Sabbath, January 10, 2004
“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8.
• To understand the nature and breadth of the mission and ministry of Jesus here on earth.
• To truly understand the great evidence of His love for the lost human being.
• To walk precisely in the way He has prepared for us.
• To constantly meditate on the joyful goal God has prepared for us.
THE MISSION AND MINISTRY OF JESUS
1. How did Jesus Christ manifest the love of the Father in His ministry?
Matthew 9:35 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.
“This was His work. He went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by Satan. There were whole villages where there was not a moan of sickness in any house, for He had passed through them and healed all their sick. His work gave evidence of His divine anointing. Love, mercy, and compassion were revealed in every act of His life; His heart went out in tender sympathy to the children of men.” – Steps to Christ, pp. 11, 12.
2. Why did Jesus take upon Himself human nature?
Hebrews 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
“He took man’s nature, that He might reach man’s wants. The poorest and humblest were not afraid to approach Him. Even little children were attracted to Him. They loved to climb upon His knees and gaze into the pensive face, benignant with love.” – Steps to Christ, p. 12.
EVIDENCE OF HIS LOVE
3. In what manner did Jesus manifest truth and love?
Matthew 12:19-21 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.
“Jesus did not suppress one word of truth, but He uttered it always in love. He exercised the greatest tact and thoughtful, kind attention in His intercourse with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe
word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He spoke the truth, but always in love.” – Steps to Christ, p. 12.
4. What was heard in Jesus’ voice when He rebuked others? Luke 19:41.
Luke 19:41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it.
“He denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity; but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes. He wept over Jerusalem, the city He loved, which refused to receive Him, the way, the truth, and the life. They had rejected Him, the Saviour, but He regarded them with pitying tenderness. His life was one of self-denial and thoughtful care for others. Every soul was precious in His eyes. While He ever bore Himself with divine dignity, He bowed with the tenderest regard to every member of the family of God. In all men He saw fallen souls whom it was His mission to save.” – Steps to Christ, p. 12.
THE WAY TO GOD
5. How may I get to know the character of God?
John 14:8, 9 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
“Such is the character of Christ as revealed in His life. This is the character of God. It is from the Father’s heart that the streams of divine compassion, manifest in Christ, flow out to the children of men. Jesus, the tender, pitying Saviour, was God ‘manifest in the flesh.’ 1 Timothy 3:16.
“It was to redeem us that Jesus lived and suffered and died. He became ‘a Man of Sorrows,’ that we might be made partakers of everlasting joy. God permitted His beloved Son, full of grace and truth, to come from a world of indescribable glory, to a world marred and blighted with sin, darkened with the shadow of death and the curse. He permitted Him to leave the bosom of His love, the adoration of the angels, to suffer shame, insult, humiliation,
hatred, and death. ‘The chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.’ Isaiah 53:5.” – Steps to Christ, pp. 12, 13.
6. What do I understand when I behold Jesus on the cross? Isaiah 53:5.
Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
“Behold Him in the wilderness, in Gethsemane, upon the cross! The spotless Son of God took upon Himself the burden of sin. He who had been one with God, felt in His soul the awful separation that sin makes between God and man. This wrung from His lips the anguished cry, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ Matthew 7:46. It was the burden of sin, the sense of its terrible enormity, of its separation of the soul from God–it was this that broke the heart of the Son of God.” – Steps to Christ, p. 13.
THE JOYFUL GOAL GOD HAS FOR US
7. What was the purpose of God in permitting Jesus to live amongst men? 1 John 4:9, 10.
1 John 4:9, 10 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
“ ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son.’ He gave Him not only to live among men, to bear their sins, and die their sacrifice. He gave Him to the fallen race. Christ was to identify Himself with the interests and needs of humanity. He who was one with God has linked Himself with the children of men by ties that are never to be roken. Jesus is ‘not ashamed to call them brethren’ (Hebrews 2:11); He is our Sacrifice, our Advocate, our Brother, bearing our human form before the Father’s throne, and through eternal ages one with the race He has redeemed–the Son of man. And all this that man might be uplifted from the ruin and degradation of sin that he might reflect the love of God and share the joy of holiness.” – Steps to Christ, p. 14.
8. What will be seen in me when I come to understand the height, the depth, and the breadth of the love of the Father, just like the apostle John did? Revelation 4:11. What can we see when we study the divine character of Jesus?
Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
“The price paid for our redemption, the infinite sacrifice of our heavenly Father in giving His Son to die for us, should give us exalted conceptions of what we may become through Christ. As the inspired apostle John beheld the height, the depth, the breadth of the Father’s love toward the perishing race, he was filled with adoration and reverence; and, failing to find suitable language in which to express the greatness and tenderness of this love, he called upon the world to behold it. ‘Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.’ 1 John 3:1. What a value this places upon man! Through transgression the sons of man become subjects of Satan. Through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ the sons of Adam may become the sons of God. By assuming human nature, Christ elevates humanity. Fallen men are placed where, through connection with Christ, they may indeed become worthy of the name ‘sons of God.’
“Such love is without a parallel. Children of the heavenly King! Precious promise! Theme for the most profound meditation! The matchless love of God for a world that did not love Him! The thought has a subduing power upon the soul and brings the mind into captivity to the will of God. The more we study the divine character in the light of the cross, the more we see mercy, tenderness, and forgiveness blended with equity and justice, and the more clearly we discern innumerable evidences of a love that is infinite and a tender pity surpassing a mother’s yearning sympathy for her wayward child.” – Steps to Christ, p. 15.
• To what extent do we understand the mission and ministry of Jesus?
• What is the way chosen by God for us to enable us to daily obtain more of His knowledge?
• What does the knowledge of the fact that God has your salvation in mind cause your heart to feel?