Sabbath, June 20, 2009
“It is manifest that the power which works through the weakness of humanity is the power of God; and thus we are encouraged to believe that the power which can help others as weak as ourselves can help us. And those who are themselves ‘compassed with infirmity’ should be able to ‘have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way.’ Hebrews 5:2. Having been in peril themselves, they are acquainted with the dangers and difficulties of the way, and for this reason are called to reach out for others in like peril. There are souls perplexed with doubt, burdened with infirmities, weak in faith, and unable to grasp the Unseen; but a friend whom they can see, coming to them in Christ’s stead, can be a connecting link to fasten their trembling faith upon Christ.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 297.
THE GREAT NEED OF WORKERS
1. Looking upon the multitudes in need of the gospel, what did Jesus tell His disciples?
Matthew 9:36-38 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
“We are to be laborers together with the heavenly angels in presenting Jesus to the world. With almost impatient eagerness the angels wait for our cooperation; for man must be the channel to communicate with man. And when we give ourselves to Christ in wholehearted devotion, angels rejoice that they may speak through our voices to reveal God’s love.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 297.
2. Until what time of day did the householder continue to hire workers?
Matthew 20:6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
“In His earthly life the Saviour gives us an example of the hallowed lives that may be ours if we will devote our days to doing good to the souls that need our help. It is our privilege to bring joy to the sorrowful, light to the darkened, and life to the perishing. The Lord’s message comes to us, ‘Why stand ye here all the day idle; work while it is day; for the night cometh when no man can work.’ Every word we speak, every act we perform, that conduces to the happiness of others, will conduce to our own happiness, and make our lives like the life of Christ.” –Sons and Daughters of God, p. 42.
“Many fail to come up to the gospel standard; they have a selfish regard for their own interest and neglect to see what they can do to be a blessing to their fellow men. Christ wants no idlers in His vineyard. He requires that everyone shall work for time and for eternity.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 518.
ELECTION AND ORDINATION
3. How did the Master spend the night before ordaining the disciples? Why?
Luke 6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
“The Saviour knew the character of the men whom He had chosen; all their weaknesses and errors were open before Him; He knew the perils through which they must pass, the responsibility that would rest upon them; and His heart yearned over these chosen ones. Alone upon a mountain near the Sea of Galilee He spent the entire night in prayer for them, while they were sleeping at the foot of the mountain. With the first light of dawn He summoned them to meet Him; for He had something of importance to communicate to them.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 291, 292.
4. Due to this great need of workers, to what office did He call his disciples?
Mark 3:13 And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.
“It was beneath the sheltering trees of the mountainside, but a little distance from the Sea of Galilee, that the twelve were called to the apostolate, and the Sermon on the Mount was given.
“The first step was now to be taken in the organization of the church that after Christ’s departure was to be His representative on earth….
“Jesus had called His disciples that He might send them forth as His witnesses, to declare to the world what they had seen and heard of Him. Their office was the most important to which human beings had ever been called, and was second only to that of Christ Himself. They were to be workers together with God for the saving of the world. As in the Old Testament the twelve patriarchs stand as representatives of Israel, so the twelve apostles were to stand as representatives of the gospel church.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 290, 291.
5. What was the specific mission of these chosen ones?
Mark 3:14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach.
“When Jesus had ended His instruction to the disciples, He gathered the little band close about Him, and kneeling in the midst of them, and laying His hands upon their heads, He offered a prayer dedicating them to His sacred work. Thus the Lord’s disciples were ordained to the gospel ministry.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 296.
“It was at the ordination of the Twelve that the first step was taken in the organization of the church that after Christ’s departure was to carry on His work on the earth. Of this ordination the record says, ‘He goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto Him whom He would: and they came unto Him. And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach.’ Mark 3:13, 14.
“Look upon the touching scene. Behold the Majesty of heaven surrounded by the Twelve whom He has chosen. He is about to set them apart for their work. By these feeble agencies, through His word and Spirit, He designs to place salvation within the reach of all.” –Acts of the Apostles, p. 18.
MISSION AND SPECIAL POWER
6. According to the name they received, what was their mission from that point on?
Luke 6:13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles.
“As His representatives among men, Christ does not choose angels who have never fallen, but human beings, men of like passions with those they seek to save. Christ took upon Himself humanity, that He might reach humanity. Divinity needed humanity; for it required both the divine and the human to bring salvation to the world. Divinity needed humanity, that humanity might afford a channel of communication between God and man. So with the servants and messengers of Christ. Man needs a power outside of and beyond himself, to restore him to the likeness of God, and enable him to do the work of God; but this does not make the human agency unessential. Humanity lays hold upon divine power, Christ dwells in the heart by faith; and through cooperation with the divine, the power of man becomes efficient for good.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 296, 297.
7. What special power did they receive to carry out their mission?
Matthew 10:5-8 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
“In the light given me so long ago, I was shown that our own people, those who claimed to believe the present truth, should do this [preaching] work. How were they to do it? In accordance with the directions Christ gave His twelve disciples when He called them together and sent them forth to preach the gospel.
“‘When He had called unto Him His twelve disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.’” –Counsels on Health, p. 530.
THE SAME POWER HAS BEEN PROMISED FOR TODAY
“He who called the fisherman of Galilee is still calling men to His service. And He is just as willing to manifest His power through us as through the first disciples. However imperfect and sinful we may be, the Lord holds out to us the offer of partnership with Himself, of apprenticeship to Christ. He invites us to come under the divine instruction, that, uniting with Christ, we may work the works of God.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 297.