SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (EGW)

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Chapter 9

9, 10. See EGW on Luke 5:29. 5BC 1088.2

11 (Isaiah 58:4; Luke 5:30). Fasting in Pride Versus Eating in Humility—The Pharisees beheld Christ sitting and eating with publicans and sinners. He was calm and self-possessed, kind, courteous, and friendly; and while they could not but admire the picture presented, it was so unlike their own course of action, they could not endure the sight. The haughty Pharisees exalted themselves, and disparaged those who had not been blessed with such privileges and light as they themselves had had. They hated and despised the publicans and sinners. Yet in the sight of God their guilt was the greater. Heaven's light was flashing across their pathway, saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it”; but they had spurned the gift. Turning to the disciples of Christ they said, “Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?” By this question they hoped to arouse the prejudice which they knew had existed in the minds of the disciples, and thus shake their weak faith. They aimed their arrows where they would be most likely to bruise and wound. 5BC 1088.3

Proud but foolish Pharisees, who fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness! Christ eats with publicans and sinners that He may draw men to Himself. The world's Redeemer cannot honor the fasts observed by the Jewish nation. They fast in pride and self-righteousness, while Christ eats in humility with publicans and sinners. 5BC 1088.4

Since the fall, the work of Satan has been to accuse, and those who refuse the light which God sends, pursue the same course today. They lay open to others those things which they consider an offense. Thus it was with the Pharisees. When they found something of which they could accuse the disciples, they did not speak to those whom they thought to be in error. They spoke to Christ of the things which they thought to be so grievous in His disciples. When they thought that Christ offended, they accused Him to the disciples. It was their work to alienate hearts (Manuscript 3, 1898). 5BC 1088.5

12, 13 (ch. 20:28; Mark 2:17; 10:45; Luke 5:31, 32). Relief in Every Case—Christ was a physician of the body as well as of the soul. He was minister and missionary and physician. From His childhood He was interested in every phase of human suffering that came under His notice. He could truly say, I came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. In every case of woe He brought relief, His kind words having a healing balm. None could say He had worked a miracle, yet He imparted His virtue to those He saw in suffering and in need. Through the whole thirty years of His private life He was humble, meek, and lowly. He had a living connection with God; for the Spirit of God was upon Him, and He gave evidence to all who were acquainted with Him that He lived to please, honor, and glorify His Father in the common things of life (The Review and Herald, October 24, 1899). 5BC 1088.6

13 (Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32). Rejected Pleasantness to Fulfill Need—He [Christ] might have gone to the pleasant homes of the unfallen worlds, to the pure atmosphere where disloyalty and rebellion had never intruded; and there He would have been received with acclamations of praise and love. But it was a fallen world that needed the Redeemer. “I came not to call the righteous,” said He, “but sinners to repentance” (The Review and Herald, February 15, 1898). 5BC 1088.7

16. See EGW on ch. 6:16. 5BC 1088.8

17 (Mark 2:22; Luke 5:37, 38). New Bottles for New Wine—The work of Jesus was to reveal the character of the Father, and to unfold the truth which He Himself had spoken through prophets and apostles; but there was found no place for the truth in those wise and prudent men. Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, had to pass by the self-righteous Pharisees, and take His disciples from unlearned fishers and men of humble rank. These who had never been to the rabbis, who had never sat in the schools of the prophets, who had not been members of the Sanhedrin, whose hearts were not bound about with their own ideas,—these He took and educated for His own use. He could make them as new bottles for the new wine of His kingdom. These were the babes to whom the Father could reveal spiritual things; but the priests and rulers, the scribes and Pharisees, who claimed to be the depositaries of knowledge, could give no room for the principles of Christianity, afterward taught by the apostles of Christ. The chain of truth, link after link, was given to those who realized their own ignorance, and were willing to learn of the great Teacher. 5BC 1088.9

Jesus knew that He could do the scribes and Pharisees no good, unless they would empty themselves of self-importance. He chose new bottles for His new wine of doctrine, and made fishermen and unlearned believers the heralds of His truth to the world. And yet, though His doctrine seemed new to the people, it was in fact not a new doctrine, but the revelation of the significance of that which had been taught from the beginning. It was His design that His disciples should take the plain, unadulterated truth for the guide of their life. They were not to add to His words, or give a forced meaning to His utterances. They were not to put a mystical interpretation upon the plain teaching of the Scriptures, and draw from theological stores to build up some man-made theory. It was through putting a mystical meaning upon the plain words of God, that sacred and vital truths were made of little significance, while the theories of men were made prominent. It was in this way that men were led to teach for doctrines the commandments of men, and that they rejected the commandment of God, that they might keep their own tradition (The Review and Herald, June 2, 1896). 5BC 1089.1

34. See EGW on ch. 12:24-32. 5BC 1089.2