SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (EGW)


Chapter 23

8 (see EGW on John 13:14, 15). No First or Last in Christ—Those who, in the spirit and love of Jesus, will become one with Him, will be in close fellowship one with another, bound up by the silken cords of love. Then the ties of human brotherhood would not be always on the strain, ready at any provocation to snap asunder. “All ye are brethren” will be the sentiment of every child of faith. When the followers of Christ are one with Him, there will be no first and last, no less respected or less important ones. A blessed brotherly fellowship one with another will bind all who truly receive the Lord Jesus Christ in a firm loyalty that cannot be broken. All will be equally one with Christ (Manuscript 28, 1897). 5BC 1097.9

All Ye Are Brethren—God has made men responsible beings, and placed them in circumstances favorable to obedience to His will. In the dignity of their God-given manhood, they are to be governed and controlled by God Himself, not by any human intelligence in our world. Man is ever to acknowledge that God lives and reigns; men are never to become lords over God's heritage. They are to consider that “all ye are brethren.” In the very fact that men are free moral agents, God teaches us not to be forced or compelled into any course of action, also that as responsible beings in copartnership with God we are to represent God in character. We are to have an interest in our brother, in our neighbor, in all around (Letter 65, 1895). 5BC 1098.1

8-10. None to Place Spiritual Interests Under Another—The oft repeated “Rabbi,” was very acceptable to the ear, but Jesus warned His disciples against this. He said to them, “But be not ye called rabbi; for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.” 5BC 1098.2

By these words Christ meant that no man is to place his spiritual interest under another as a child is guided and directed by his earthly father. This has encouraged a spirit to desire ecclesiastical superiority, which has always resulted in the injury of the men who have been trusted, and addressed as “Father.” It confuses the sense of the sacredness of the prerogatives of God (Manuscript 71, 1897). 5BC 1098.3

12. See EGW on Genesis 39:20. 5BC 1098.4

13-33 (Luke 11:42-44). Legal Religion an Abomination—The rebuke of Christ to the Pharisees is applicable to those who have lost from the heart their first love. A cold, legal religion can never lead souls to Christ; for it is a loveless, Christless religion. When fastings and prayers are practiced in a self-justifying spirit, they are abominable to God. The solemn assembly for worship, the round of religious ceremonies, the external humiliation, the imposed sacrifice, all proclaim to the world the testimony that the doer of these things considers himself as righteous. These things call attention to the observer of rigorous duties, saying, This man is entitled to heaven. But it is all a deception. Works will not buy for us an entrance into heaven. The one great offering that has been made is ample for all who will believe (Manuscript 154, 1897). 5BC 1098.5

37-39 (Luke 13:34, 35; 19:42). Loading the Clouds of Vengeance—Christ's heart had said “How can I give thee up?” He had dealt with Israel as a loving, forgiving father would deal with an ungrateful, wayward child. With the eye of Omniscience He saw that the city of Jerusalem had decided her own destiny. For centuries there had been a turning away from God. Grace had been resisted, privileges abused, opportunities slighted. The people themselves had been loading the cloud of vengeance which unmingled with mercy was about to burst upon them. With choked, half-broken utterance, Christ exclaimed, “O that thou hadst known, even thou in this thy day, the things that belong unto thy peace; but now they are hid from thine eyes.” The irrevocable sentence was pronounced (Manuscript 30, 1890). 5BC 1098.6