The Review and Herald

938/1902

June 21, 1898

The Lord's Supper and the Ordinance of Feet-Washing—No. 4

EGW

Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost. His instruction was confined to the wants of their own condition in practical life. The curiosity that led them to seek for something they had not, when they came to him with prying questions, he turned into occasions of most solemn, earnest, vital appeal. When they were so eager to pluck from the tree of knowledge, he presented them with the fruit of the tree of life. They found every avenue closed to them, which would not advance them in spiritual understanding of the narrow way, leading to eternal life. They found every fountain sealed, save the fountain of eternal life. While the Holy Spirit was given them to understand everything that was essential for their salvation in the living oracles, the word of God, their unnecessary, uneasy, speculating inquiries were not opened before them. The devoted, humble seekers after the Way, the Truth, and the Life will be directed in safe paths to the mansions he has gone to prepare for them. All the light of revelation is permitted to shine upon this path alone, to make it so distinct that not one human soul need wander from the highway of holiness. RH June 21, 1898, Art. A, par. 1

The great Teacher's wisdom in limiting the measure of our researches in earthly directions, called the attention of all to his legislation from the very foundation of our world,—to a code of morals, pure, simple, and practical, unencumbered by the long years of types and sacrifices, which passed away when the only true Sacrifice, Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, was offered for the sins of the world. His lessons to his disciples are received by all who would become his disciples, to the end of time. These lessons discharge his followers from the bondage of the ceremonial law, and leave them the ordinance of baptism to be received by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as the only one who can take away sin. RH June 21, 1898, Art. A, par. 2

The ceremony of feet-washing and the Lord's Supper, in its simplicity and spirituality, is to be observed with true solemnity, and with hearts full of thankfulness. Its participants are not to exhaust their powers of thought or their physical powers on outward forms and ceremonies. All the vigor of mind and the healthfulness of body are to be fresh to engage in the work of the gospel, to lead souls from sin into the upward path of holiness. In this ordinance is presented the necessity of economizing all the thoughts, all the energies, all the affections and faculties, to wear Christ's yoke, to come into partnership with him in seeking to save the souls that are perishing without God and without hope in the world. RH June 21, 1898, Art. A, par. 3

This work the whole angelic host are engaged in as their highest service; and the human agent is to become a channel to meet humanity, and communicate to the world that which God has communicated to him, putting mind, heart, and soul into the work. God has made every provision that his requirements should meet a response in every soul, and that all should be eager, interested workers, putting forth all their entrusted capital of money, of vigor, of capabilities, that they may be worked upon by the Holy Spirit, adorning the doctrine of Christ their Saviour. RH June 21, 1898, Art. A, par. 4

None should glory in their capabilities, or pride themselves in their intellectual greatness. All that can stir the soul, give impulse to the human agent, and awaken the godly to intense activity, comes from God. To those who are in connection with the work of the heavenly angels to embody in human nature the perfection of heavenly grace in Christ,—those who are one with Christ and with God,—he will give impulse to energize their every spiritual power. He calls upon all to surmount their difficulties, instead of looking at and deploring them. God will give sanctified energy to all who profess Christ. He arranges all rites, he collects all influences, and works them to his own name's glory. RH June 21, 1898, Art. A, par. 5

God treats the human agencies connected with himself with a heavenly respect. The whole of God's law is of this character. Taking off every oppressive weight that man would lay upon his fellow man, he prescribes only that which is absolutely necessary for his physical, mental, and moral well-being. He imbues man with the attributes of God, and builds up the human character after the divine similitude, a goodly fabric of spiritual beauty and perfection. RH June 21, 1898, Art. A, par. 6

In order to do this, in order that man might be in partnership with the great firm of heaven, Christ's lessons, from the beginning to the close of his life, taught humility before God. This would lead man to a love for his brother,—a spirit of love and forbearance toward all for whom Christ has died. Genuine humility is expressed in the words: “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, and of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” Humility is the lesson which Jesus has given in all his teachings all through his ministry, by both precept and example. He raised this precious attribute out of the dust in which it had been trodden, and clothed it with the garments of his own righteousness. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” he says; “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” RH June 21, 1898, Art. A, par. 7

Satan erected his standard of revolt against God in heaven. He aspired to be like God, and determined to assert a power of independence of God. His after-history has revealed a persevering determination to establish his empire, governed by laws, and replenished with resources, independent of God. Every species of idolatry, sensuality, crime, rebellion, and irreligion, is the fruit borne from the proud and exalted claims of Satan. The Lord Jesus came to tear away the deceptive claims of Satan, and to reveal to the world that pride, self-sufficiency, and wrestling for the supremacy have no favor with heaven; for they are the attributes of Satan. Look at the humility of our Saviour in humbling himself to our humanity: “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.” RH June 21, 1898, Art. A, par. 8

In the East a common courtesy granted to travelers as they were welcomed to a house, was that a servant should remove their sandals and wash their feet. This hospitable action was neglected on one occasion, and the Lord reminded the Pharisee, whose invited guest he was, that he had shown discourtesy in this manifest neglect. RH June 21, 1898, Art. A, par. 9

“Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where be entereth in. And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guest-chamber where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? And he shall show you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: for I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. RH June 21, 1898, Art. A, par. 10

“And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! And they began to inquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.” RH June 21, 1898, Art. A, par. 11

When they assembled to partake of the Lord's Supper, the ordinance of feet-washing was to be established as a religious ceremony. There was the pitcher of water, the basin, and the towel; but there had been a contention as to which should be the greatest in the Master's kingdom. The request of the sons of Zebedee that they should be awarded the most honored position, created jealousy and a heated discussion as to who should be thus favored. They began to refer to their capabilities and qualifications, and to declare who would best serve for the advancement of the kingdom. They had heard the words of Christ to John when, in response to the request of James and John, “Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory,” Jesus said: “Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized. But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.” RH June 21, 1898, Art. A, par. 12

But the disciples did not consider these words, and keep silent. The disciples should have learned the lessons of the Master,—that it is not reputation, natural talent, acquired skill, professional standing, nor any honor given them of men, that weighs at all in the decisions of heaven; “but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.” Had they thought of the lessons given them in reference to humility, they would have had altogether different opinions of the ones who should be honored in the kingdom of God. The disciples had often contended as to which of them should occupy the highest place of honor in the kingdom of God. Christ had given them special lessons, the most striking and positive of which is recorded in Matthew 18: “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Yet again and again these lessons had to be repeated. The Lord had assured them that his kingdom was not of this world, but it was difficult for his disciples to be set right on this point. RH June 21, 1898, Art. A, par. 13