The Review and Herald

940/1902

June 28, 1898

The Lord's Supper and the Ordinance of Feet-Washing—No. 5

EGW

“For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the market-place, and said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the laborers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last.” RH June 28, 1898, par. 1

The laborers for the Master were his official servants, upon whom he laid the weightiest responsibilities to do his work. And he agreed to give them their wages. From time to time he added others to the laborers, saying, “Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you.” Some were found waiting for work at the eleventh hour, only one hour before the close of the working-day. When the reckoning-time between the master and workers came, the last hired were the first paid. When the first came, they supposed that they would receive more than those who had worked for so short a period; but they received every man a penny. Yet those who received all that had been promised them were displeased. RH June 28, 1898, par. 2

This parable was forever to quench the eager, grasping, mercenary spirit which is so offensive to God. Those who possessed this spirit were revealing their own unworthiness of having their wages increased, or to have the highest place. The complaint was: “These last have wrought but one hour; and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.” The answer came: “Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?....Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last.” RH June 28, 1898, par. 3

The spirit with which each one labors is what determines his usefulness and faithfulness in the work. In all who indulge the spirit of criticizing and murmuring, these attributes are confirmed, and thus the root of dissension and bitterness grows up imperceptibly. When circumstances occur that demand the most attentive, whole-souled interest, to do the right kind of work, to co-operate with God, such are found on the wrong side. Satan's temptations find a place in their mind and heart; and they work to counteract, rather than to co-operate with, God. RH June 28, 1898, par. 4

The Lord understands all the defects in human character. He desires to save man. It was for this purpose that he came to this world. In him all sufficiency dwells. In him dwells all “the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” The defective characters that remain thus, when One is among them who came to our world for the express purpose of taking away the sin of the world, make manifest that they do not appreciate the attributes of Christ sufficiently to hunger and thirst after righteousness, and they will not be exalted as worthy. “Blessed are the meek,” were the words that fell from his divine lips; “for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” RH June 28, 1898, par. 5

These are the characters that are fitting for heaven. Christ is every possible strength to all who will appropriate his words by faith. He is indeed the Bread of life. No man, woman, youth, or child can say, I have cravings that he can not satisfy. All cravings that he does not fill are supplied with a superior sufficiency, which is for the perfection of Christian character. RH June 28, 1898, par. 6

We all need to understand that the craving for supremacy is placing men where they will never gain the supremacy in the future life, even if they gain it in this. The ordinance of feet-washing was a revealer of character, and always will be. The Holy Spirit is present on such occasions to convict of sin, and the heart is touched and made contrite. The penitential confession clears the moral atmosphere of the soul, and awakens holy principles. The subduing grace of Christ comes into the heart, and the love of Christ draws hearts together in a blessed unity. Sins are seen in the light in which God views them. They are confessed, they are forgiven. RH June 28, 1898, par. 7

The administration of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper is for the purpose of making a forcible illustration of the infinite sacrifice made for a sinful world, and for us individually, as a part of that great whole of fallen humanity, before whose eyes Christ has evidently been set forth crucified among them. RH June 28, 1898, par. 8

“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” RH June 28, 1898, par. 9

This is a special service; and in its observance there is to be a peaceful, grateful heart. Inasmuch as this service, in the bread and wine, represents the body the Lord gave for the sin of the world, the ministration of the sacrament is commemorative of Christ's humiliation, betrayal, and sufferings, as an offered sacrifice. In symbol, Christ is set forth crucified among us. The representative of Christ is present. No one can partake of the emblems of the Lord's sacrifice in behalf of the world, with his spiritual sensibilities in full and free exercise, without recalling the whole painful history connected with the scene of Christ's communion with his disciples. Before the mind passes the whole scene of his great agony in the garden of Gethsemane. All the abuse and suffering that man could heap upon his fellow man were endured by our Lord and Master. RH June 28, 1898, par. 10

The Lord Jesus is present on every occasion. He reads every purpose of the heart, and his righteous principles are vindicated in the heart-searching, the heart-humbling, the penitence; and the atonement itself provided by Infinite Love is acceptable to God, and Christ's righteousness is imputed to the sinner. The humiliating ordinance is made an occasion of appeal to the spiritual imagination, and there is a vital connection with Jesus Christ. If a man is to be convinced, the truth as it is in Jesus must be presented to his mind, and must appeal to his heart. Christ refuses every other method,—everything like compulsion, or restriction, or force. His only weapons are truth and love. “I, if I be lifted up from the earth,” he says, “will draw all men unto me.” Fallen humanity is drawn, not forced, into any position. RH June 28, 1898, par. 11

To all who receive him, Christ is an inexhaustible treasure-house of supply for all spiritual necessities. Then let us take in all the blessedness of the provision made, that when we shall engage in the ordinance of feet-washing, we may take in all its significance. The Holy Watcher is present from heaven to make this season one of soul-searching, one of conviction of sin, and of the blessed assurance of sins forgiven. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace, wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” They have the blessed assurance, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” RH June 28, 1898, par. 12

And now, with humble, subdued, and grateful hearts, they come to the sacramental service. We need to have an understanding that we are living under the dispensation of the Spirit. Our senses must be cultivated through the improvement of our God-given opportunities to lay hold, with intellect and soul, upon the mystery of godliness by obtaining a more thorough knowledge of the work of redemption. This is not to be merely the work that ministers must do. Every soul who names the name of Christ must participate in it. The members of the church who listen to the word that is preached among them are to put to a practical use that word as a God-sent message to them individually. They are to comprehend, which it is the privilege of all to do, far more intelligently and deeply than they have done, the expiatory sufferings of Christ. RH June 28, 1898, par. 13