SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (EGW)

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Chapter 2

9. Strengthened to Endure Greater Light—[Luke 2:8, 9 quoted.] ... Suddenly the heavens are lighted up with a brightness which alarms the shepherds. They know not the reason of this grand display. They do not at first discern the myriads of angels that are congregated in the heavens. The brightness and glory from the heavenly host illuminate and glorify the entire plain. While the shepherds are terrified at the glory of God, the leading angel of the throng quiets their fears by revealing himself to them, saying, “Fear not....” 5BC 1115.7

As their fears are dispelled, joy takes the place of astonishment and terror. They could not, at first, bear the radiance of glory, which attended the whole heavenly host, to break upon them suddenly. One angel only appears to the gaze of the watching shepherds to dissipate their fears, and make known their mission. As the light of the angel encircles them, the glory rests upon them, and they are strengthened to endure the greater light and glory attending the myriads of heavenly angels (The Spirit of Prophecy 2:17, 18). 5BC 1115.8

13, 14, 29-32. Satan Filled With Frenzy—The heavenly heralds aroused all the wrath of the synagogue of Satan. He followed the steps of those who had charge of the infant Jesus. He heard the prophecy of Simeon in the temple courts, who had long been waiting for the consolation of Israel. The Holy Ghost was upon him and he came by the Spirit into the temple. Taking the infant Saviour in his arms, he blessed God, 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.” Satan was filled with frenzy as he saw that the aged Simeon recognized the divinity of Christ (The Review and Herald, October 29, 1895). 5BC 1116.1

25-32. In the Atmosphere of Heaven—Simeon no sooner saw the infant in the priest's arms than he was divinely impressed ... [Luke 2:29-32 quoted]. 5BC 1116.2

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 (The Review and Herald, April 2, 1901). 5BC 1116.3

Two Classes Represented—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. 5BC 1116.4

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 (The Review and Herald, April 2, 1901). 5BC 1116.5

38. Pious Jews Waited Day and Night—The pious Jews were looking, believing, and earnestly praying, for the coming of the Messiah. God could not manifest His glory and power to His people through a corrupt priesthood. The set time to favor His people had come. The faith of the Jews had become clouded, in consequence of their departure from God. Many of the leaders of the people brought in their own traditions, and enforced them upon the Jews, as the commandments of God. The pious Jews believed, and trusted in God that He would not leave His people in this condition, to be a reproach to the heathen. He had, in time past, raised them up a deliverer when in their distress they had called upon Him. From the predictions of the prophets, they thought the time appointed of God had arrived when Messiah would come. And when He should come, they would have a clear revelation of the divine will, and that their doctrines would be freed from the traditions and needless ceremonies which had confused their faith. The pious, aged Jews waited day and night for the coming Messiah, praying that they might see the Saviour before they died. They longed to see the cloud of ignorance and bigotry dispelled from the minds of the people (The Spirit of Prophecy 2:41, 42). 5BC 1116.6

40. An Example of What Children May Strive to Be—It is not correct to say, as many writers have said, that Christ was like all children. He was not like all children. Many children are misguided and mismanaged. But Joseph, and especially Mary, kept before them the remembrance of their child's divine Fatherhood. Jesus was instructed in accordance with the sacred character of His mission. His inclination to right was a constant gratification to His parents. The questions He asked them led them to study most earnestly the great elements of truth. His soul-stirring words about nature and the God of nature opened and enlightened their minds. 5BC 1116.7

On the rocks and knolls about His home the eye of the Son of God often rested. He was familiar with the things of nature. He saw the sun in the heavens, the moon and the stars fulfilling their mission. With the voice of singing He welcomed the morning light. He listened to the lark caroling forth music to its God, and joined His voice with the voice of praise and thanksgiving.... 5BC 1117.1

[Luke 2:40 quoted.] He was an example of what all children may strive to be if parents will seek the Lord most earnestly, and if children will cooperate with their parents. In His words and actions He manifested tender sympathy for all. His companionship was as a healing, soothing balm to the disheartened and depressed. 5BC 1117.2

No one, looking upon the childlike countenance, shining with animation, could say that Christ was just like other children. He was God in human flesh. When urged by His companions to do wrong, divinity flashed through humanity, and He refused decidedly. In a moment He distinguished between right and wrong, and placed sin in the light of God's commands, holding up the law as a mirror which reflected light upon wrong. It was this keen discrimination between right and wrong that often provoked Christ's brothers to anger. Yet His appeals and entreaties, and the sorrow expressed in His countenance, revealed such a tender, earnest love for them that they were ashamed of having tempted Him to deviate from His strict sense of justice and loyalty (The Youth's Instructor, September 8, 1898). 5BC 1117.3

40, 52. Growth in Knowledge and Service—Though He increased in knowledge, and the grace of God was upon Him, yet He did not become lifted up in pride, or feel that He was above doing the most humble toil. He took His share of the burden, together with His father, mother, and brethren. He toiled to sustain the family, and shared in the work that would meet the expenses of the household. Though His wisdom had astonished the doctors, yet He meekly subjected Himself to His human guardians, bore His part in the family burdens, and worked with His own hands as any toiler would work. It is stated of Jesus that (as He advanced in years) He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” 5BC 1117.4

The knowledge He was daily obtaining of His wonderful mission did not disqualify Him for performing the most humble duties. He cheerfully took up the work that devolves upon youth who dwell in humble households pressed by poverty. He understood the temptations of children; for He bore their sorrows and trials. Firm and steadfast was His purpose to do the right. Though enticed to evil, He refused to depart in a single instance from the strictest truth and rectitude. He maintained perfect filial obedience; but His spotless life aroused the envy and jealousy of His brethren. His childhood and youth were anything but smooth and joyous. His brethren did not believe on Him, and were annoyed because He did not in all things act as they did, and become one of them in the practice of evil. In His home life He was cheerful, but never boisterous. He ever maintained the attitude of a learner. He took great delight in nature, and God was His teacher (The Signs of the Times, July 30, 1896). 5BC 1117.5

The Light and Joy of the Family—Christ is the ideal for all humanity. He has left a perfect example for childhood, youth, and manhood. He came to this earth, and passed through the different phases of human life. He talked and acted like other children and youth, except that He did no wrong. Sin found no place in His life. Ever He lived in an atmosphere of heavenly purity. From childhood to manhood He preserved unsullied His trust in God. The Word says of Him, ... He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” 5BC 1117.6

In the sanctuary of the home, Jesus received His education, not merely from His parents, but from His heavenly Father. As He grew older, God opened to Him more and more of the great work before Him. But notwithstanding His knowledge of this, He assumed no airs of superiority. Never did He by disrespect cause His parents pain or anxiety. He delighted to honor and obey them. Although He was not ignorant of His great mission, He consulted their wishes, and submitted to their authority. 5BC 1117.7

Christ had been Commander of the heavenly host; but He did not because of this excuse Himself from labor, allowing His parents to support Him. While still quite young, He learned a trade, and faithfully discharged His daily duties, contributing to the support of the family. 5BC 1118.1

Christ was the light and joy of the family circle (The Youth's Instructor, August 22, 1901). 5BC 1118.2

41-49. No Lesson to Be Lost—Not one act in the life of Christ was unimportant. Every event of His life was for the benefit of His followers in future time. This circumstance of the tarry of Christ in Jerusalem teaches an important lesson to those who should believe on Him.... 5BC 1118.3

Jesus was acquainted with hearts. He knew that, as the crowd returned in company from Jerusalem, there would be much talking and visiting which would not be seasoned with humility and grace, and the Messiah and His mission would be nearly forgotten. It was His choice to return from Jerusalem with His parents alone; for in being retired, His father and mother would have more time for reflection, and for meditation upon the prophecies which referred to His future sufferings and death. He did not wish the painful events which they were to experience in His offering up His life for the sins of the world, to be new and unexpected to them. He was separated from them in their return to Jerusalem. After the celebration of the Passover, they sought Him sorrowing three days. When He should be slain for the sins of the world, He would be separated from them, lost to them, for three days. But after that, He would reveal Himself to them, and be found of them, and their faith rely upon Him as the Redeemer of the fallen race, the advocate with the Father in their behalf. 5BC 1118.4

Here is a lesson of instruction to all the followers of Christ. He designed that none of these lessons should be lost, but be written for the benefit of future generations. There is necessity of carefulness of words and actions when Christians are associated together, lest Jesus be forgotten of them, and they pass along careless of the fact that Jesus is not among them. When they are aroused to their condition, they discover that they have journeyed without the presence of Him who could give peace and joy to their hearts, and days are occupied in returning, and searching for Him whom they should have retained with them every moment. Jesus will not be found in the company of those who are careless of His presence, and who engage in conversation having no reference to their Redeemer, in whom they profess their hopes of eternal life are centered. Jesus shuns the company of such, so also do the angels who do His commands. These heavenly messengers are not attracted to the crowd where minds are diverted from heavenly things. These pure and holy spirits cannot remain in the company where Jesus’ presence is not desired and encouraged, and His absence not marked. For this reason, great mourning, grief, and discouragement exist. Through lack of meditation, watchfulness, and prayer, they have lost all that is valuable. The divine rays of light emanating from Jesus are not with them, cheering them with their loving, elevating influence. They are enshrouded in gloom, because their careless, irreverent spirit has separated Jesus from their company, and driven the ministering angels from them. Many who attend meetings of devotion, and have been instructed by the servants of God, and been greatly refreshed and blessed in seeking Jesus, have returned to their homes no better than they left them, because they did not feel the importance of praying and watching thereunto, as they returned to their homes. They frequently feel inclined to complain of others, because they realize their loss. Some murmur against God, and do not reproach themselves as being the cause of their own darkness, and sufferings of mind. These should not reflect upon others. The fault is in themselves. They talked and jested, and visited away the heavenly Guest, and themselves they have only to blame. It is the privilege of all to retain Jesus with them. If they do this, their words must be select, seasoned with grace. The thoughts of their hearts must be disciplined to meditate upon heavenly and divine things (The Spirit of Prophecy 2:35-38). 5BC 1118.5

46. A Pattern in Courtesy—After Joseph and Mary had searched for Him for three days, they found Him in the court of the temple, “sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.” He asked His questions with a grace that charmed these learned men. He was a perfect pattern for all youth. Ever He manifested deference and respect for age. The religion of Jesus will never lead any child to be rude and uncourteous (The Youth's Instructor, September 8, 1898). 5BC 1119.1

50, 51. A Constant Ministry—[Luke 2:50, 51 quoted.] Christ did not enter upon His public ministry for eighteen years after this, but He was constantly ministering to others, improving every opportunity offered Him. Even in His childhood He spoke words of comfort and tenderness to young and old. His mother could not but mark His words, His spirit, His willing obedience to all her requirements (The Youth's Instructor, September 8, 1898). 5BC 1119.2

51. See EGW on John 2:1, 2. 5BC 1119.3