The Signs of the Times


June 15, 1876

Christ's Teachings


In the life and ministry of Christ he said and did very many things which provoked the self-righteous Jews, and excited their jealousy and hatred. The Jews professed to be more favored of God than any other people upon the earth, and they felt insulted and abused by the pointed, cutting truths uttered by Jesus. ST June 15, 1876, par. 1

At the feast of the Passover Jesus appeared as a stranger, clad in the humble garments of a Galilean peasant, with no outward badge of authority. His eye took in the scene of the desecrated temple. The lowing of the oxen, the bleating of the sheep, the cooing of the doves, the jingling of the money, the sharp and angry contentions over the merchandise and in the traffic, drowned the voice of prayer in the temple. He looked upon them and, with indignant sorrow, he poured out the money of the changers; he overthrew the tables, and with a whip of small cords, drove the cattle and people out of the court. With majestic authority he commands, “Take these things hence; make not my Father's house a house of merchandise.” It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” ST June 15, 1876, par. 2

This language was close and cutting indeed. It was not addressed to the rabble, but to the chief priests, to the teachers of the people, who were defiling the sacred temple for the sake of gain. Indignation was seen in the searching eye and in the stern look of Jesus. His divine power was felt by the guilty, selfish, avaricious masters in Israel, and they fled from before him as the guilty, condemned sinner will flee when, in his terrible, kingly majesty, Jesus will stand as Judge of the world, and proclaim, “Depart, ye workers of iniquity.” Many will plead, We have done this and that good work; we have eaten and drank in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But again the terrible sentence is uttered, Depart; I know you not. You have no connection with me, You are workers of iniquity. ST June 15, 1876, par. 3

Christ, at Jacob's well, laid open the sinful life and character of the woman of Samaria. “Unnecessary, uncourteous,” say many. Jesus knew that this was the only way to reach the case. But how many would complain of such a way of saving souls. When the nobleman came to him asking him to heal his son, he met him with a reproof for their unbelief. “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” Thus was his eager entreaty met. He was not only greatly disappointed, but chagrined. With some impatience, and with a dread that the least delay would result in the death of his son, he said, “Sir, come down ere my child die.” Jesus at last graciously granted his request. But how many in these days would have allowed the feelings of their own natural heart to overbear their judgment, and become impatient and unreconciled to Jesus’ manner of working? They would have said, “Why pain and seemingly disappoint the father, when he might have healed his son at once with his word.” Christ did not feel called upon to explain his motives and purposes to man. He designed that the repulse should expand the feeble faith of the parent, and it had this effect. There were Pharisees and chief priests, elders and scribes, to stand at the out-look and watch with jealousy and envy all that Christ might do, and to question it because it did not come to their prescribed rules. ST June 15, 1876, par. 4

If our Saviour was thus treated, can his co-laborers who go forth bearing the messages which he gives them expect to be treated better than was their Master? How many blessings Jesus bestowed on the world. How many discouraged, desponding and distressed ones he relieved. His work was to bless and save. He covered his glory with humanity, bringing from Heaven the very best gifts which could be given to man; spoke peace, gave messages of light and hope. But all these gifts were considered as matters of course; the gift was received but the Giver forgotten. They walked in the light with no thought of gratitude to him from whom its beams proceeded. When the chastisement came in reproof, in warning, or by affliction, to save from apostasy and ruin, then there was a turning upon Jesus with a defiant, stubborn, impenitent resistance which was fearful. And why, says the proud, perverse spirit, must I be crushed by rebuke? Why must I be humiliated? They forget all the light, all the favors previously given, and feel that they are abused because God takes with them the only course which will bring them to a knowledge of themselves, that they may find peace in him through submission, penitence for sin, and confiding trust in God. For this reason God sends to the church the greatest blessing he can give them in a knowledge of themselves. Satan is alluring them to sin that they may be lost; God gives a clear presentation of their sins that they may repent and be saved. The greatest danger of the world is, that sin does not appear sinful. This is the greatest evil existing in the church; sin is glossed over with self-complacency. Blessed indeed are they who possess a sensitive conscience; who can weep and mourn over their spiritual poverty and wanderings from God; who are poor in spirit and can receive the reproof God sends them; and who, with confessions and brokenness of heart, will take their places, all penitent, in humiliation at the cross of Christ. God knows it is good for men to tread a hard and humble path, to encounter difficulties, to experience disappointments, and to suffer affliction. Faith strengthens by coming in conflict with doubt, and resisting unbelief through the strength of Jesus. ST June 15, 1876, par. 5

They who despise reproof will be left to their own devices. ST June 15, 1876, par. 6

E. G. W.