the wilderness, Christ returned to the Jordan, where John the Baptist
was preaching. At that time men sent by the rulers at Jerusalem were
questioning John as to his authority for teaching and baptizing the
They asked if he was the Messiah, or
Elijah, or "that prophet," meaning Moses. To all this he answered, "I am
not." Then they asked: "Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them
that sent us.
"He said, I am the voice of one crying in
the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet
Esaias." John 1:22,23.
In old times when a king had to travel
from one part of his country to another, men were sent ahead of his
chariot to prepare the roads.
They had to cut down trees, gather out
the stones, and fill up the hollows, so that the way would be clear for
So when Jesus, the heavenly King, was
coming, John the
Baptist was sent to prepare the way by telling the
people, and calling on them to repent of their sins.
As John answered the messengers from
Jerusalem, he saw Jesus standing on the riverbank. His face lighted up,
and stretching out his hands, he said:
"There standeth One among you, whom ye
know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose
shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose." John 1:26, 27.
The people were greatly moved. The
Messiah was among them! They looked about eagerly to find the One of
whom John had spoken. But Jesus had mingled with the multitude, and was
lost to sight.
The next day John again saw Jesus, and,
pointing to Him, cried: "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the
sin of the world!"
Then John told of the sign that had been
seen at Christ's baptism. "I saw, and bare record," he added, "that this
is the Son of God." John 1:29,34.
With awe and wonder the hearers looked
upon Jesus. They questioned with themselves, Is this the Christ?
They saw that Jesus bore no tokens of
worldly wealth or greatness. His clothing was plain and simple, such as
poor people wore. But in His pale, worn face was something that moved
In that face they read dignity and power;
and every glance of the eye, every feature of the countenance, spoke of
divine compassion and unutterable love.
But the messengers from Jerusalem were
not drawn to the Saviour. John had not said that which they desired to
hear. They expected the Messiah to come as a great conqueror.
that this was not the mission of Jesus, and in disappointment they
turned from Him.
The next day John again saw Jesus, and
again he cried, "Behold the Lamb of God!" John 1:36. Two of John's
disciples were standing near, and they followed Jesus. They listened to
His teaching, and became His disciples. One of the two was Andrew, the
Andrew soon brought to Jesus his own
brother, Simon, whom Christ named Peter. The next day, on the way to
Galilee, Christ called another disciple, Philip. As soon as Philip found
the Saviour, he brought his friend Nathaniel.
In this way Christ's great work on earth
was begun. One by one He called His disciples, and one brought his
brother, another his friend. This is what every follower of Christ is to
do. As soon as he himself knows Jesus, he is to tell others what a
precious Friend he has found. This is a work that all can do, whether
they are young or old.
At Cana in Galilee, Christ, with his
disciples, attended a marriage feast. For the happiness of this
household gathering, His wonderful power was put forth.
It was the custom in that country to use
wine on such occasions. Before the feast was ended, the supply of wine
had failed. The lack of wine at a feast would be thought to show a want
of hospitality, and this was regarded as a great disgrace.
Christ was told of what had happened, and
He bade the servants fill six large stone jars with water. Then He said,
"Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast." John 2:8.
Instead of water, there came forth wine.
This wine was
much better than that which had been served before, and
there was enough for all.
After working the miracle, Jesus quietly
went away. Not till He had gone, did the guests know of the work He had
Christ's gift to the marriage feast was a
symbol. The water represented baptism, and the wine His blood, that was
to be shed for the world.
The wine which Jesus made was not
fermented liquor. Such wine is a cause of drunkenness and many great
evils, and God had forbidden its use. He says, "Wine is a mocker, strong
drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." "It
biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder." Proverbs 20:1;
The wine used at the feast was the pure,
sweet juice of the grape. It was like that which the prophet Isaiah
calls "the new wine ... in the cluster;" and he says, "A blessing is in
it." Isaiah 65:8.
By going to the marriage feast, Christ
showed that it is right to meet together in this pleasant way. He liked
to see people happy. Often He visited them in their homes, and tried to
have them forget their cares and their troubles, and think of God's
goodness and His love. Wherever He might be, Christ was always trying to
do this. Wherever a heart was open to receive the divine message, He
unfolded the truths of the way of salvation.
One day, as He was passing through the
country of Samaria, He sat down by a well to rest. When a woman came to
draw water, He asked her for a drink.
The woman wondered at this, for she knew
how the Jews hated the Samaritans. But Christ told her that if she
ask of Him, He would give her living water. At this she wondered the
more. Then Jesus said to her:
"Whosoever drinketh of this water shall
thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him
shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him
a well of water springing up into everlasting life." John 4:13, 14. By
the living water is meant the Holy Spirit. As a thirsty traveler needs
water to drink, so do we need God's Spirit in our hearts. He who drinks
of this water shall never thirst.
The Holy Spirit brings God's love into
our hearts. It satisfies our longings, so that the riches and honors and
pleasures of this world do not attract us. And it fills us with such joy
that we want others to have it too. It will be in us like a spring of
water, that flows out in blessing to all around.
And every one in whom God's Spirit
dwells, will live forever with Christ in His kingdom. Received into the
heart by faith, it is the beginning of the life eternal.
This precious blessing Christ told the
woman He would give her if she asked for it. So He will give it to us.
This woman had broken God's commandments,
and Christ showed her that He knew the sins of her life. But He showed,
too, that He was her friend, that He loved and pitied her, and that if
she was willing to forsake her sins, God would receive her as His child.
How glad she was to know this! In her joy
she hurried away to the town near by, and called the people to come and
So they came to the well, and asked Him
to stay with them. He remained two days, and taught them, and many
listened to His words. They repented of their sins, and believed on Him
as their Saviour.
During His ministry, Jesus twice visited
His old home at Nazareth. At the first visit He went to the synagogue on
the Sabbath day.
Here He read from Isaiah's prophecy about
the work of the Messiah--how He was to preach good tidings to the poor,
to comfort the sorrowing, to give sight to the blind, and to heal those
that were bruised.
Then He told the people that all this was
fulfilled that day. This was the work that He Himself was doing.
At these words the hearers were filled
with joy. They believed that Jesus was the promised Saviour. Their
hearts were moved upon by the Holy Spirit, and they responded with
fervent amens and praises to the Lord.
Then they remembered how Jesus had lived
among them as a carpenter. Often they had seen Him working in the shop
with Joseph. Though in His whole life there had been only deeds of love
and mercy, they would not believe that He was the Messiah.
By such thoughts as these they opened the
way for Satan to control their minds. Then they were filled with wrath
against the Saviour. They cried out against Him, and determined to take
They hurried Him away, meaning to throw
Him over the steep side of a hill. But holy angels were near to protect
Him. He passed safely through the crowd, and was not to be found.
The next time He came to Nazareth, the
people were no more ready to receive Him. He went away, never to return.
Christ worked for those who wanted His
help, and all through the country the people flocked about Him. As He
healed and taught them, there was great rejoicing. Heaven seemed to come
down to the earth, and they feasted upon the grace of a merciful