Sabbath, April 2, 2005
“Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1, 2. There are many things around us that call our attention. In our society today life is rather hectic.
We have many responsibilities, many things to take care of, and sometimes we fall victims of stress and even depression, because we do not seem to be able to cope. This text speaks of a race-a completely different kind- the race of faith. The Christian has a very definite goal ahead of him but he is not alone, neither is he in darkness. The Lord’s Word is a lamp unto his path (Psalm 119:105) and we are invited to run the race “with patience” since we are not competing, but are already victors if we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus who gives us faith, strengthens it and perfects it.
Therefore, in these lessons we shall study the different roles Jesus had during His life on earth: as a member of a family in His role of child and son, and as a member of society in His role of friend, teacher, preacher and healer. We shall also concentrate on some outstanding traits of His character that are perfect examples for us, such as His humility, patience, mercy, righteousness and spirit of self-denial. But to be Christ-like does not consist only in being an imitation of the perfect Pattern, but in the implantation of Christ’s nature in us by the working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. To this end, we shall study Jesus’ life of prayer so that we may realize the importance of a constant dialogue with God in order for this miracle to take place in our lives. The culminating point of Jesus’ mission on this earth was His death on the cross to pay for our debts to heaven and set us free from the bondage of sin. His ultimate goal for us is our sanctification. Nothing that we shall study during this quarter is new to any of us. As members of the church of the last period, we are rich in knowledge, although wanting in such important things as genuine faith, an experience with Christ’s righteousness and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. “Jesus represents himself as a merchantman, walking to and fro before our doors, and crying, ‘Buy of me gold, and white raiment, and eyesalve.’
Will we take his merchandise? We have a whole Saviour, who is able to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by him. I want to be like him; I want to be with him through the ceaseless ages of eternity. Immortality and an eternal weight of glory will be given to those who have their lives hid with Christ in God.” Review and Herald, July 16, 1889.
The purpose of these lessons is that they may act as a mirror that should lead us to an awareness of our own condition, the high standard set by Heaven, and to a life of prayer and constant pleading with God. If in some way the study of these Bible texts and testimonies brings us to a closer dependence on our heavenly Father and a real communion with Jesus, they will have fulfilled their purpose.
May the Lord open our hearts to the holy influence of His Spirit so that when He comes in the clouds of heaven He may find us prepared for eternity with Him.
“And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit.” Luke 1:80.
• To see in what ways Jesus is an example for every child and young person.
• To understand that children also have a responsibility before God.
• To learn and know what is most important in the education of a child.
• To realize the role parents have in the Christian education of their children.
JESUS AS AN EXEMPLARY CHILD
1. What information do we have in the Scriptures and the Testimonies about Jesus’ childhood?
Luke 2:40, 52 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him… And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
“In childhood Jesus did the works of an obedient child. He spoke and acted with the wisdom of a child, and not of a man, honoring His parents and carrying out their wishes in helpful ways, according to the ability of a child. But at each stage of His development He was perfect, with the simple, natural grace of a sinless life.” – Child Guidance, pp. 204, 205.
“His mind was active and penetrating, with a thoughtfulness and wisdom beyond His years. Yet His character was beautiful in its symmetry. The powers of mind and body developed gradually, in
“As a child, Jesus manifested a peculiar loveliness of disposition. His willing hands were ever ready to serve others. He manifested a patience that nothing could disturb, and a truthfulness that would never sacrifice integrity. In principle firm as a rock, His life revealed the grace of unselfish courtesy.” – The Desire of Ages, pp. 68, 69.
2. Considering that Jesus was the Son of God, was his childhood easier than that of an ordinary child?
Revelation 12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
Matthew 2:3, 8, 13 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him… And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also… And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
“When Jesus came into the world, Satan’s power was turned against Him. From the time when He appeared as a babe in Bethlehem, the usurper worked to bring about His destruction. In every possible way he sought to prevent Jesus from developing a perfect childhood, a faultless manhood, a holy ministry, and an unblemished sacrifice.”
“Young companions urged Him to do as they did. …they enjoyed His presence, and welcomed His ready suggestions; but they were impatient at His scruples, and pronounced Him narrow and strait-laced.”
“… His brothers… did not believe that He was the Sent of God.”
“It was necessary for Him to be constantly on guard in order to preserve His purity… “
“…No child of humanity will ever be called to live a holy life amid so fierce a conflict with temptation as was our Saviour.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 759, 89, 90, 71.
3. Did Jesus conform to the life style of the times in which he lived and the demands of society on a young person?
Matthew 4:9, 10 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
John 5:39 (first part) Search the scriptures…
“The childhood of Jesus, spent in poverty, had been uncorrupted by the artificial habits of a corrupt age. Working at the carpenter’s bench, bearing the burdens of home life, learning the lessons of obedience and toil, He found recreation amidst the scenes of nature, gathering knowledge as He sought to understand nature’s mysteries. He studied the word of God, and His hours of greatest happiness were found when He could turn aside from the
scene of His labors to go into the fields, to meditate in the quiet valleys, to hold communion with God on the mountainside or amid the trees of the forest.” –Ministry of Healing, p. 52.
“Jesus did not, like many youth, devote His time to amusement.
He studied the word until He became familiar with its sayings. Even in His childhood His life and all His habits were in harmony with the Scriptures, and He was skillful in their use.” –Counsels to Teachers, p. 178.
HOW JESUS RELATES TO CHILDREN
4. What can be expected from a child?
Proverbs 1:8, 9 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.
Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
“In childhood He
5. Can Jesus understand children? Is He interested in them at all?
Luke 18:16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
“Jesus was interested in children. He did not step into our world a fully matured man. Had He done this, children would not have had His example to copy. Christ was a child; He had the experience of a child; He felt the disappointments and trials that children feel; He knew the temptations of children and youth… If Christ had never been a child Himself, the youth might now think that He could not sympathize with them. But He lived their example, and all children and youth may find in Jesus one to whom they can carry all their griefs and all their disappointments, and in Him they will find a Friend who will help them.” –Counsels on Sabbath School Work, pp. 54, 55.
6. What did Jesus like about children? What did he see in them?
Job 33:9 I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.
Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
“When wearied with the bustle and confusion of the crowded city, tired of contact with crafty and hypocritical men, His spirit found rest and peace in the society of innocent little children.” –Counsels to Teachers, p. 179.
“In these children who were brought in contact with Him, Jesus saw the future men and women who should be heirs of His grace and subjects of His kingdom, and some of whom would become martyrs for His sake. He knew that these children would listen to Him and accept Him as their Redeemer far more readily than would the grown people, many of whom were worldly-wise and hardhearted.” –Special Testimonies on Education, pp. 62-66. May 17, 1896.
THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN
7. Did Jesus attend any special schools at a tender age as children do today?
“The child Jesus did not receive instruction in the synagogue schools. His mother was His first human teacher. From her lips and from the scrolls of the prophets, He learned of heavenly things… He needed not the education to be obtained from such sources; for God was His instructor.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 70.
“He applied Himself diligently to a study of the Scriptures, for He knew them to be full of invaluable instruction.” –Counsels to Teachers, p. 260.
“…He gathered stores of scientific knowledge from nature. He studied the life of plants and animals, and the life of man…” –The Desire of Ages, p. 70.
8. How can parents contribute to the development of a Christian character in their children?
Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
2 Timothy 1: 5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
“Eternal vigilance must be manifested with regard to our children. They must strive in the love and fear of God to preoccupy the garden of the heart, sowing the good seeds of a right spirit, correct habits, and the love and fear of God.
“Obedience to parental authority must be inculcated in babyhood, childhood, and youth. The will of the parents must be under the discipline of Christ. Molded and controlled by God’s pure, Holy Spirit, they may establish unquestioned dominion over the children.” –Notebook Leaflets from the Elmshaven Library, vol. 1, p. 94.
“If we wish our children to possess the tender spirit of Jesus, and the sympathy that angels manifest for us, we must encourage the generous, loving impulses of childhood.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 516.
9. Is it wise to provide our children with a wealth of material things and give them much free time for recreation?
Proverbs 30:8, 9 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
“The parents of Jesus were poor, and dependent upon their daily toil. He was familiar with poverty, self-denial, and privation. This experience was a safeguard to Him. In His industrious life there were no idle moments to invite temptation. No aimless hours opened the way for corrupting associations. So far as possible, He closed the door to the tempter. Neither gain nor pleasure, applause nor censure, could induce Him to consent to a wrong act.
He was wise to discern evil, and strong to resist it.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 72. “The hours of study and recreation should be carefully regulated, and a portion of the time should be spent in physical labor.” –Christian Education, p. 183.
“Our great adversary is constantly working with power to allure the youth to self indulgence, pride, and extravagance, that their minds and hearts may be so fully taken up with these things that there will be no place for God in their affections. He is by these means warping the character and dwarfing the intellect of the youth of this generation. It is the duty of parents to counteract his working.” –Testimonies on Sabbath School, p. 99.
FOR MEDITATION AND FURTHER STUDY
• Are we preparing our children for the time of affliction that is ahead of us? Read about the education of the Waldensian youth in The Great Controversy, p. 67.
• Think about the fact that we relate to our own children in the same way we relate to the child within us, and that we cannot help someone overcome what we have not yet overcome ourselves.
• Examine whether our children are exerting an influence for good on other children in school or whether they are becoming, little by little, more like the world.
• Read and meditate upon chapter 13 of Counsels on Diet and Foods, and study section IV of Child Guidance.
• Mothers, be comforted with these thoughts:
“Jesus knows the burden of every mother’s heart. He who had a mother that struggled with poverty and privation sympathizes with every mother in her labors. He who made a long journey in order to relieve the anxious heart of a Canaanite woman will do as much for the mothers of today.
He who gave back to the widow of Nain her only son, and who in His agony upon the cross remembered His own mother, is touched today by the mother’s sorrow. In every grief and every need He will give comfort and help.
“Let mothers come to Jesus with their perplexities. They will find grace sufficient to aid them in the management of their children. The gates are open for every mother who would lay her burdens at the Saviour’s feet.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 512.