he should at different times try his cunning against him. He still hoped to prevail against him by stirring up those who would not receive Jesus, to hate and seek to destroy him. Satan held a special counsel with his angels. They were disappointed and enraged that they had prevailed nothing against the Son of God. They decided that they must be more cunning, and use their power to the utmost to inspire unbelief in the minds of his own nation as to his being the Saviour of the world, and in this way discourage Jesus in his mission. No matter how exact the Jews might be in their ceremonies and sacrifices, if they could keep their eyes blinded as to the prophecies, and make them believe that it was a mighty, worldly king who was to fulfill these prophecies, they would keep their minds on the stretch for a Messiah to come. 1Red 52.1

For many years the Son of God lived unhonored, and almost unknown, in the wicked and despised city of Nazareth. This humble city was proverbial because of the wickedness of the people who resided therein. It was a humiliation to be an inhabitant of so corrupt a city. Christ commenced his mission among the hardest classes. He placed his own feet in the most uneven path which the poor, neglected, and sinful, must tread. And it will be the portion of all who live in the world to breathe an atmosphere tainted with sin. All who seek to do the will of God have to be surrounded with moral disease, and breathe a pestilential atmosphere, which will surely corrupt their faith and stain their virtue, unless counteracted by the great remedy the Redeemer has provided. He took upon himself the woes which the afflicted must suffer. He has given all an example who are desirous to imitate him, that, if they walk circumspectly, their light can shine in the darkest places, and in the most corrupt society, if God would have them thus circumstanced. The meek, unpretending life of Christ rebuked selfishness, pride of worldly wisdom, glory, riches, and honor. By making his home in humble Nazareth, Christ would be an example to his followers, that any place, and any work, dictated by duty, would be honorable, because of their own faithfulness in doing the work. 1Red 52.2

The treatment Christ received from the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees, as he commenced his public ministry, and as the attention of the people was called to him, was the exhibition of the worst passions of the human heart. Who manifested this bitter hatred? Was it the heathen? No. The very men who were foremost in the wicked jealousy, envy, and hatred, of Christ, were the scribes and elders, but more especially the chief priests, who assumed the sacred office as representatives of Christ in the priesthood. 1Red 53.1

Christ introduced his public ministry first to his own people. He went into the synagogue at Nazareth upon the Sabbath, as had been his custom. The elders [elder] read from the prophets, and exhorted the people to continue to hope and believe for the Coming One, who would bring in a glorious reign, and subdue all oppression. He sought to animate the faith and courage of the Jews, by rehearsing the evidences of Messiah's soon coming, dwelling especially upon the kingly power and glorious majesty that would attend his coming. He kept before the people the erroneous idea that the reign of Christ would be upon an earthly throne in Jerusalem, and his kingdom would be a temporal kingdom. He taught them that Messiah would appear at the head of armies, to conquer the heathen, and deliver Israel from every oppressive yoke, destroying in wrath his enemies. At the close of the service of the minister, Jesus stood up with dignity, and requested them to bring him the book of the prophet Esaias. 1Red 53.2

“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. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son? And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land. But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill (whereon their city was built), that they might cast him down headlong. But he, passing through the midst of them, went his way.” 1Red 54.1

The attention of the people was attracted to Christ. The eyes of the congregation were fastened upon him, as he stated that this prophecy was fulfilled in him. The authority, dignity, and power, attending his words, held them spell-bound. The wisdom manifested, the energy, and the impressive manner of his address, captivated the congregation, and their hearts were affected by a power they had never experienced before. They witnessed to his words by their shouts of joy, and fervent responses. Jesus stood himself the living and divine interpreter of the prophet's words in regard to himself. He made there the declaration claiming the Messiahship, which prophets had waited and longed to hear, and to see, but were brought under the dominion of death without their expectations being realized. The astonishment of the people was great. They felt a convincing power as his words fell upon their ears. Their hearts were stirred, their interest awakened. But Satan was not asleep. He was present to suggest doubts and unbelief. Many had seen Jesus in his humble, unpretending life. His home was among the poor and lowly of the earth. He was the son of a carpenter, working at the trade with his father Joseph. He had made no claims to distinction, or greatness. The Jews expected a being with power, with honor, and glory. The language of their hearts was, This cannot be the man who is to be the Redeemer of Israel. They whispered one to another, “Is not this Joseph's son? And are not his mother and brethren among us?” Has he not worked for years at the carpenter's trade? 1Red 55.1

Jesus read their thoughts, and met their questionings with the relation of the history of the prophets, the men whom God had chosen to do a special and important work. They did not labor for the salvation of an unbelieving, hard-hearted people. But those who had hearts that could feel, and faith that would grasp the evidences God was pleased to give, were the especial subjects of the power of God displayed through the faithful prophets. The words of Christ were to them a terribly severe rebuke, opening before them their corrupt lives, striking the truth home in regard to their wicked unbelief. They now scorned the faith and feeling of reverence his words at first inspired in them. They would not believe that this man, who had come in meekness and lowliness, in poverty and sorrow, was any other than a common man. They would have no one as their king unless attended by riches and splendor, and a grand and imposing army. 1Red 56.1

Their unbelief and malice increased. Satan controlled their minds, and they cried out against him with wrath and hatX1Red. Their assembly broke up, and they laid hands upon Jesus, and thrust him out of the synagogue, out of their city, and would have rid the world of his presence, had they had power so to do. All seemed eager to act a part in destroying him. They hurried him to the brow of a steep precipice, intending to cast him headlong. Their hands, they thought, were upon him. Some were crying one thing, some another. Some were casting stones and dirt at him; but suddenly he disappeared out of their midst, they knew not how, or when. Angels of God attended Jesus in the midst of that infuriated mob, and preserved his life. The heavenly messengers were by his side in the synagogue, while he was speaking; and they accompanied him when pressed and urged on by the unbelieving, infuriated Jews. These angels blinded the eyes of that maddened throng, and they conducted Jesus to a place of safety. 1Red 57.1

Christ had come first to his own favored people, to proclaim the gracious words of salvation in their ears; but they refused to listen to his words. That which stirred their malice was the meekness and plainness with which he had explained the words of the prophets concerning himself. Here was an opportunity for them to receive the great blessing which follows the reception of Christ. But they were blinded by Satan, and, in their fanatical zeal, could discover nothing in Christ, but simply the son of a carpenter. At a later period he came to Nazareth for the last time. He would give the people he loved, and whom his heart yearned to bless and save, an opportunity to redeem their past cruel conduct, and violence, toward him. The fame of his miracles, and wisdom, and power, had spread everywhere, and many of the people of Nazareth had been witnesses of his wonderful miracles. He had silenced and cast out demons, healed the sick, given sight to the blind, restored hearing to the deaf, and raised the dead to life. These evidences had been witnessed by thousands. He stood before his people in his own city, after they had had opportunity to reflect and repent of their abuse of him when he first made the public announcement that he was the Messiah. But they were no more ready to receive him, even then, than at first. They had committed themselves at the first to reject and insult him, and they retained their prejudices, and would not receive evidence, and be convinced that he was the Coming One, the Redeemer of Israel; for if they should then acknowledge him, they would condemn themselves. He came to his own nation and people, but they received him not; and ever after, their pride, which they had not controlled, was too great to accept of evidence, and admit the power of God in the mighty works performed by Christ. They rejected Christ as their Saviour, and after they had set their hearts in rebellion against him, it was not so easy for them to change their course. Notwithstanding all the mighty works they saw him do, they were too proud and self-exalted to yield their rebellious feelings. Every manifestation of his divine character increased the hatred and jealousy of the Jews. They were not content to turn from him themselves, but they sought to hinder all they could from listening to his teachings, or witnessing his miracles. The majority rejected him. They despised his humble appearance. They denied his testimony. They loved the praise of men, and the grandeur of the world. In their estimation of these things, they thought their judgment perfect, even as the judgment of God. 1Red 57.2

The whole life and teachings of Christ were lessons of humility, benevolence, virtue, and self-denial. This was a continual reproof to the self-righteous, exacting spirit manifested by the Jews. Satan led them on until they seemed to possess a frenzy at the mere mention of the wonderful works of Christ, which were drawing the attention of the people from them. They at length made themselves believe that he was an impostor, and any means they could devise to get rid of him would be a virtue in them. They could not point to one act in his life which they could condemn, yet his very goodness made him a subject of their jealousy and hate, and in their blind rage they cried out, Crucify him! crucify him! The rejection of light leaves men captives of Satan, subject to his temptations. When he controls the mind, light will become darkness to that mind, good evil, and evil good. 1Red 59.1

At the first advent of Christ, Satan knew that he had come to limit his power, and set free captives which he had bound, and his skill was especially exercised to lead the Jewish nation to believe Christ an impostor. The prophecies furnished sufficient evidence to unprejudiced minds that Christ was indeed the Son of God, the Saviour of the world. But the unbelieving Jews chose their own standard of virtue, and purity of life. They would not be taught by the Just One, and continued to perform their useless sacrifices and offerings, looking forward for a Messiah which had already come. 1Red 59.2

Our Heavenly Father designed to prove and test the professed faith and obedience of his people. The sacrifices which they performed under the law were typical of the lamb of God, and illustrated his great atonement. Yet the Jews were so blinded and deceived by Satan that when Christ came, whom their sacrifices and offerings had been prefiguring, they would not receive him. They led him as a lamb to the slaughter. 1Red 60.1

The same rebellion and hatred against Christ will be in the hearts of men at his second advent. If Christ's second coming should be in the same humble manner as was his first advent, reproving sin, and commending virtue and holiness, where there was then one voice raised, crying, Crucify him! crucify him! there would be thousands in this apostate age. Infidelity in regard to Christ's being the true Messiah, the Saviour of the world, will increase and spread to an alarming degree previous to his second coming. Satan has lost none of his skill and power which he has been exercising in past time. He can better deceive man now than at Christ's first advent. 1Red 60.2

The Son of God in this age will be as virtually despised and insulted by corrupt men who pretend to be good men, as at his first advent. Satan is now transforming himself into an angel of light, to hide the deformity of his character, and thereby he and his evil angels receive that worship from a blinded, deluded people, which belongs alone to God. Christ is trampled under foot. Virtue and holiness are despised. Evil angels whisper their low, corrupt teachings in the ears of men, and they are pleased. Their carnal minds are gratified. That which comes from Satan and hell, they make themselves believe comes from the spirits of the dead. Their consciences are seared as with a hot iron. 1Red 60.3

Satan and his angels were very busy during Christ's ministry, inspiring men with unbelief, hate, and scorn. Often when Jesus uttered some cutting truth reproving their sins, they would become enraged. Satan and his angels urged them on to take the life of the Son of God. Once they took up stones to cast at him, but angels guarded him, and bore him away from the angry multitude to a place of safety. 1Red 61.1

Satan still hoped that the great plan of salvation would fail. He exerted all his power to make the hearts of all people hard, and their feelings bitter against Jesus. He hoped that the number who would receive him as the Son of God would be so few that Jesus would consider his sufferings and sacrifices too great to make for so small a company. But if there had been but two who would have accepted Jesus as the Son of God, to believe in him to the saving of their souls, he would have carried out the plan. 1Red 61.2

Jesus commenced his work by breaking the power which Satan held over the suffering. He healed those who had suffered by his evil power. He restored the sick to health, healed the lame, and caused them to leap in the gladness of their hearts, and glorify God. He gave sight to the blind, and restored to health by his power those who had been infirm and bound by Satan's cruel power many years. The weak, the trembling, and the desponding, he comforted with gracious words. He raised the dead to life, and they glorified God for the mighty display of his power. He wrought mightily for all who believed on him. And the feeble, suffering ones whom Satan held in triumph, Jesus wrenched from his grasp, and brought to them by his divine power, soundness of body, and great joy and happiness. 1Red 61.3

The mission of Christ was marked with humility, sympathy, and love. He was ever attentive to listen to, and relieve, the woes of those who came to him. Multitudes carried the evidences of his divine power in their own persons. Yet many of them soon after the work had been accomplished, were ashamed of the humble, yet mighty, Teacher. Because the rulers did not believe on him, they were not willing to suffer with Jesus. He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. There were but few who could endure to be governed by his sober, self-denying life. They wished to enjoy the honor which the world bestows. But many followed the Son of God, and listened to his instructions, feasting on the words which fell so graciously from his lips. His words were full of meaning, yet so plain that the weakest could understand. 1Red 62.1

After the rejection of Christ in Nazareth, “he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea-coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim; that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken by Esaias, the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent; for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” 1Red 62.2

Evidences of Christ's divine power attended his ministry. He was ever touched with human woe. He was ever watching and waiting to do the works of mercy and righteousness which he came to perform. “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Christ had a work for them to do in the salvation of souls. He also saw two other young men, James and John, brethren, the sons of Zebedee, and called them to follow him. They made no excuse, but immediately left the ship, and their father, and followed him. These men Christ selected to be with him as he entered upon his public labors, to be learners while he should speak the word of eternal life to the multitudes. They were to be followers of him, that they might learn his manner of labor, and be prepared, as they witnessed his life and listened to his words, to fulfill their high commission with wisdom, patience, meekness, earnestness, and energy, copying the example of their master. These humble, unlearned men he selected to be witnesses of his miracles, and to bear a pointed testimony in the future in regard to the things which they had seen and heard, which testimony would possess a power that would move the people, and convince the understanding of those who would not steel their hearts against evidence. The testimony of these faithful disciples, especially their epistles, would be indeed needed for those of future generations who would believe on the name of Christ. 1Red 63.1

Jesus did not go to the schools of the prophets to select his disciples, nor to the wealthy and honorable of the earth; neither did he select the leaders of the Jewish people. None of these would have followed Christ with unquestioning obedience. They would have too many considerations of their own at stake, to follow the humble man of Nazareth. Their pride and lofty aspirations would incline them to make the work of salvation an entirely different thing from what Christ would make it. They would never consent to unite in so humble a mission, and, to outward observation, so unpromising an enterprise. They would seek to make the religion which they should adopt outwardly attractive, while the motives and actions of the people would remain untouched. Christ presented no inducements of worldly honor, riches, or glory. Those who followed him must do so without worldly inducements. 1Red 64.1

This was a time of general and dense moral darkness among God's professed people. The words of the prophet correctly describe their state: “This people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me; but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.” “For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes; the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he coveX1Red.” 1Red 64.2

Jesus did not select these unlearned fishermen because he was opposed to education and correct knowledge. He knew that knowledge, pure, correct, and unmixed with the precepts of men, could not be found to exist in the hearts of men instructed in the schools of the prophets, or among the teachers of that time; for darkness had covered the men of wisdom, as they had united with the spirit of the world, and were in pursuit of its honors. He chose men of humble life and simple habits, who were acquainted with privation and hardship, for such alone could accomplish the work he had for them to do as his disciples. These hearts, uncorrupted with the love of worldly riches, and not aspiring for the honors of the great and exalted of the earth, could be impressed with the beauty of truth, and inspired with the love of mercy, righteousness, justice, and true holiness. 1Red 64.3

Jesus, the majesty of Heaven, who united with the Father in the creation of the world, could himself become the instructor of men called to a holy work. He could qualify them to become fishers of men, and to be co-workers with him in the salvation of the fallen race. This knowledge would be free from corrupting error. It would come from above, not from beneath. The faith and destiny of future generations were dependent upon correct knowledge being obtained through these followers of Jesus, who were to attend him in his work and mission. These fishermen were to fulfill their commission with wisdom, perseverance, fortitude, and energy, in accordance with its magnitude. Having been instructed by the great Teacher, and guided continually by wisdom from Heaven, they would have power over the most intelligent and cultivated minds of the world. How important that their instructions be free from all superstitious customs, and precepts of men! Their knowledge should come direct from the great Source of truth. The faith and practice of the Christians of future generations were to be molded, in a great degree, by the testimony of these humble men, made mighty through the power of God. The lives and testimony of these men would be studied by the world. When Jesus called these humble men, saying, “Follow me,” they were filled with awe and amazement that he should notice them, and honor them with the privilege of being near him, and beholding his mighty works. 1Red 65.1

The words of Jesus, in his lessons of instruction as he speaks by the seaside, in the synagogues, in the fields, or upon the mountain, are clothed with a living reality. He selects figures and objects with which all are familiar, and frequently that which is seen and transacted in their sight at the very time he is speaking, to make his discourses more impressive, and that the minds of the weakest may comprehend his meaning. His illustrations are frequently drawn from nature, and are so beautiful in their simplicity that the mind becomes attracted, and with intense interest hangs upon the words of the divine Teacher. He does not aspire to words of lofty eloquence. He could command these as readily as he could the plain, simple, touching language, in which he preferred to clothe his ideas, that the common people might understand his lessons of instruction. 1Red 66.1

Jesus was acquainted with hearts. He knew that those who had advantages and ability, and who were seeking for worldly wisdom, would have no place in their hearts for the heavenly knowledge he came to impart. The knowledge obtained at the schools seldom makes men wise unto salvation, and obedient to the divine will. These attainments do not generally have an influence to increase humility, and to make men feel that they belong to God, to render back to him the talents he has lent them, with principal and interest. Scholars too often become self-sufficient and independent, and cherish exalted views of their own abilities, as though under no obligation to the Giver, to return them back with usury. God will require all that he has given them. He has made them for awhile stewards of privileges and gifts, to prove them, and to try them, whether they will love and reverence the Giver, or will make these blessings bestowed upon them prove a curse to them, by idolizing and making them the cause of withdrawing their affections from God. 1Red 66.2

Jesus will accept the intellectual who have power of influence and of talents, if they will accept the light he brings them, and follow in a course of humble obedience; but many will not do this. They do not choose the simplicity of Christ. Worldly attractions eclipse the beauty and power of the truth. Many of the worldly-wise men see nothing in Christ, that they should desire him. They behold him at his first advent as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, practicing self-denial, self-sacrifice, and humiliation. They do not discern that they have had any part in thus making the life of Christ undesirable. They do not discern that their sins have laid upon him the weight and burden which bring to him the grief he carries. They are blinded by the god of this world, and know not the things which make for their peace. Thus saith the Lord by the holy apostle: 1Red 67.1

“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 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. 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 Greeks, 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 which 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; that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption; that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” 1Red 67.2

The humble fishermen, whom God called to follow him, were the very men he could use best for the accomplishment of his work. Their habits were not conformed to the customs and fashions of the world, and they had not cherished the bigotry of the scribes and Pharisees. These men, humble though they were in the eyes of the world, were the men especially chosen by the Saviour of the world. They possessed candor of sentiment, and their conduct was marked with equity and benevolence. They had hearts that were not hardened by blind prejudice. They could, like their divine Master, feel for the woes and sorrows of others. This class he could instruct, and present ideas which would not be forgotten by them, but be preserved for the benefit of future generations. 1Red 68.1

Jesus taught the people at Capernaum in their synagogues upon several successive Sabbaths. They were astonished at his doctrine; for his lessons of instruction were given with power. Here he cast out devils with his divine power. These demons, in a most public manner, entreated him not to disturb them. Said they, What can we do to resist thy power? Has the time come now to destroy us? “I know thee, who thou art, the Holy One of God.” Demons were unable to resist the power of Christ. They surrendered to him, and in the presence of the astonished multitude, acknowledged him to be the all-powerful Son of God. The devils spoke through the mediums whom they had power to control. The ones possessed, in a most marked manner, spoke the words of the evil spirits which controlled them. These persons so peculiarly afflicted had no knowledge of Jesus. They could not of themselves understand Christ's mission to release the captives, bound by the power of Satan, and finally accomplish his work, and destroy him who exercised this power over human beings, and who had the power of death. The demons understood this far better than the scribes and elders, with all their learning and knowledge obtained in the schools of the prophets. They did not receive Christ, nor see anything desirable in him or his kingdom. The multitude listened with amazement to the words of command from Christ, silencing the demons, that they should not make him known, as he delivered the suffering subjects bound by their power. The people said among themselves, “What a word is this? for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out. And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.” 1Red 69.1

Christ performed a miracle upon Simon Peter's wife's mother, rebuking the raging fever, and it immediately left her, and she rose from her bed of suffering, magnifying the Lord for his mercies. She then prepared food for Christ and his disciples; for they were weary and hungry. Thus she ministered unto those who had ministered unto her. Those who had afflicted and diseased ones, brought them to Christ, and he had pity on them all. He healed them of their divers diseases, by laying his hands upon them. Those who had been possessed of demons were delivered by his divine power. As the devils were cast out, they made great outcries, declaring, “Thou art Christ, the Son of God.” While his own people refused to know him, and rejected him, demons knew him, and yielded to his authority. Many who were brought to him by others, because they could not come themselves, were restored, and walked away to their own homes, to publish to the care-worn watchers, relatives, and friends, the great work which had been wrought for them by the power of Jesus. Physicians could find but little work to do in the cities. Those who had suffered many things of many physicians, and had not been made any better, but rather worse, applied to Christ, the great Physician, and were perfectly restored in a moment of time. 1Red 70.1

After the toil and burdens of the day had reached far into the night, Jesus sought a season of repose. But his rest was short. Long before day, he arose and went into a solitary place to pray to his Father. His fervent petition was borne upon the air to the ears of Simon and others who had been searching for him. Guided by the voice of the earnest petitioner, they found his place of devotional retreat, and related to Jesus that there was the greatest anxiety among the people to be with him, and listen to his words, and continue to experience his power in curing their sick and delivering those who were oppressed by Satan. Simon expressed the earnestness of the people: “All men seek for thee.” Not only the poor and afflicted, but those who had wealth, and who were the honored of the earth, sought Christ. They entreated Jesus to remain with them, and in no case to leave them. But he informed them that he had the same work of mercy and love to perform in other towns and cities. For this purpose he had come into the world. He could not abide with them; for in thus doing, others would be deprived of his ministry. 1Red 71.1

Christ preached in their synagogues throughout Galilee, healing the sick, casting out devils, comforting the afflicted, and relieving the despairing. While many, bearing their burdens of those diseased, were pressing through the multitude, to Christ, for him to heal them, there was an unusual commotion among the people. The pressing multitude gave way, falling back. A leper, who was a most loathsome spectacle, was making his way to Christ. Some thought to turn him back from approaching Jesus, as they feared that the people might become infected. But he was as one who neither saw them, nor heard them. The expressions of loathing that came from many lips, did not move him nor turn him from his course. He had but one object in view. His eye saw only the divine Son of God. His ear heard nothing but the voice that was speaking health and happiness to the unfortunate and suffering. As he came into the presence of Jesus, his pent-up feelings, which had been of hopeless despair and agony, now found vent, as a ray of hope lighted up his terrible darkness. He wailed out to Christ his beseeching cry for pity and mercy. He had been loathed and shunned by his fellow-mortals. He had been separated from his family, and was mourned for by them as one far worse than dead. His case had been pronounced incurable. In the greatest humility, he prostrated his consuming, dying, and yet living, breathing, body at the feet of the only One who could save him. His earnest cry to Christ was, If thou wilt, thou canst save me—even me, corrupted and loathsome as I am. Thou canst make me clean. “And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.” The eager multitude now lose their terror, and again venture to draw nigh to Jesus, to behold this new and wonderful manifestation of his power. But Jesus had no sooner spoken the word of life-giving power, than the half-dead body of putrefaction was changed to healthy flesh, sensitive nerves, and firm muscle. The people witnessed this transformation with speechless amazement and awe. 1Red 71.2

Jesus charged the cleansed leper not to make known the work he had wrought for him, saying, “See thou say nothing to any man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.” Accordingly the now happy man went to the same priests who had previously examined him, and whose decision had banished him from his family and friends. 1Red 73.1

Joyfully he presented his offering to the priests, and magnified the name of him who had restored him to health. This irrefutable testimony convinced the priests of the divine power of Jesus, although they still refused to acknowledge him as the Messiah. The Pharisees had asserted that his teachings were directly opposed to the law of Moses, and for the purpose of exalting himself; yet his special directions to the cleansed leper to make an offering to the priest, according to the law of Moses, evidenced to the people that these accusations were false. 1Red 73.2