The Review and Herald

697/1902

November 28, 1893

Christ As Teacher

EGW

For his own wise purpose the Lord veils spiritual truths in figures and symbols. Through the use of figures of speech, the plainest and most telling rebuke was often given to his accusers and enemies, and they could find in his words no occasion to condemn him. In parables and comparisons he found the best method of communicating divine truth. In simple language, using figures and illustrations drawn from the natural world, he opened spiritual truth to his hearers, and gave expression to precious principles that would have passed from their minds, and left scarcely a trace, had he not connected his words with stirring scenes of life, experience, or nature. In this way he called forth their interest, aroused inquiry, and when he had fully secured their attention, he decidedly impressed upon them the testimony of truth. In this way he was able to make sufficient impression upon the heart so that afterward his hearers could look upon the thing with which he connected his lesson, and recall the words of the divine Teacher. RH November 28, 1893, par. 1

The teaching of Jesus was of an entirely different order from that of the learned scribes. They professed to be expositors of the law, both written and traditional. But the formal tone of their instruction would indicate that they saw nothing in the doctrines of the sacred oracles which possessed vital power. They presented nothing new, uttered no words that reached the longing of the soul. They offered no food for the hungry sheep and lambs. Their custom was to dwell upon the obscurities of the law, and the result of their reasoning was a jargon of absurdities, which neither the learned could fathom nor the common people understand. RH November 28, 1893, par. 2

Christ came to unveil divine truth to the world. He taught as one having authority. He spake as never man spake. There was no hesitancy in his manner, not the shadow of a doubt in his utterances. He spake as one who understood every part of his subject. He could have opened mysteries which patriarchs and prophets desired to look into, which human curiosity had been impatiently desirous of understanding. But when men could not discern the most simple, plainly-stated truths, how could they understand mysteries which were hid from mortal eyes? Jesus did not disdain to repeat old, familiar truths; for he was the author of these truths. He was the glory of the temple. Truths which had been lost sight of, which had been misplaced, misinterpreted, and disconnected from their true position, he separated from the companionship of error; and showing them as precious jewels in their own bright luster, he reset them in their proper framework, and commanded them to stand fast forever. What a work was this! It was of such a character that no finite man could comprehend or do it. Only the divine Hand could take the truth which, from its connection with error, had been serving the cause of the enemy of God and man, and place it where it would glorify God, and be the salvation of humanity. The work of Christ was to give again to the world the truth in its original freshness and beauty. He represented the spiritual and heavenly, by the things of nature and experience. He gave fresh manna to the hungry soul, presented a new kingdom which was to be set up among men. RH November 28, 1893, par. 3

The Jewish rabbis presented the requirements of the law as a wearing round of exactions. They did just what Satan is doing in our day,—presented the law before the people as a cold, rigid code of commands and traditions. Superstitions buried the light, the glory, the dignity, and far-reaching claims of the law of God. They professed to speak to the people in the place of God. After the transgression of Adam, the Lord spoke no longer directly with man; the human race was given into the hands of Christ, and all communication came through him to the world. It was Christ who spoke the law on Mount Sinai, and he knew the bearing of all its precepts, the glory and majesty of the law of heaven. In his sermon on the mount, Christ defines the law, and seeks to inculcate on the minds of his hearers the far-reaching claims of the precepts of Jehovah. His instructions came as a new revelation to the people; and the teachers of the law, the scribes and the Pharisees, as well as the common people, were astonished at his doctrine. The words of Christ were not new, and yet they came with the force of revelation; for they presented the truth in its proper light, and not in the light in which the teachers had set it before the people. He showed no regard for the traditions and commandments of men, but opened the eyes of their understanding to behold wondrous things out of the law of God, which is the foundation of his throne from the beginning of the world; and as long as the heavens and the earth remain, through the ceaseless ages of eternity, it will be the great standard of righteousness, holy and just and good. RH November 28, 1893, par. 4

The system of Jewish economy was the gospel in figure, a presentation of Christianity which was to be developed as fast as the minds of the people could comprehend spiritual light. Satan ever seeks to make obscure the truths that are plain, and Christ ever seeks to open the mind to comprehend every essential truth concerning the salvation of fallen man. To this day there are still aspects of truth which are dimly seen, connections that are not understood, and far-reaching depths in the law of God that are uncomprehended. There is immeasurable breadth, dignity, and glory in the law of God; and yet the religious world has set aside this law, as did the Jews, to exalt the traditions and commandments of men. Before the days of Christ, men asked in vain, “What is truth?” Darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people. Even Judea was shrouded in gloom, although the voice of God spoke to them in his oracles. The truth of God had been silenced by the superstition and traditions of its professed interpreters, and contention, jealousy, and prejudice divided the professed children of God. Then was a Teacher sent from God, even him who was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus presented to view the pure, rich truth of heaven to shine amid the moral darkness and gloom of earth. God has said, “Let there be spiritual light,” and the light of the glory of God was revealed in the face of Jesus Christ. RH November 28, 1893, par. 5

Christ was manifested as the Saviour of men. The people were not to trust in their own works, in their own righteousness, or in themselves in any way, but in the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world. In him the Advocate with the Father was revealed. Through him the invitation was given, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool.” This invitation comes sounding down along the lines to us today. Let not pride, or self-esteem, or self-righteousness keep any one from confessing his sins, that he may claim the promise: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Keep nothing back from God, and neglect not the confession of your faults to the brethren when they have a connection with them. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” Many a sin is left unconfessed, to be confronted in the day of final accounts; better far to see your sins now, to confess them, and put them away, while the atoning sacrifice pleads in your behalf. Do not dislike to learn the will of God on this subject. The health of your soul, the unity of your brethren, may depend upon the course you pursue in these things. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time, “casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” RH November 28, 1893, par. 6

It is a lamentable fact that the erring heart is unwilling to be criticised, or to subject itself to humiliation by the confession of sin. Some see their faults, but thinking confession will detract from their dignity, they excuse their wrong, and shield themselves from the discipline that confession would give to the soul. The thought of their manifest error will remain to embitter their enjoyments and embarrass their movements; for in passing out of the path of confession, they fail to be faithful examples to the people. They see the errors of others; but how can they have courage to give the advice, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed,” when they have failed to follow this instruction in their own life? How much will ministers or people learn of a truth which they thrust aside, and forget if possible, because it is not agreeable; because it does not flatter their pride, but reproves and pains? Ministers and people, if saved at all, must be saved day by day, hour by hour. They must hunger and thirst for the righteousness of Christ, the illumination of the Holy Spirit. Church-members,—those placed in positions of trust,—must be baptized with the Spirit of God, or they will not be qualified for the positions they accept. RH November 28, 1893, par. 7

A man may have a knowledge of the Scriptures which will not make him wise unto salvation, although he may be able to master his opponents in public controversy. If he does not have a yearning of soul after God; if he does not search his own heart as with a lighted candle, fearing that any wrong should lurk there; if he is not possessed with a desire to answer the prayer of Christ that his disciples may be one as he is one with the Father, that the world may believe that Jesus is the Christ,—he flatters himself in vain that he is a Christian. His knowledge, begun in ambition, is carried forward in pride; but his soul is destitute of the divine love, the gentleness and meekness of Christ. He is not a wise man in the sight of God. He may have wisdom to overcome an opponent; but wise unto salvation, he cannot possibly be without the agency of the Holy Spirit. And the fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” Neither talent, eloquence, nor selfish study of the Scriptures, will produce love to God or conformity to the image of Christ. Nothing but divine power can regenerate the human heart and character, and imbue the soul with the love of Christ, which will ever manifest itself in love to those for whom he died. RH November 28, 1893, par. 8