Sabbath, May 1, 2004
“…It is the work of every one to whom the message of warning has come, to lift up Jesus, to present Him to the world as revealed in types, as shadowed in symbols, as manifested in the revelations of the prophets, as unveiled in the lessons given to His disciples and in the wonderful miracles wrought for the sons of men.” –Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 363.
• To become aware of what the Lord can accomplish in the short period of three days.
• To keep in mind that we must go through the same experience that Jesus went through in His life here on earth: death, rest, and resurrection.
• To seriously consider what God’s goal is for us personally and as a people.
IN THREE DAYS A GREAT WORK MAY BE ACCOMPLISHED
1. To which particular experience in the life of the prophet Jonah did Jesus make reference to in order to prove the divine origin of His mission?
Jonah 2:1 Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly.
Matthew 12:38-40 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
“ ‘And He sighed deeply in His spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign?’ ‘There shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.’ As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, Christ was to be the same time ‘in the heart of the earth.’ And as the preaching of Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so Christ’s preaching was a sign to His generation.” – The Desire of Ages, p. 406.
2. What was Jonah’s experience during those three days?
Jonah 2:4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.
3. What is the spiritual meaning of the three-day period in the prophet Hosea’s message to the Israelites? Is this a short or a long time?
Hosea 6:2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
“The change in human hearts, the transformation of human characters, is a miracle that reveals an ever-living Savior, working to rescue souls. A consistent life in Christ is a great miracle. In the preaching of the word of God, the sign that should be manifest now and always is the presence of the Holy Spirit, to make the word a regenerating power to those that hear. This is God’s witness before the world to the divine mission of His Son.” – The Desire of Ages, p. 407.
THREE DAYS OF SIGNIFICATIVE EVENTS IN THE LIFE OF JESUS
THE DAY OF DEATH
4. What singular experience in the nature of man is represented by the death of Christ?
Romans 6:1-4, 7 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life…For he that is dead is freed from sin.
2 Corinthians 5:14, 15 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
“And all who would bring forth fruit as workers together with Christ must first fall into the ground and die. The life must be cast into the furrow of the world’s need. Self-love, self-interest, must perish.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 86.
“The love of Christ in the heart is what is needed. Self is in need of being crucified. When self is submerged in Christ, true love springs forth spontaneously. It is not an emotion or an impulse, but a decision of a sanctified will. It consists not in feeling, but in the transformation of the whole heart, soul, and character, which is dead to self and alive unto God. Our Lord and Saviour asks us to give ourselves to Him. Surrendering self to God is all He requires, giving ourselves to Him to be employed as He sees fit. Until we come to this point of surrender, we shall not work happily, usefully, or successfully anywhere.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, pp. 1100, 1101.
THE DAY OF REST
5. What spiritual lesson does Christ’s rest in the grave during the Sabbath hours teach us?
Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Hebrews 4: 4-10 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, if they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
“We are to find rest by wearing His yoke and bearing His burdens. In being co-workers with Christ in the great work for which He gave His life, we shall find true rest. When we were sinners, He gave His life for us. He wants us to come to Him and learn of Him. Thus we are to find rest. He says He will give us rest. ‘Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.’ In doing this you will find in your own experience the rest that Christ gives, the rest that comes from wearing His yoke and lifting His burdens.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1090.
THE DAY OF TRIUMPH AND VICTORY
6. What spiritual experience does the resurrection and new life of Jesus symbolize for us?
Romans 6:9-11 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
“Through faith, irrespective of feeling, Jesus, the Author of our salvation, the Finisher of our faith, will, by His precious grace, strengthen the moral powers, and the sinner may reckon himself ‘to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ.’ Simple faith, with the love of Christ in the soul, unites the believer to God.” – Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 147.
GOD’S HIGH GOAL FOR US
7. What high level of spiritual maturity is the heavenly goal for every believer and for the people of God?
Colossians 1:29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
“God desires His people to show by their lives the advantage of Christianity over worldliness, to show that they are working on a high, holy plane. He longs to see them showing that the truth they have received has made them children of the heavenly King. He longs to make them channels through which He can pour His boundless love and mercy. “Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of the Saviour shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim His own.” – Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 324.
• Do you think that in a short while the Lord can also do a great work in your life?
• What has your personal experience regarding death to sin until now been like?
• Can you say that you have found rest in the Lord and are living in the atmosphere of heaven daily?
• What do you think will help us to reach the goal of a perfect Christlike character?