The Review and Herald


April 2, 1901

Lessons from the Christ-Life


What a contrast to the reception given to Christ by the Jewish leaders was the reception given to Him by Simeon! The Jews lived in daily expectation of seeing the long-looked-for Messiah. They talked of His coming, and with proud ambition built hopes of worldly greatness on the prospect. But when He came, meek and lowly, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, they hid their faces from Him. RH April 2, 1901, par. 1

Simeon no sooner saw the infant in the priest's arms than he was divinely impressed. Taking Him in his arms, he blessed Him, and said, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” RH April 2, 1901, par. 2

Simeon realized that he held in his arms One who was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There was at this time nothing in Christ's outward appearance to give him this assurance, but Simeon had lived in the atmosphere of heaven. The bright beams of the Sun of righteousness gave him spiritual discernment. His one desire had been to see Christ. The purity of his life corresponded to the light he had received, and he was prepared for the revelation of the great truth that this helpless infant was the Lord's anointed, even the Messiah. Joy and exultation transfigured his face as he held in his arms God's most precious gift to men. His illumined mind received the light flowing from the Source of all light. He saw that Christ was to be the hope of the Gentiles as well as of the Jews. The walls of tradition built up by Jewish prejudice did not exist in his mind. He realized that the Messiah was to bring redemption to all. RH April 2, 1901, par. 3

Turning to the Jews, we see the other side. The scribes and Pharisees had separated themselves from God by their national pride. There were in Judea schools of learning, and the leaders of these schools were filled with self-exaltation. They thought that they had all the light that had ever been given to the world. They looked for the Messiah to come as a temporal prince, to exalt the Jewish nation above all other nations on the earth. As their self-confidence increased, their dependence on God decreased. They walked in their own ways, and were filled with self-sufficiency and self-righteousness. They professed to be the expositors of Scripture, but they misinterpreted and misapplied its teachings. Instead of reflecting light to the people, they cast a shadow upon them. The voice of God speaking to them through His Son was to them the voice of a stranger. RH April 2, 1901, par. 4

The least difference of opinion expressed by Christ was an occasion for the Jews to resist and denounce Him. At times they charged Him with working miracles through Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. The least mention of Christ as a light to lighten the Gentiles roused to fury the national prejudice. The worst passions of the heart were stirred; for the Pharisees had taught the Jewish people to despise and hate the Gentiles. Were their commands and traditions to be treated with indifference, and, worse still, to be brushed away as error? Was this man, the son of a carpenter, to be accepted as knowing more than the priests and rulers? They would show him that he could not take the people from them. They determined to put him to death. RH April 2, 1901, par. 5

Why should there be such a difference between the reception of Christ by the Jewish teachers and His reception by Simeon?—Because the spiritual condition of the two was different. The Jews were guided and controlled by pride and selfishness. Simeon revered God, and walked in the way of the Lord. He listened constantly for the voice of God, and he was enlightened by the Holy Spirit. Those who wait on the Lord will, like Simeon, receive divine illumination. RH April 2, 1901, par. 6

Simeon and the priests represent two classes,—those who are guided by the Spirit of God because they are willing to be instructed, and those who, refusing to receive the light which would lead them into all truth, are guided by the spirit of the power of darkness, and are daily being led into deeper darkness. RH April 2, 1901, par. 7

By divine illumination Simeon understood Christ's mission. The Holy Spirit impressed his heart. But the priests and rulers were imbued with the spirit of the enemy of God; and today the same spirit influences human minds, controlling with power the hearts of men, and making of none effect the appeals of the Spirit. RH April 2, 1901, par. 8

The Jewish leaders claimed to be the expositors of prophecy; but while their hearts were filled with envy, evil-surmisings, and selfish pride, they could not distinguish between the voice of the true Shepherd and the voice of a stranger. They strengthened one another in resistance. The same thing is done in our day. The same resistance of truth will be shown by those who stubbornly refuse to receive the cautions and reproofs which the Lord sends. But those who reject the word of God for tradition will not be able to stand amid the perils of the last days. RH April 2, 1901, par. 9

The Jews virtually said, as did Pharaoh, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice?” The same power that had made itself felt all over the land of Egypt was striving with the Jews. But they refused to bow before it, and their hearts grew harder. The same voice is speaking to men and women today. We are in danger of falling into the error into which the Jews fell. God warns us not to do as they did. RH April 2, 1901, par. 10

If our hearts are open to receive the light of truth, we shall see what Jesus is to our world. But too often that which would be to the people of God the very light and blessing they need is rejected because of blindness of mind and hardness of heart. Many walk in darkness, and can see no light. To them truth seems to be error. The voice of One coming in the name of the Father is ignored. They prepare the way for Satan to bring them strong delusions, that they may believe a lie. God's word declares, “Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” RH April 2, 1901, par. 11

God stands ready to bestow rich blessings upon men; but few will bend from their selfishness to receive the gracious gift. From age to age there is acted over the same rejection of light that grieved the heart of Christ when He was on earth. There is seen the same refusal to hear the voice of God through His appointed agencies, because the message borne does not sanction human theories. Christ is as really rejected today by the rejection of His messages of warning and reproof as when He stood in this world a man among men. RH April 2, 1901, par. 12