Ms 23, 1898

1898

Ms 23, 1898

The Character of God Revealed In Christ

NP

February 23, 1898

Previously unpublished.

“And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death until he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all the people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of my people Israel.” [Luke 2:25-32.] Ms23-1898.1

“And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. ... And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” [Verses 40, 52.] Ms23-1898.2

“I am come.” [John 10:10.] These were important words indeed. The work Christ came to do was to heal. He was a missionary in every sense of the word. In His parable of the good Shepherd, He showed the relation in which He stands to the human family: Ms23-1898.3

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth: and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” [Verses 1-5.] Ms23-1898.4

The priests and rulers who were expositors of the Old Testament Scriptures understood the words of Christ. The figure used had a significance to all the people. Sheep were often used as a symbol of the people of God. Through Ezekiel God had said, “For thus saith the Lord God; behold, I even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered: so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and bring them to their own land, and feed them by the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be; there shall they lie in a good fold: and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. Ms23-1898.5

“I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong: I will feed them with judgment. And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord God; behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats. Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but you must tread down with you feet the residue of your pastures feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet? And as for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet.” [Ezekiel 34:11-19.] Ms23-1898.6

And the prophet Zechariah says, “And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people. And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the Lord. And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prized at of them, And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them unto the potter in the house of the Lord. Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel. Ms23-1898.7

“And the Lord said unto me, Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd: for, lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, which shall not visit those that be cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that that is broken, nor feed that that standeth still: but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces. Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.” [Zechariah 11:10-17.] Ms23-1898.8

Those who should have acted as shepherd of the people, those who should have been a blessing to the needy and helpless and those who needed comfort and sympathy and tender regard, did not give them that which they so much needed. The Jewish rulers had not the fear and love of God. Many of them had no true commission for their work. The universe of heaven saw how strangely neglected was the work, and the seal of heaven was not placed upon it. The priests and rulers assumed to be ministers, but they did not minister to the ones who needed their assistance. Ms23-1898.9

Said Christ, “He that entereth not in by the door of the sheep fold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” [John 10:1.] “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me, if any man enter in he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: but I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. Ms23-1898.10

“The hireling fleeth because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep: and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall bear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” [Verses 7-18.] Ms23-1898.11

Jesus always disclaimed independence. He came not to do His own will, but the will of Him that sent Him. “I came down from heaven,” He said, “not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me.” [John 6:38.] “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me he doeth the works. Believe me that that I am in the Father and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works sake.” [John 14:10, 11.] Ms23-1898.12

“Behold my servant, whom I uphold: mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment unto the Gentiles. He shall not cry nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. Ms23-1898.13

“Thus saith God the Lord, He that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread the earth and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant to the people: for a light to the Gentiles; to open blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house: I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” [Isaiah 42:1-8.] Ms23-1898.14

This is the work of Christ in our world. God manifest in the flesh specifies His mission, and He waited and worked and moved in dependence upon God. He was Commander of all heaven, yet He humbled Himself to stand at the head of humanity, to reveal in humanity a perfect obedience to all God’s commandments. Ms23-1898.15

“Think not” He said “that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets, I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law until all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven”—called the least by the heavenly angels. Whatever his learning, his wealth, his position, the record of heaven estimates him as the least of all God’s creatures. “But whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:17-19.] This will be the decision made in the heavenly courts. The humble and obedient are estimated as higher than the most exalted, the most wealthy, the most honored, of men on earth. Ms23-1898.16

Christ waited and lived and moved in dependence upon God. In His actions He was one with the Father. His plans were devised before the foundation of the world in council with the Father. In everything He moved in perfect harmony with God. In response to the words of Philip, “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father: and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” [John 14:8-10.] Ms23-1898.17

The evangelist John withdraws the curtain aside, as it were, and as a consecrated priest enters into the holy of holies, opening to us the sacred character of Jesus Christ. He gives the record of Christ’s last moments among His disciples before His humiliation and His passion. Words flowed from His divine lips full of intense love and of weighty importance. The lofty words of inspiration were to be their hold during their test and trial, as an anchor holds a vessel. Ms23-1898.18

Some points Christ repeated. He was giving His last communications to His loved ones, whose words would be repeated to the whole world. He would have them understand His relation to His Father, and to His church on the earth. The fervor of His divine soul would carry the disciples with Him if possible; but he knew that the light He was them giving them was beyond their present comprehension. They had not attained to that place where they could take in these elevated themes. But they had the promise that the Holy Spirit would bring all His words to their minds, and then they would better comprehend them. Ms23-1898.19

The fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth chapters of John are rich in promises, and are calculated to be of inestimable value to the disciples in their future work. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, who is so plainly revealed in the Old Testament Scriptures, believe [also] in me as the brightness of his glory, the manifestation of his character. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I would not deceive you, I go to prepare a place for you, to secure for you the right to a home in my Father’s kingdom. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also. I left the royal courts of heaven to come to you, to show you the way. And if I have come to the earth for your sake, I will be with you in the mansions I have prepared. Let not sorrow fill your hearts, because I love you; and whither I go ye know and the way ye know.” [See John 14:1-4.] Ms23-1898.20

“Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. And from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” [Verses 5-7.] He is the express image of His Father person. “In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Ye are complete in him who is the head of all principality and power.” [Colossians 2:9, 10.] Ms23-1898.21