Sabbath, July 15, 2017
“Christ gave no ecclesiastical right to forgive sin, nor to sell indulgences, that men may sin without incurring the displeasure of God, nor did He give His servants liberty to accept a gift or bribe for cloaking sin, that it may escape merited censure. Jesus charged His disciples to preach the remission of sin in His name among all nations; but they themselves were not empowered to remove one stain of sin from the children of Adam…. Whoever would attract the people to himself as one in whom is invested power to forgive sins, incurs the wrath of God, for he turns souls away from the heavenly Pardoner to a weak and erring mortal.” – (Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, pp. 245, 246) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1151.
Messengers bearing startling news
1. When the two disciples arrived in Jerusalem with their good news, what were the other disciples talking about?
Luke 24:33-35 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, 34Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 35And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.
“On reaching Jerusalem the two disciples … go to the upper chamber where Jesus spent the hours of the last evening before His death. Here they know that their brethren are to be found. Late as it is, they know that the disciples will not sleep till they learn for a certainty what has become of the body of their Lord…. They knock for admission, but no answer comes. All is still. Then they give their names. The door is carefully unbarred, they enter, and Another, unseen, enters with them. Then the door is again fastened, to keep out spies.
“The travelers find all in surprised excitement. The voices of those in the room break out into thanksgiving and praise, saying, ‘The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.’ Then the two travelers, panting with the haste with which they have made their journey, tell the wondrous story of how Jesus has appeared to them.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 802
The risen Saviour appears
2. As the disciples spoke together, what greeting did they hear? Who appeared among them? What effect did His presence have?
Luke 24:36, 37 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 37But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
“They have just ended, and some are saying that they cannot believe it, for it is too good to be true, when behold, another Person stands before them. Every eye is fastened upon the stranger. No one has knocked for entrance. No footstep has been heard. The disciples are startled, and wonder what it means. Then they hear a voice which is no other than the voice of their Master. Clear and distinct the words fall from His lips, ‘Peace be unto you.’
“ ‘But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.’ ” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 802, 803.
3. What did Jesus do to convince them that He had really risen from the dead? After they saw His wounds, how did their thoughts change?
Luke 24:38-40 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. 40And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet.
John 20:20, 21, first part And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. 21Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you:…
“They beheld the hands and feet marred by the cruel nails. They recognized His voice, like no other they had ever heard…. Faith and joy took the place of unbelief, and with feelings which no words could express they acknowledged their risen Saviour….
“Now at His first appearance to the disciples after His resurrection, the Saviour addressed them with the blessed words, ‘Peace be unto you.’ Jesus is ever ready to speak peace to souls that are burdened with doubts and fears.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 803, 804.
“This is the work of salvation…. Christ has vanquished! This is the joyful news; and we are saved by His work, and not by our own…. Our Lord Jesus Christ said, ‘Peace be unto you; behold My hands;’ that is to say, Behold, O man! It is I, I alone, who have taken away thy sin, and ransomed thee; and now thou hast peace, saith the Lord.” –The Great Controversy, p. 152.
Promise of the future resurrection
4. What does Jesus’ resurrection show about the future resurrection of the redeemed? What will happen to their identity? Will it be retained so they are recognizable by their friends and loved ones?
1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
“The resurrection of Jesus was a type of the final resurrection of all who sleep in Him. The countenance of the risen Saviour, His manner, His speech, were all familiar to His disciples. As Jesus arose from the dead, so those who sleep in Him are to rise again. We shall know our friends, even as the disciples knew Jesus. They may have been deformed, diseased, or disfigured, in this mortal life, and they rise in perfect health and symmetry; yet in the glorified body their identity will be perfectly preserved. Then shall we know even as also we are known. 1 Corinthians 13:12. In the face radiant with the light shining from the face of Jesus, we shall recognize the lineaments of those we love.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 804.
Explaining the prophecies
5. What did Jesus tell His disciples to convince them that His death was not something strange and unexpected? What did they begin to understand?
Luke 24:44-48 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48And ye are witnesses of these things.
“When Jesus met with His disciples, He reminded them of the words He had spoken to them before His death, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms concerning Him….
“The disciples began to realize the nature and extent of their work. They were to proclaim to the world the wonderful truths which Christ had entrusted to them. The events of His life, His death and resurrection, the prophecies that pointed to these events, the sacredness of the law of God, the mysteries of the plan of salvation, the power of Jesus for the remission of sins–to all these things they were witnesses, and they were to make them known to the world. They were to proclaim the gospel of peace and salvation through repentance and the power of the Saviour.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 804, 805.
The gift of service
6. What special gift did the Lord give them? How is the granting of this sacred trust to be understood?
John 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.
“The Holy Spirit was not yet fully manifested; for Christ had not yet been glorified. The more abundant impartation of the Spirit did not take place till after Christ’s ascension…. The Spirit was now given for a special purpose. Before the disciples could fulfill their official duties in connection with the church, Christ breathed His Spirit upon them. He was committing to them a most sacred trust, and He desired to impress them with the fact that without the Holy Spirit this work could not be accomplished.
“The Holy Spirit is the breath of spiritual life in the soul. The impartation of the Spirit is the impartation of the life of Christ. It imbues the receiver with the attributes of Christ. Only those who are thus taught of God, those who possess the inward working of the Spirit, and in whose life the Christ-life is manifested, are to stand as representative men, to minister in behalf of the church.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 805.
7. What did Jesus say about forgiving sins? Were the disciples personally authorized to forgive people’s sins?
John 20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
“Christ gave no ecclesiastical right to forgive sin, nor to sell indulgences, that men may sin without incurring the displeasure of God…. Jesus charged His disciples to preach the remission of sin in His name among all nations; but they themselves were not empowered to remove one stain of sin from the children of Adam.” –Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, p. 245.
“… On the church in its organized capacity He places a responsibility for the individual members. Toward those who fall into sin, the church has a duty, to warn, to instruct, and if possible to restore…. Leave none to deceive themselves. Call sin by its right name. Declare what God has said in regard to lying, Sabbath breaking, stealing, idolatry, and every other evil. ‘They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.’ Galatians 5:21. If they persist in sin, the judgment you have declared from God’s word is pronounced upon them in heaven. In choosing to sin, they disown Christ; the church must show that she does not sanction their deeds, or she herself dishonors her Lord.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 805, 806.
For additional study
“The act of Christ in breathing upon His disciples the Holy Ghost, and in imparting His peace to them, was as a few drops before the plentiful shower to be given on the day of Pentecost…. They were appointed to be witnesses for the Saviour; they were to testify what they had seen and heard of His resurrection; they were to repeat the gracious words which proceeded from His lips. They were acquainted with His holy character; He was as an angel standing in the sun, yet casting no shadow. It was the sacred work of the apostles to present the spotless character of Christ to men, as the standard for their lives. The disciples had been so intimately associated with this Pattern of holiness that they were in some degree assimilated to Him in character, and were specially fitted to make known to the world His precepts and example.” –(Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, pp. 243, 244) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1151.