The Signs of the Times


May 16, 1900



In His life and lessons Christ gave a perfect exemplification of the unselfish ministry which has its origin in God. God does not live for Himself. By creating the world, and upholding all things, He is constantly ministering to others. Satan misrepresented God to the world, as he did to Adam and Eve. Selfishness has its origin in Satan, and just as far as it is indulged, so far are Satan's attributes cherished; but Satan charged God with these attributes, and belief in his principles was becoming more and more widespread. By the Son of God these principles must be demonstrated as false, and God's character shown to be one of love. By Him the Father must be rightly represented. God committed His ideal to Christ, and sent Him into the world, invested with divinity, yet bearing humanity. ST May 16, 1900, par. 1

Christ stooped to take man's nature, that He might reveal the sentiments of God toward the fallen race. Divine power was brought within the reach of all, that sinful human beings might reveal the image of God. Christ assumed our nature in order to counterwork Satan's false principles. He came to give by His ministry an expression of the mind of God. ST May 16, 1900, par. 2

And with clearness and power Christ set forth the attributes of God. He is “the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person,” even “the image of the invisible God;” yet He humbled Himself, taking the form of a servant. Our Redeemer is a perfect revelation of the Godhead; and it is of importance that, as His disciples, we understand through Him God's relation to us, and our relation to God. He is the world's great Teacher; and what we know of God through Him is the measure of our practical knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus Christ. ST May 16, 1900, par. 3

That His people might not be misled by the selfishness which dwells in the natural heart, and which strengthens by self-serving, Christ Himself set us an example of true service. He would not leave this great subject in man's charge. Of so much consequence did He regard it, that He Himself, one equal with God, washed the feet of His disciples. “Ye call Me Master and Lord,” He said; “and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” ST May 16, 1900, par. 4

The ordinance of humility most forcibly illustrates the necessity of true ministry. This ordinance was to be observed by the disciples, that they might ever keep in mind the lessons of humility and ministry that Christ had given them. Not long before this, John and James had come to their Master with the request, “We would that Thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. And He said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto Him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on Thy right hand, and the other on Thy left hand, in Thy glory.” The other disciples were very much displeased by this request. Jesus called them all to Him, and talked with them about it: “Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you; but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister; and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.” ST May 16, 1900, par. 5

While the disciples were contending for the highest place in the promised kingdom, Christ girded Himself, and performed the office of a servant, by washing the feet of those who had called Him Lord. He, the pure and spotless One, was about to offer Himself as a sin-offering for the world; and as He ate the Passover with His disciples, He put an end to the sacrifice which for four thousand years had been offered. In the place of the national festival which the Jewish people had observed, He instituted a memorial service, the ordinance of feet washing and the sacramental supper, to be observed through all time by His followers in every country. These should ever repeat Christ's act, that all may see that true service calls for unselfish ministry. ST May 16, 1900, par. 6

Christ's words on this occasion should be studied, appreciated, and obeyed. The spirit of selfishness that led James and John to ask for the first place in the kingdom would, if cherished, have resulted in self-serving, and they would have been eternally lost. The sentiments of many who claim to be sons and daughters of God need to be greatly changed. The Son of God was rich, yet for our sake He became poor, that through His poverty we might be made rich. His example should be followed by all who name His name. “We are laborers together with God; ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” Mrs. E. G. White. ST May 16, 1900, par. 7

(Concluded next week.)