The Review and Herald

903/1902

October 19, 1897

Words of Comfort

EGW

While sitting round the communion table, Christ spoke words of intense interest to his disciples. He was soon to pass through scenes that would be to them the severest test. Not only did he see distinctly his own humiliation and suffering, but he saw also the effect that this would have upon the disciples. He would not leave them in darkness regarding his future work. He did not call upon them for sympathy. Words of heavenly sympathy flowed from his lips. His heart was drawn out in love for them; for he knew that they would be grievously disappointed by his crucifixion. He knew that in their sorrow they would be assailed by the enemy; for Satan's craft is most successful when carried on against those who are depressed by difficulties. RH October 19, 1897, par. 1

“Verily, verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.” Christ gave his disciples an evidence that although Judas had been among them as one of the twelve, although he had been treated with the same tender consideration as were the other disciples, he would betray his Saviour. All the work of Judas was known to Christ; none of his secret, underhand work was concealed from Christ's gaze. By telling Judas that he would betray him, Christ gave another evidence of his divinity. RH October 19, 1897, par. 2

“Little children, yet a little while I am with you,” Christ said. “Ye shall seek me; and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.” Christ reads the hearts of all, and he knew that these words were a great shock to the disciples. In answer to Peter's inquiry, “Lord, whither goest thou?” he said, “Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards. Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.” Peter remembered these words when he himself was crucified. They were indeed fulfilled. After he denied his Lord, he was truly converted; and when he was called up before his persecutors, he remembered his shameful denial, and urged that he be crucified with his head downward. He did die for the Master he loved, and even in the manner of his death, he followed his Lord. During these last sorrowful hours, Christ told his disciples that on the night of his trial, they would all be offended because of him, and that he would be left alone. He told them that for a little while after his death they would be sorrowful, but that their sorrow would be turned into joy. He told them that the time was coming when they would be put out of the synagogues, and that those who killed them would think that they were doing God service. He stated plainly why he told them these things while he was yet with them,—that when his words were fulfilled, they would remember that he had told them of them before they came to pass, and thus be strengthened to believe in him as their Redeemer. In prefiguring his future, he was plain and definite, that in their coming trial, the disciples might know that the Most High would not forget or forsake them, but would send his Spirit to remain with them forever. So Christ manifested his great love and tender compassion. RH October 19, 1897, par. 3

Christ's statements saddened and amazed the disciples. But they were followed by the comforting assurance: “Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 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. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” For your sake I came into the world. I am working in your behalf. When I go away, I shall still work earnestly for you. I came into the world to reveal myself to you, that you might believe. I go to my Father and yours, to co-operate with him in your behalf. The object of Christ's departure was the opposite of what the disciples feared. It did not mean a final separation from him. He was going to prepare a place for them, that he might come again, and receive them unto himself. RH October 19, 1897, par. 4

Not only to the disciples, but to us, are these words of comfort spoken. In the last scenes of this earth's history, war will rage. There will be pestilence, plague, and famine. The waters of the deep will overflow their boundaries. Property and life will be destroyed by fire and flood. We should be preparing for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for them that love him. There is a rest from earth's conflict. Where is it?—“That where I am, there ye may be also.” Heaven is where Christ is. Heaven would not be heaven to those who love Christ if he were not there. Are we individually forming characters that will be meet for the society of Christ and the heavenly angels? RH October 19, 1897, par. 5

How plain were Christ's words! How simple the language! A child could have understood it. But the disciples were perplexed. Thomas, always troubled by doubts, said: “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.” RH October 19, 1897, par. 6

“I am the way, the truth, and the life.” When the apostle Paul, through the revelation of Christ, was converted from a persecutor to a Christian, he declared that he was as one born out of due time. Henceforward Christ was all and in all to him. “For me, to live is Christ,” he declared. This is the most perfect interpretation in a few words, in all the Scriptures, of what it means to be a Christian. This is the whole truth of the gospel. Paul understood what many seem unable to comprehend. How intensely in earnest he was! His words show that his mind was centered in Christ, that his whole life was bound up with his Lord. Christ was the author, the support, and the source of his life. RH October 19, 1897, par. 7

Philip said to Christ, “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” He wished Christ to reveal the Father in bodily form; but God had already revealed himself in Christ. The doubt was answered by words of reproof. “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?” Christ said. Is it possible that after walking with me, hearing my words, seeing my miracle of feeding the five thousand, of healing the sick of the dread leprosy, of raising Lazarus, whose body had seen corruption, and who was indeed a prey to death, you do not know me? Is it possible that you do not see the Father in the works which he does through me? Do you not believe that I came to testify of the Father? “How sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” I am the brightness of his glory, the express image of his person. “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 I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.” RH October 19, 1897, par. 8

Christ emphatically impressed on the disciples the fact that they could see the Father by faith only. God cannot be seen in external form by any human being. Christ alone can represent the Father to humanity; and this representation the disciples had been privileged to behold for over three years. RH October 19, 1897, par. 9

“Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.” Their faith might safely rest on the evidence given in Christ's works,—works that no man ever had done or could do. These wonderful works, so full of convincing power, ought to have removed all prejudice and unbelief from the hearts of the Jews. By raising Lazarus from the dead, Christ had given a proof of his divinity. Through him the Father had been revealed to believers and unbelievers. RH October 19, 1897, par. 10

If the disciples had believed in this vital connection between the Father and the Son, their faith would not have forsaken them when they saw his suffering and death to save a perishing world. Christ was seeking to lead them from their low condition of faith to the higher experience they might have received had they truly realized what he was,—God in human flesh. He desired them to see that their faith must lead up to God, and be anchored there. How earnestly and perseveringly our compassionate Saviour sought to prepare his disciples for the storm of temptation that was soon to beat about them! He would have had them hid with him in God. RH October 19, 1897, par. 11

As Christ was speaking these words, the glory of God was shining from his countenance, and all present felt a sacred awe as they listened with rapt attention to his words. They felt that their hearts were more decidedly drawn to him, and as they were drawn to Christ in greater love, they were drawn to one another. They felt that heaven was very near them, and that the words to which they listened were a message to them from their Heavenly Father. RH October 19, 1897, par. 12