The Review and Herald

816/1902

March 10, 1896

Words of Christ in the House of the Pharisee

EGW

The history of the great blessings that were offered to the Jews is presented in the parable of the supper. When the feast was prepared, the servants of the king were sent out to herald the invitation, “Come; for all things are now ready.” But when those to whom the invitation was extended with one consent began to make excuse, and refused to come to the supper, the master of the feast was angry, and said, “None of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.” RH March 10, 1896, par. 1

Jesus was sitting in the midst of priests, rulers, lawyers, and Pharisees,—in the midst of men who had long been favored with the heavenly invitation, and who claimed to be guests for the feast of the Lord. But when the time came when they should have entered into the spiritual kingdom of heaven, when by believing on Christ they should have been partakers of his flesh and blood, when they should have received him whom their sacrificial offerings typified, they all with one consent began to make excuse. Mercy was extended to them, and their probation was lengthened, until three years and a half after the death of Christ, when the apostles declared: “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing you put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” The Lord gave the commission to go out into the highways and the hedges of the cities and villages, to go to the poor, the halt, the lame, and the blind, to minister to those who felt that they had need of a physician. Jesus had declared, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” The wandering sheep must be hunted up. The Jews refused to accept the flesh and blood of the Son of God; they would not listen to his word, which he declared is spirit and life, and rejected the invitation to the gospel feast. Through their impenitence and stubbornness of heart in refusing the heavenly invitation, they themselves were rejected. The solemn words were spoken by lips that cannot lie, saying, “None of those men that were bidden [and who have refused my invitation] shall taste of my supper.” RH March 10, 1896, par. 2

Jesus passed from the house of the Pharisee, “and there went great multitudes with him.” “Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.” Jesus received them with joy, and gave them the instruction that they so much needed; but the Pharisees were greatly offended because he received those whom they regarded with contempt, and because he complied with their request to speak unto them the words of life. The Pharisees would not receive the heavenly invitation themselves, they would not listen to his teachings, and yet they were greatly displeased because he did not respect their teachings, and would not refuse to have anything to do with the Gentiles, with publicans and sinners. They murmured, saying: “This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he called together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” RH March 10, 1896, par. 3

The scribes and the Pharisees felt that they were in favor with God, and that they had no need of reformation; but Jesus presented parables to show them the deformity of self-righteousness, and revealed himself as the Great Physician to those who felt their need of healing. He looked with pity upon the common people, the publicans, and sinners, who solicited him to teach them what they must do to be saved. He drew aside the veil, and pointed out the nobler world, the society of heaven, which they had lost from their view. He brought celestial things within the range of their vision. In the parable of the lost sheep, the lost piece of silver, and the lost son, he showed them the love of God, and how he is working in view of the universe of heaven, co-operating with God and angels for the salvation of the lost. He revealed the fact that the censure and reproach that are cast upon him are cast also upon God and the holy angels, and that in laboring for the salvation of publicans and sinners he was carrying out the work that Heaven gave him to do in seeking those who are ready to perish. He longed to present before the scribes and the Pharisees, before the Jews and the Gentiles, the great things of eternal interest, in order that he might break the spell of infatuation that was upon them, and rescue them from the deception that imperiled their souls. He revealed to them how vain were the pursuits in which they were engaging, the importance of every moment of life, and urged upon them as upon us the necessity of giving their all to God and of devoting their faculties to his service, that they might bear precious fruit to the glory of God. RH March 10, 1896, par. 4