The Review and Herald

1227/1902

November 4, 1902

“If Ye Know These Things, Happy Are Ye if Ye Do Them”

EGW

Christ's last great struggle with the power of darkness should ever be kept fresh in the minds of all who believe in him as the propitiation for the sins of the world. God would have us study the lesson taught by the experience of the children of Israel, when they were bitten by serpents. Those bitten were directed to look at the brazen serpent which had been uplifted in the camp, and those who looked in faith lived. Today we are standing in a position similar to that of the children of Israel. As we look upon the world in its moral defilement, we see the poisonous serpents abroad, ready to sting us to death. To the cross of Calvary, bearing a dying Saviour, we must look. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” Only the Lamb of God can take away our sins. We should think more of this than we do. Our eternal interests demand that we show faith in Christ. RH November 4, 1902, par. 1

In the words spoken by Christ when he gave a representation of true humility by washing the feet of his disciples, I would appeal to all who name the name of Christ: “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” Do you see the uplifted Saviour? Do you know that it was for your sins that he suffered and died? Do you do his will? Knowing is only a part of our duty. Our eternal interests demand that we do also. But to many who have had great light the words of Paul are sorrowfully appropriate: “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” Though Christ had been set forth among the Gentiles, they had not had a personal sight of the divine Sufferer, enduring the weight of the sins of the world. RH November 4, 1902, par. 2

Christ crucified is to be presented by those who preach the word. The last scenes of his life, in which he achieved a victory for the world, are not to be set forth in a tame, listless manner, but earnestly, and by those who feel constrained to keep the memory of these mighty deeds from growing old. The past should be made a living reality, as if being transacted before us. But this cannot be done by human ability. Those who preach Christ must have the help of God's Spirit. Christ is our advocate in the heavenly courts, and he presents in our behalf the sacrifice he offered on Calvary. This we are to present to others. In this way we are to perpetuate the memory of the crucifixion. When this is done, heavenly instrumentalities work at the same time upon the hearts of the hearers. A power independent of human effort is felt. The speaker does not labor in his own unaided strength. He is endued with a power that is wholly from above. As the words flow from his lips, the Holy Spirit co-operates with him; and the hearers are impressed, as though Jesus were in reality before them. RH November 4, 1902, par. 3

Through the preaching of the word and the administration of the sacramental service, Christ has been set forth among us. The Lord's supper was ordained by Christ shortly before his death, and the ceremony of feet washing was instituted just prior to the Lord's supper. As we celebrate these ordinances, we are to remember that Christ is present, making the occasion one of great interest. Thus it will be to all who have a true sense of the situation. We should search our hearts, and confess the sins that we have cherished. If we are guided by the Holy Spirit, our thoughts will not be thoughts of self-exaltation, but of severe self-censure and humiliation. Selfishness, evil speaking, and evil thinking will be put away. We shall remember Christ's action, as he girded himself with a towel. While the dispute as to who should be greatest was still fresh in the minds of the disciples, Christ humbled himself, and washed their feet, wiping them with the towel wherewith he was girded. RH November 4, 1902, par. 4

After Christ had washed their feet, he said unto them, “Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” RH November 4, 1902, par. 5

During this ceremony, the Holy Spirit was impressing the hearts of the disciples, sweeping away the selfishness that they had shown in their dealings with one another. Not long before, some of them had been offended because their brethren sought the highest place. All this now appeared so insignificant, the mountain was reduced to such a molehill, that shame took the place of disputing. “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant,” declared Christ. He that doeth service will humble himself, and in so doing, he will be placed where the Lord can safely honor him, because he has the Spirit of Christ. RH November 4, 1902, par. 6

The Object of the Passover and of the Lord's Supper

The Jews had been strictly enjoined to celebrate the Passover. This had been instituted at the time of their deliverance from Egypt. Then the children of Israel ate the Passover supper in haste, with their loins girded, and with their staves in their hands, ready for their journey. The manner in which they celebrated this ordinance harmonized with their condition; for they had been thrust out of the land of Egypt, and were about to begin a painful and difficult journey through the wilderness. But in Christ's time this position had been changed. In harmony with the rest that had been given them, the people partook of the Passover supper in a reclining position. By God's direction, wine was drunk; but this was not fermented wine; it was the pure juice of the grape. RH November 4, 1902, par. 7

The Passover was ordained as a commemoration of the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage. God had directed that when their children asked the meaning of this ordinance, the history was to be repeated, that the wonderful deliverance from bondage might be kept fresh in the minds of all. The ordinance of the Lord's supper was given to the disciples to be celebrated till Christ should come the second time, with power and great glory. It is the means by which he designs that the great deliverance wrought out for us as the result of his sacrifice shall be kept fresh in our minds. RH November 4, 1902, par. 8

When the ordinances are celebrated as the Lord has commanded, messengers from the throne of God are present, listening to the words of confession and forgiveness. The Holy Spirit quickens the sensibilities of those who thus obey Christ, and turns their thoughts into spiritual channels. As the disciples of Christ, they seem to be passing through the garden consecrated by the agony of him who bore the sins of the world. They witness the struggle by which our reconciliation with God was obtained. RH November 4, 1902, par. 9

Reconciliation one with another is the work for which the ordinance of feet washing was instituted. By the example of our Lord and Master, this humiliating ceremony has been made a sacred ordinance. Whenever it is celebrated, Christ is present by his Holy Spirit. It is this Spirit that brings conviction to hearts. As Christ celebrated this ordinance with his disciples, conviction came to the hearts of all save Judas. So we shall be convicted as Christ speaks to our hearts. The fountains of the soul will be broken up. The mind will be energized, and, springing into activity and life, will break down every barrier that has caused disunion and alienation. Sins that have been committed will appear with more distinctness than ever before; for the Holy Spirit will bring them to our remembrance. The words of Christ, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them,” will be clothed with new power. RH November 4, 1902, par. 10

“Verily, verily, I say unto you,” Christ said to his disciples, “He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.... He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.... He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.” RH November 4, 1902, par. 11

After Judas went out to do the mission of Satan in the streets of Jerusalem, he was no longer favored by God, but abandoned. He found the council of Christ's enemies, and completed the work he had begun. After he had gone, Christ's countenance assumed a more cheerful aspect. The presence of the traitor had placed him under a painful restraint. His last interview with his disciples was sacred; but while Judas was there, he could not express his feelings. His utterances revealed this restraint. “Ye are not all clean,” he said. “I speak not of you all.” Now the restraint was removed. “Now is the Son of man glorified,” Jesus said, “and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.” Christ's face seemed radiant, so clearly was divinity seen. He spoke to his disciples with the tenderest affection. He wasted no words over the traitor's departure; he did not speak of the dreadful ordeal through which he must pass. He must endure his suffering alone. He seemed like an irrepressible, living spring of water. RH November 4, 1902, par. 12

The disciples looked upon Christ with admiration and love. Divinity was seen in humanity. He was transfigured, and exalted above everything earthly. He was about to be separated from his disciples in a way that they did not expect. But they caught the bright beams reflected from him, and lost all thought of contention or desire to be first. Every word Christ uttered impressed them with a sense of their co-partnership with him. RH November 4, 1902, par. 13

It was at this time that Christ gave his disciples the precious instruction found in the fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth chapters of John. He knew that they must have special instruction; for unless divine power were combined with human effort, their future work would prove a failure. He was about to be separated from them. They would no longer have him as their visible counselor, to take the responsibility in all matters. They must be instructed; for were they to leave the divine agency out of their efforts, they would not accomplish the work he had appointed them to do. In all their ministry, upon which they should enter to bless humanity, they must build upon a divine Christ. RH November 4, 1902, par. 14

Today a great work is to be done. The Holy Spirit is to work through human agencies. A partnership between God and the workers must be maintained. Man works because God works in him; all the efficiency and power is of God. Yet God has so arranged that all the responsibility rests with the human instrument. These are the appointed conditions of partnership. Men are required to move among men, doing a divine work. God designs that they shall have power from on high, but if they fail to seek for this power, if they neglect to improve the facilities which God has provided whereby they may reach the highest standard, they fail to uplift fallen humanity. RH November 4, 1902, par. 15