Other Articles on Jesus, Our Savior
Communion with Jesus
Vignettes of Jesus
Vignettes of Jesus
When Jesus inquired in the Temple of Jerusalem at an early
age respecting the
“Father’s business,” and how he
should go about it. He found the Law instructed that it would not be
proper for him to engage in the Father’s business until he was
thirty years of age. In consideration of this fact he desisted and
served his parents.
The momentous time for which he had been waiting
for eighteen years had come. He hastened to present himself at the
earliest moment, that his service should not be delayed.
Notice the quiet, unostentatious, meek manner in
which our Redeemer began the announcement of his mission. Quietly he
presented himself to John for baptism.
into the Wilderness
Jesus was led of the spirit—his own spirit,
illuminated by the spirit-baptism which he had just received—to
go apart from John and the concourse of people into quiet solitude.
Mark says he was impelled or
“driven” of the spirit into
the wilderness. The thought we get is that there was a great
pressure upon our Lord’s mind at this time.
Now, under the enlightenment of the holy spirit,
instead of beginning his ministry precipitately, Jesus felt that he
must know definitely the proper course to pursue. He must not make a
mistake at the very out-start of his service. He must know the
Father’s will, that he might render his service in harmony
Such motives impelled him to seek solitude for
thought and prayer, and for reviewing the various Scriptures which
hitherto he had studied and but imperfectly comprehended, but which
now began to be luminous under the influence of the holy spirit
which he had received. Jesus went into absolute seclusion in the
wilderness for more than a month. For forty days our Lord studied
what the God through the scriptures had arranged to be his course.
True, he did not have the Bible as we do. But he
had a perfect memory. For thirty years he had heard the reading of
the Law and the prophets in the Synagogue and was thoroughly
familiar with them. He had the entire matter before his mind. Under
the light of the holy Spirit he weighed the various declarations of
the Law and prophets. He noted the course of sacrifice which these
meant. Jesus’ temptation came in the suggestion that easier, less
sacrificing courses seemed to present themselves as feasible.
A Lesson for Us
How proper it would be that all of the Lord’s
people, when they have made a consecration of themselves to the
divine service, should be impelled by the new mind, the new spirit,
to go apart first and to commune with the Father, and to study his
Word respecting how they should render their lives most acceptable
in his service! Were this course pursued how many lives would be
totally different from what they are. How many failures and changes
and turnings, hither and thither, would be avoided!
Forty Days and Nights
So intent had been his study, and so earnest his
desire for quiet fellowship with the Father and his Law, that forty
days were spent under such conditions, and apparently so deeply
absorbed was our Lord that he did not even think of food. Nor does
this appear so strange to us, when we remember that he was perfect,
while we are imperfect, physically as well as otherwise.
“He afterward hungered.”
The season had been a precious one, and
undoubtedly the close of that forty-day period saw the Lord fairly
well equipped in an understanding of the divine arrangement
respecting the necessity for his death. But just at that juncture,
when he was weak from his long fast and probably also from lack of
sleep– for he probably was so deeply engrossed respecting the
study of the divine plan that he neither ate nor slept those forty
days—at this juncture of his extreme physical enervation came the
adversary’s chief besetments.
True, through the forty days, while thinking of
the divine arrangements, there were opportunities for questioning
the wisdom of the divine arrangement; but these apparently were all
nullified in the Lord’s zeal to know and do the Father’s will.
Hence the temptations recorded are those following the fasting.
After forty days, Jesus returned to John, seeking
companionship with those who were nearest to the Lord and waiting
for divine providence to guide in his affairs.
In the presence of his disciples, John the
Baptist prophesied of Jesus, saying,
“Behold the Lamb of God
which taketh away the sin of the world.” Andrew and John were
disciples of John the Baptist, and when they thus heard his
testimony respecting Jesus and the declaration that he had a witness
from God that Jesus was the Messiah, they sought the Lord’s
acquaintance. They followed after him, overtook him, and inquired
where he was stopping. Apparently their object was to learn of him,
to ascertain what further blessings the Lord had, and what further
service than that they had engaged in with John the Baptist. They
wanted the best that was to be had.
John does not mention the other disciple that
went with Andrew on this occasion, but this seems to have been his
modest style of omitting special mention of himself. The two spent
the remainder of the day with the Lord, and doubtless
him,” much to their comfort and joy and the establishment of
their faith. The record is
“They abode with him.” This may
refer to the temporary stay of one day, but it may with equal
propriety be understood to mean that they remained with the Lord as
his disciples thereafter—to the very end of life.
We remember on one occasion, when some took
offence at certain teachings of our Lord which they did not
understand, how our Lord addressing the twelve said,
also go away?” But Peter answered,
“Lord, to whom should
we go? thou hast the words of eternal life,” we must abide with
you. So it should be with all of us who have become the Lord’s
followers. We are not his disciples for a day, but for all eternity.
We abide with him in loyalty of heart whether we go to seek others
or whether we listen to words at his feet, and he abides with us, as
expressed in his own statement,
“Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
zeal of thine house hath consumed me.”
The Master himself was of a
warm temperament, and naturally and properly was most drawn toward
those who were similarly fervent.
The blessing then was largely dependent upon the
nearness of the disciples to the Lord, and the nearness was marked
largely by the degree of zeal and devotion. It was Peter, James and
John, who were the most zealous of the apostles, that had the
special favors when such were to be given.
There is a lesson here for us, to the effect
that, if we would be closest to the Master and most frequently
privileged to have fellowship with him, we should similarly have and
cultivate this earnest, zealous spirit. With such, the love
enkindled should lead to a consuming zeal. It was thus with our Lord
Jesus, and this was one of the reasons why he was beloved of the
Father. Speaking for him, the prophet said,
“The zeal of thine house hath consumed me.”
Those who most cheerfully, most zealously forget
self and earthly ambitions, aims and projects, and who most fully
give themselves to the Lord and to his service, these may walk
nearest to the Lord at all times; these may go with him to the
Mount; these may be special witnesses of his powers, and these in
special times may be close to the Lord. Some, like John, may not
only sit at meat with him, but sit next to him—in his bosom.
Went About Doing Good
In proportion as our lives are copies of the Lord’s,
all the time and influence at our disposal, outside of necessary
obligations for things needful to ourselves and families, will be
spent as he spent his time—in doing good unto all men, especially
unto the household of faith.
Our Lord came not into the world merely to
exhibit the divine power amongst men, it was also a part of his
mission to taste of human sorrows, to learn to sympathize with the
afflicted, and to lay down his life on man’s behalf. Our
supposition is well borne out by the above prophecy—that he would
bear our infirmities. (Matt. 8:17; Isa. 53:4.) Additionally, it is
confirmed by St. Luke’s statement that
strength] went out of him and healed them all.” Luke 6:19.
Our Lord’s miracles are much more precious to
us from this standpoint than from any other. The gift which costs
nothing cannot be so highly esteemed as that which costs much; and
since life is our most valuable possession, the giving of it in any
sense of the word is the giving of the greatest of gifts.
That the three and a half years of our Lord’s
ministry did impoverish his strength is abundantly testified to: for
instance, when at Jacob’s well he was wearied, but his disciples
were not; and again at the close of his ministry, on the way to
Calvary, when he was unable to bear his own cross, while the two
thieves apparently were able to bear theirs. (John 4:6; Luke 23:26.)
His weakness was not the result of inherited
blemish or sin, nor the weakness of imperfection, but of sacrifice.
From the beginning of his ministry he kept pouring out his life in
the interest of those who had an ear to hear, and taking upon
himself of the infirmities, the weaknesses, of those he healed.
Quite to the contrary of this, the sicknesses
which our Lord bore were those of the world, and not those of his
special friends and disciples. We have no record that he healed any
of his followers. The lesson therefore is to the contrary, that as
he bore the infirmities and cares and griefs of others, his
followers are to emulate his example and his Spirit, and from
similar motives of generosity and kindness are to be burden-bearers,
helpers, self-sacrificers. As the Apostle suggests,
[also] to lay down our lives for the brethren.” I John 3:16.
Great Teacher’s Table Talks
The Sabbath was quite a feast day amongst the
Jews. In accordance with the requirements of the Law the dishes were
served cold, cooked previously. Our Lord evidently made no objection
to these Sabbath feasts, since we find that on several occasions he
participated in them. The feast at Bethany just before his
crucifixion was on the Sabbath. The invitation was from a prominent
Pharisee, one of the rulers. It evidently included our Lord’s
disciples as well as himself, and numerous of the host’s prominent
friends, Pharisees and Doctors of the Law.
The fame of Jesus had spread considerably, and
doubtless these men were interested in thus coming in close contact
with him, with a view to judging according to their own standards
respecting his character, teachings and miracles. Whether or not he
was a fanatic, whether or not he made great boasts of himself, why
the common people seemed so attracted to him, and why he did not
seem to specially seek the fellowship of the rich and influential.
So far as we know, he never refused an invitation to a feast, always
using such occasions as opportunities for the presentation of the
truth, to glorify the Father in heaven, to help, to instruct, to
benefit those with whom he was in contact.
Sociable in the Home
A little glimpse of the social side of our Lord’s
character shows us that his consecrated life was lived in the midst
of the ordinary social conditions bearing upon any member of a moral
and religious community. There is no suggestion of revelry or
foolishness in our Lord’s conduct, but it is reasonable to assume
that he participated in the proper joys and fellowships and social
amenities of such an occasion. This was in harmony with his own
injunction to his followers,
“Rejoice with those that do rejoice, and weep with those that
What every home needs is not only a visit from
Jesus, but that it should be his home, his abiding place. It would
be a safe rule of life for all of the Lord’s followers to desire
to go to any place they would have reason to believe the Lord would
go if he were again present in the flesh; it would be a safe rule
for us to do or say such things as we would have reason to expect
that our Lord would do or say were he present in our stead.
Blessings, we may be sure, went with the dear Master wherever he
be upon this house”
A suggestion respecting the influences
accompanying the Lord’s disciples—which influences, we believe,
surely accompanied his own presence on all such occasions—is
represented by his commission to his apostles when he sent them
forth. They were to say,
“Peace be upon this house,”
before entering. We do not take it that this is a command that we
should openly and formally make such a declaration before entering
any building, but we do believe that this should be the heart
sentiment of every one of the Lord’s consecrated people—their
desire, their effort, their aim—that peace and blessing may
accompany them wherever they may go, resting, refreshing and
uplifting the hearts of the poor groaning creation with whom they
come in contact.
The example which our Lord set was not so much in
the kind of service (feet-washing), as in the fact of service.
Nothing in this example was in the nature of a ceremony to be
performed by the Lord’s people. The principle of his service
constituted the example, and is to be observed amongst
his followers at all times. They are to love one another and to
serve one another, and to consider no service too menial to be
performed for each other’s comfort and good.
This washing of one another’s feet we may
readily see applies to any and every humble service of life, any and
every kindness, though specially to those services and kindnesses
which would be along the lines of spiritual assistances and comfort.
How many blessed opportunities we have for
comforting, refreshing, consoling one another and assisting one
another in some of the humblest affairs of life, or in respect to
some of the unpleasant duties, experiences or trials of life. Any
service done or attempted to be done in love, with the desire to do
good to one of the Lord’s people, we may be sure has the divine
approval and blessing.
Let us lose no opportunities of this kind. Let us
remember the Master’s example and not merely assume humility or
pretend it, but actually have that humility which will permit us to
do kindness and services to all with whom we come in contact, and
proportionately enjoy this privilege as we find the needy ones to be
members of the Lord’s body—the Church.
Our Lord’s entire life furnishes an
illustration of what the Apostle commends to all the Church in the
“Pray without ceasing.” Our Lord was always in that
prayerful attitude of heart, which was filled with thankfulness to
the Father in respect to all of life’s affairs, which recognized
his guardian care, which trusted him, confided in him and in every
distressing circumstance looked to him to overrule and to cause all
experiences to work for good.
But our Lord’s constant attitude of prayer
without ceasing did not hinder his more particular devotions when he
turned aside from the affairs of life to speak to the Father in
secret—sometimes briefly and sometimes spending a whole night in
prayer in the mountain solitude. Though he loved his disciples they
were not yet begotten of the Holy Spirit and could not fully
comprehend matters from his standpoint. The Father alone was able to
comprehend the full situation, and hence the very isolation of our
Lord from all human help drew him the nearer and the oftener to the
Father in prayer.
So it is or should be with the Lord’s
followers. Proportionately as we grow in his character likeness we
will similarly pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks,
singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord, realizing him
as the center of all our hopes and ambitions and joys. Similarly, we
will avail ourselves of the privilege of more formal approaches to
the throne of grace, to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time
of need. Similarly also, in proportion as at times we may find that
our dear ones either of earthly or spiritual relationship are unable
to sympathize with our experiences, we may be profited by such a
lack of earthly sympathy in that the experiences will send us the
more frequently to the heavenly Comforter from whom we will derive
the greater blessing and joy.
From the moment that he got that approval through
the angel who ministered unto him, all was peace and calm. His
arrest, the scattering of his disciples, the hearing before the
High-priest’s court, the raillery, the smiting, the pulling of the
hair of his face, the spitting upon him, his being blindfolded and
asked to prophesy who had struck him, all this ignominy he endured
Then, it being contrary to Jewish law to condemn
a man in the night, his further trial was postponed until the
members of the Sanhedrin could be called at daybreak to formally
condemn him. Meantime his dear followers had all scattered like
sheep. The beloved Peter had denied him even with cursing before the
cock crew. After passing through all these experiences, and probably
without having been furnished with refreshments, it is remarkable
that our Lord—weakened through his ministries and the giving out
of his vitality in the healing of others—should have been so calm
and strong as he stood before Pilate.
His enemies, the members of the Sanhedrin, and
the High-priests, who had before determined that he should be put to
death, with murder in their hearts had still a form of godliness,
and would not enter the judgment hall because, according to their
tradition, this would have constituted a defilement of their
holiness. Alas, how deceitful the human heart can be! How much of
murder and meanness can be covered with a garment of light, with a
claim of religious purity, professing to be seeking to know and to
do God’s will.
Hypocrisy seems to be a very general failing, and sometimes the
falsity is hidden from the heart of the deceiver as it probably was
in this case. The fact that great crimes may be committed in
ignorance, and even with the thought of doing God service, should
make all who are children of the light, all who are lovers of the
truth and righteousness, to be very careful indeed to search their
own hearts and motives earnestly lest they also should be of this