The Review and Herald

1011/1902

August 15, 1899

Christ's Mission

EGW

Christ was the greatest missionary the world has ever known. How did he come? What was his message? John, his forerunner, lifted up his voice in the wilderness of Judea, crying, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” “Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be laid low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.... O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom.” RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 1

Christ bore the same message that John bore. “From that time,” we read, “Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” But while John preached in the wilderness, Christ's work was done among the people. That he might reach sinners where they were, he encircled the race with his long human arm, while with his divine arm he grasped the throne of the Infinite, uniting finite man to the infinite God, and connecting earth with heaven. RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 2

“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my Spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.” RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 3

“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting their net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Thus Christ called his first disciples. They were not chosen from among the Pharisees, but from among humble fishermen. With these lowly men he could co-operate, educating and training them to the highest work ever given to mortals. RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 4

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom.” Connected with this work was his ministry of healing. He went about “healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan.” RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 5

Here I wish to impress upon all interested in missionary work that the truth is first to be presented and the warning given to the people, “The kingdom of God is at hand.” Nothing will so impress minds as the uplifting of the Saviour. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” In the wilderness the word was given, sounded by the trumpet, caught up by appointed men; and those who heard in faith and looked toward the uplifted symbol were saved. Today those who are bitten by the serpent are to look and live. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” All who look upon him will live. Then the question, “What must I do to be saved?” is answered. RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 6

The message that Jesus gave to the palsied man is given to us. “They brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed.” There was a crowd around the house in which Jesus was, and the sick man's friends sought a way to bring him directly to Christ, that they might lay him before him. “And when they could not find what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.” RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 7

Christ saw that the man was suffering with bodily disease, and he saw also that he was suffering with a sin-sick soul. He knew that in order to heal bodily maladies he must bring relief to the mind, and cleanse the soul from sin. The man needed health of soul before he could appreciate health of body. The Saviour was not unmindful of the effort that was made to bring the man to him, and his heart of love and pity was moved. “He saw their faith,” and it was enough. “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee,” he said to the sick man. Many watched with bated breath every movement in this strange transaction, feeling that Christ's words were an invitation to them. Were they not soul-sick? Were they not anxious to get rid of their burden of guilt? RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 8

But the Pharisees could not conceal their anger. As if filled with holy horror, they began to reason, saying, “Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sin, but God alone?” But it was the Son of the living God who had uttered the words, “Thy sins be forgiven thee.” Had not the Pharisees been blinded by prejudice, they would have seen that he who was before them was the Christ, and that he was in the Father, and the Father in him. “I and my Father are one,” he declared. RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 9

“When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins (he said unto the sick of the palsy), I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.” He was healed of the leprosy of sin, healed of the maladies that had afflicted his body, healed every whit. “And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things today.” RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 10

“And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. And he left all, rose up, and followed him.” Just such invitations must be given by Christ's ambassadors. General invitations are given; but not enough definite and personal invitations. If more personal calls were made, more decided movements would be made to follow Christ. RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 11

“And Levi made him a great feast in his own house.” He felt himself highly honored by Christ's call, and gave expression to his feelings by making a feast and calling his friends. Jesus and his disciples were invited, and “many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.” Jesus never refused invitations of this kind, because here he could ask and answer questions that would diffuse light. He never neglected an opportunity to sow the seeds of truth in human minds, knowing that the time would come when hearts would respond to the words that fell from his lips. RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 12

“But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat with publicans and sinners? And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 13

This is a lesson for all our churches. The Lord went into the busy thoroughfares of travel that he might speak words which would reach the hearts of sinners. They were sick, and needed a physician who could portray before them their true condition. Thus Christ reached to the very depths of human woe and misery. RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 14

Christ's work was a marked work. With his teaching he mingled the work of healing. “When he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” “And as ye go,” he said, “preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils; freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses.” “And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing everywhere.” RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 15

This is the work that should be done today. Missions should be established, not merely in one or two cities in America, but in many localities. The buildings should be as inexpensive as possible. It is not expensive buildings that give character to our work; it is the spirit manifested by workers who show that they have the co-operation of the Holy Spirit. This gives power to their influence, and character to the work. RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 16

The Lord has sent his people to different parts of the globe, among idolatrous and heathen nations, that they may win souls from darkness to light. Their first work is to bear the message, Christ the crucified one is our Saviour. They are to awaken an interest in Christ's willingness to forgive sins, bearing the message, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 17

Christ gave his disciples an example of the work they were to do. On one occasion, we read, he “went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid. For a certain woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: ... and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.” This was the sentiment of the disciples. “And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs. And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.” RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 18

“And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.” RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 19

“And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; and were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.” RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 20

This was Christ's work. But our churches have not filled their place in co-operating with God in this work. Every position in life is permitted in the providence of God. Each sphere of action requires most thorough consecration to God. Those who are hid with Christ in God will become instruments in God's hands for the development of Christian virtue. All classes have a part to act. God's people are not to sit Sabbath after Sabbath hearing the word, and then do nothing to communicate to others what they have heard. They are to be laborers together with God. The Lord has given each one a work to do. No one will he excuse who cherished the inclination to fold his hands and make self a center. Truth is to be proclaimed. It is to go forth as a lamp that burneth. Not a thread of selfishness is to be woven into the work. We must see light in God's light. RH August 15, 1899, Art. A, par. 21