Have you ever heard someone say, “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away”? Luke 21:33. Everyone knows that a human being cannot make such a statement. Even if someone said it, it never happened. People speak many words that are as chaff that time scatters and that have no reality.
But not so with the words of Jesus. Has He given a principle? It has consistency and will pass every test. Has He given a promise? Even after decades and generations, He will not forget it; He will keep it and carry it out at the best time. Has He given a prophecy? Centuries may pass, but His words do not lose their power and will absolutely be fulfilled. “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35.
The Lord’s messages are not like the speeches of men. His word is powerful and effective, whether immediately or in time. When people asked to be healed, freedom and help were not delayed for months, weeks, or hours; they were imparted instantly. “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?”
“Lord, that I might receive my sight.”
“Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight,…” Mark 10:51, 52.
“Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all.” Mark 2:11, 12. These things happened because His words were from the Spirit of God and were life in themselves, as He said: “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63. They generate not only physical health and physical life but also spiritual healing and joy.
In this half year, we will continue to study the life, work, and teachings of Jesus, focusing on “receiving Jesus’ message.” In the gospel, we come directly in contact with the Saviour’s powerful word. What should we do when we hear His life-giving message to everyone? “Whosoever cometh to Me, and heareth My sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.” Luke 6:47, 48.
Confirming the wonderful power of the gospel message, the inspired messenger writes: “… Inestimable treasures are in the Bible, and it is like a mine full of precious ore…. Mercy and truth and love are valuable beyond our power to calculate; we cannot have too great a supply of these treasures, and it is in the word of God we find out how we may become possessors of these heavenly riches, and yet why is it that the word of God is uninteresting to many professed Christians? Is it because the word of God is not spirit and is not life? Has Jesus put upon us an uninteresting task, when He commands us to ‘search the Scriptures’? Jesus says, ‘The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.’… When the heart is brought into harmony with the word, a new life will spring up within you, a new light will shine upon every line of the word, and it will become the voice of God to your soul. In this way you will take celestial observations, and know whither you are going, and be able to make the most of your privileges today.” –Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp. 182, 183.
“When the heart is brought into harmony with the word, a new life will spring up within you, a new light will shine upon every line of the word, and it will become the voice of God to your soul. In this way you will take celestial observations, and know whither you are going, and be able to make the most of your privileges today.” –Christian Education, p. 80.
If the weekly lessons are scanned at the last moment just to answer a question, they will not provide much benefit for one’s spiritual life. As we need food every day to sustain life and active energy, so it is with our spiritual life. Lessons from the Holy Scriptures should be studied and meditated on every day, applying in our personal lives that which has been learned. Then they will bring about change in our spiritual lives and impart great blessing.
“Parents should search the Scriptures with their children. They should become familiar with the lessons themselves; then they can assist their children in learning them. Every day some portion of time should be appropriated to the study of the lessons, not merely in learning to mechanically repeat the words, while the mind does not comprehend the meaning; but to go to the very foundation, and become familiar with what is brought out in the lesson. The indifference of the children, in very many cases, is chargeable to the parents. They are indifferent, and the children catch the same spirit. If parents show that they attach importance to the Sabbath school, by giving it respect and prominence, the children will generally copy their example.” –Counsels on Sabbath School Work, pp. 53, 54.
“Jesus is the source of power, the fountain of life. He brings us to His word, and from the tree of life presents to us leaves for the healing of sin-sick souls. He leads us to the throne of God, and puts into our mouth a prayer through which we are brought into close contact with Himself. In our behalf He sets in operation the all-powerful agencies of heaven. At every step we touch His living power.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 478.
Let us use this opportunity to profit spiritually from the blessed Source of life and wisdom.
–The brothers and sisters of the General Conference
Special Sabbath School Offering for the
WEST AFRICAN MISSIONARY SCHOOL
Let your gifts reflect the blessings Heaven has given you!
Sabbath, July 6, 2013
“The Bible lays much stress upon the practice of hospitality. Not only does it enjoin hospitality as a duty, but it presents many beautiful pictures of the exercise of this grace and the blessings which it brings. Foremost among these is the experience of Abraham….
“These acts of courtesy God thought of sufficient importance to record in His word; and more than a thousand years later they were referred to by an inspired apostle: ‘Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.’ ” –The Adventist Home, p. 445.
Moving steadily toward the goal
1. Knowing that the final days of His mission were nearing, on what did Jesus focus?
Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.
“To the heart of Christ it was a bitter task to press His way against the fears, disappointment, and unbelief of His beloved disciples. It was hard to lead them forward to the anguish and despair that awaited them at Jerusalem. And Satan was at hand to press his temptations upon the Son of man. Why should He now go to Jerusalem, to certain death? All around Him were souls hungering for the bread of life. On every hand were suffering ones waiting for His word of healing. The work to be wrought by the gospel of His grace was but just begun. And He was full of the vigor of manhood’s prime. Why not go forward to the vast fields of the world with the words of His grace, the touch of His healing power?…
“But in God’s great plan the hour had been appointed for the offering of Himself for the sins of men, and that hour was soon to strike. He would not fail nor falter. His steps are turned toward Jerusalem, where His foes have long plotted to take His life; now He will lay it down. He set His face steadfastly to go to persecution, denial, rejection, condemnation, and death.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 486.
2. Through what region did He and His disciples have to pass to reach Jerusalem? Whom did Jesus send ahead to reserve rooms for them in a Samaritan village?
Luke 9:52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
“Upon one occasion Christ sent messengers before Him unto a village of the Samaritans, requesting the people to prepare refreshments for Himself and His disciples.” –The Sanctified Life, pp. 57, 58.
Kind reception and blessing
3. What did the disciples encounter when they went to the town and asked for hospitality? What was the reason for this rejection?
Luke 9:53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
“But the people refused to receive Him, because He was on His way to Jerusalem…. This they interpreted as meaning that Christ showed a preference for the Jews, whom they hated with intense bitterness. Had He come to restore the temple and worship upon Mount Gerizim, they would gladly have received Him; but He was going to Jerusalem, and they would show Him no hospitality. Little did they realize that they were turning from their doors the best gift of Heaven. Jesus invited men to receive Him. He asked favors at their hands, that He might come near to them, to bestow the richest blessings. For every favor manifested toward Him, He requited a more precious grace. But all was lost to the Samaritans because of their prejudice and bigotry.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 486, 487.
4. Unlike those Samaritans, what great sensitivity and hospitality characterized the patriarchs when they saw travelers passing their way? What special grace did the patriarchs receive without realizing who their visitors were?
Genesis 18:1-5 And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.
Genesis 19:1-3 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.
Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
“The privilege granted Abraham and Lot is not denied to us. By showing hospitality to God’s children we, too, may receive His angels into our dwellings. Even in our day angels in human form enter the homes of men and are entertained by them. And Christians who live in the light of God’s countenance are always accompanied by unseen angels, and these holy beings leave behind them a blessing in our homes.” –The Adventist Home, p. 445.
Human reaction to discourtesy
5. What negative response came from two of Jesus’ disciples? How would we feel if, because of some prejudice, we also would be refused entrance into a village or town?
Luke 9:54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
“The disciples knew that it was the purpose of Christ to bless the Samaritans by His presence; and the coldness, jealousy, and disrespect shown to their Master filled them with surprise and indignation. James and John especially were aroused. That He whom they so highly reverenced should be thus treated, seemed to them a wrong too great to be passed over without immediate punishment.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 540, 541.
“James and John, Christ’s messengers, were greatly annoyed at the insult shown to their Lord. They were filled with indignation because He had been so rudely treated by the Samaritans whom He was honoring by His presence. They had recently been with Him on the mount of transfiguration, and had seen Him glorified by God, and honored by Moses and Elijah. This manifest dishonor on the part of the Samaritans, should not, they thought, be passed over without Marked punishment.
“Coming to Christ, they reported to Him the words of the people, telling Him that they had even refused to give Him a night’s lodging. They thought that a grievous wrong had been done Him, and seeing Mount Carmel in the distance, where Elijah had slain the false prophets, they said, ‘Wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?’ ” –The Desire of Ages, p. 487.
Making a place for the best Guest
6. What reception did Jesus find in another Samaritan village? How was He received by His own people? At what door is He still knocking today?
Luke 9:56, last part And they went to another village.
John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
“As a nation, the people of Israel, while desiring the advent of the Messiah, were so far separated from God in heart and life that they could have no true conception of the character or mission of the promised Redeemer…. Their own pride of heart, and their false conceptions of His character and mission, would prevent them from honestly weighing the evidences of His Messiahship.
“For more than a thousand years the Jewish people had awaited the coming of the promised Saviour. Their brightest hopes had rested upon this event. For a thousand years, in song and prophecy, in temple rite and household prayer, His name had been enshrined; and yet when He came, they did not recognize Him as the Messiah for whom they had so long waited. ‘He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.’ John 1:11. To their world-loving hearts the Beloved of heaven was ‘as a root out of a dry ground.’ In their eyes He had ‘no form nor comeliness;’ they discerned in Him no beauty that they should desire Him. Isaiah 53:2.” –Prophets and Kings, pp. 709, 710.
7. Is it difficult for us to see and recognize our own errors? What may we learn from the Redeemer’s answer?
Luke 9:55, 56 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.
“They were surprised to see that Jesus was pained by their words, and still more surprised as His rebuke fell upon their ears….
“It is no part of Christ’s mission to compel men to receive Him. It is Satan, and men actuated by his spirit, that seek to compel the conscience. Under a pretense of zeal for righteousness, men who are confederate with evil angels bring suffering upon their fellow men, in order to convert them to their ideas of religion; but Christ is ever showing mercy, ever seeKings to win by the revealing of His love. He can admit no rival in the soul, nor accept of partial service; but He desires only voluntary service, the willing surrender of the heart under the constraint of love. There can be no more conclusive evidence that we possess the spirit of Satan than the disposition to hurt and destroy those who do not appreciate our work, or who act contrary to our ideas….
“Every human being, in body, soul, and spirit, is the property of God. Christ died to redeem all. Nothing can be more offensive to God than for men, through religious bigotry, to bring suffering upon those who are the purchase of the Saviour’s blood.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 487, 488.
“But when the Saviour approached the town, He appeared to be passing on toward Jerusalem. This aroused the enmity of the Samaritans, and instead of sending messengers to invite and even urge Him to tarry with them, they withheld the courtesies which they would have given to a common wayfarer. Jesus never urges His presence upon any, and the Samaritans lost the blessing which would have been granted them had they solicited Him to be their guest.
“We may wonder at this uncourteous treatment of the Majesty of heaven, but how frequently are we who profess to be the followers of Christ guilty of similar neglect. Do we urge Jesus to take up His abode in our hearts and in our homes? He is full of love, of grace, of blessing, and stands ready to bestow these gifts upon us; but, like the Samaritans, we are often content without them.” –The Sanctified Life, p. 58.