The Ministry of Christ
AFTER Satan had ended his temptations he
departed from Jesus for a season, and angels prepared Him food in the wilderness and
strengthened Him, and the blessing of His Father rested upon Him. Satan had failed in his
fiercest temptations; yet he looked forward to the period of Jesus' ministry, when he
should at different times try his cunning against Him. He still hoped to prevail against
Him by stirring up those who would not receive Jesus, to hate and seek to destroy Him.
Satan held a special council
with his angels. They were disappointed and enraged that they had prevailed nothing
against the Son of God. They decided that they must be more cunning and use their power to
the utmost to inspire unbelief in the minds of His own nation as to His being the Saviour
of the world, and in this way discourage Jesus in His mission. No matter how exact the
Jews might be in their ceremonies and sacrifices, if they could be kept blinded as to the
prophecies and be made to believe that the Messiah was to appear as a mighty worldly king,
they might be led to despise and reject Jesus.
I was shown that Satan and
his angels were very busy during Christ's ministry, inspiring men with unbelief, hate, and
scorn. Often when Jesus uttered some cutting truth, reproving their sins, the people
become enraged. Satan and his angels urged them on to take the life of the Son of God.
More than once they took up stones to cast at Him, but angels guarded Him and bore Him
away from the angry multitude to a place of safety. Again, as the plain truth dropped from
His holy lips, the multitude laid hold of Him and led Him to the brow of a hill, intending
to cast Him down. A contention arose among themselves as to what they should do with Him,
when the angels again hid Him from the sight of the multitudes, and He, passing through
the midst of them, went His way.
Satan still hoped that the
great plan of salvation would fail. He exerted all his power to make the hearts of the
people hard and their feelings bitter against Jesus. He hoped that so few would receive
Him as the Son of God that He would consider His sufferings and sacrifice too great to
make for so small a company. But I saw that if there had been but two who would have
accepted Jesus as the Son of God and believed on Him to the saving of their souls, He
would have carried out the plan.
Jesus began His work by
breaking Satan's power over the suffering. He restored the sick to health, gave sight to
the blind, and healed the lame, causing them to leap for joy and to glorify God. He
restored to health those who had been infirm and bound in Satan's cruel power many years.
With gracious words He comforted the weak, the trembling, and the desponding. The feeble,
suffering ones whom Satan held in triumph, Jesus wrenched from his grasp, bringing to them
soundness of body and great joy and happiness. He raised the dead to life, and they
glorified God for
the mighty display of His power. He wrought mightily for all who
believed on Him.
The life of Christ was filled
with words and acts of benevolence, sympathy, and love. He was ever attentive to listen to
and relieve the woes of those who came to Him. Multitudes carried in their own persons the
evidence of His divine power. Yet after the work had been accomplished, many were ashamed
of the humble yet mighty Preacher. Because the rulers did not believe on Him, the people
were not willing to accept Jesus. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. They
could not endure to be governed by His sober, self-denying life. They wished to enjoy the
honor which the world bestows. Yet many followed the Son of God and listened to His
instructions, feasting upon the words which fell so graciously from His lips. His words
were full of meaning, yet so plain that the weakest could understand them.
Satan and his angels blinded
the eyes and darkened the understanding of the Jews, and stirred up the chief of the
people and the rulers to take the Saviour's life. Others were sent to bring Jesus unto
them, but as they came near where He was they were greatly amazed. They saw Him filled
with sympathy and compassion, as He witnessed human woe. They heard Him in love and
tenderness speak encouragingly to the weak and afflicted. They also heard Him, in a voice
of authority, rebuke the power of Satan and bid his captives go free. They listened to the
words of wisdom that fell from His lips, and they were captivated; they could not lay
hands on Him. They returned to the priests and elders without Jesus.
When asked, "Why have ye
not brought Him?"
they related what they had witnessed of His miracles, and the holy
words of wisdom, love, and knowledge which they had heard, and ended with saying,
"Never man spake like this Man." The chief priests accused them of being also
deceived, and some of the officers were ashamed that they had not taken Him. The priests
inquired in a scornful manner if any of the rulers had believed on Him. I saw that many of
the magistrates and elders did believe on Jesus, but Satan kept them from acknowledging
it; they feared the reproach of the people more than they feared God.
Thus far the cunning and
hatred of Satan had not broken up the plan of salvation. The time for the accomplishment
of the object for which Jesus came into the world was drawing near. Satan and his angels
consulted together and decided to inspire Christ's own nation to cry eagerly for His blood
and heap upon Him cruelty and scorn. They hoped that Jesus would resent such treatment and
fail to maintain His humility and meekness.
While Satan was laying his
plans, Jesus was carefully opening to His disciples the sufferings through which He must
pass--that He would be crucified and that He would rise again the third day. But their
understanding seemed dull, and they could not comprehend what He told them.
The faith of the disciples
was greatly strengthened at the transfiguration, when they were permitted to behold
Christ's glory and to hear the voice from heaven testifying to His divine character. God
chose to give the followers of Jesus strong proof that He was the promised Messiah, that
in their bitter sorrow and disappointment at His crucifixion, they would not
away their confidence. At the transfiguration the Lord sent Moses and Elijah to talk with
Jesus concerning His sufferings and death. Instead of choosing angels to converse with His
Son, God chose those who had themselves experienced the trials of earth.
Elijah had walked with God.
His work had been painful and trying, for the Lord through him had reproved the sins of
Israel. Elijah was a prophet of God; yet he was compelled to flee from place to place to
save his life. His own nation hunted him like a wild beast that they might destroy him.
But God translated Elijah. Angels bore him in glory and triumph to heaven.
Moses was greater than any
who had lived before him. He had been highly honored of God, being privileged to talk with
the Lord face to face, as a man speaks with a friend. He was permitted to see the bright
light and excellent glory that enshrouded the Father. The Lord through Moses delivered the
children of Israel from Egyptian bondage. Moses was a mediator for his people, often
standing between them and the wrath of God. When the anger of the Lord was greatly kindled
against Israel for their unbelief, their murmurings, and their grievous sins, Moses' love
for them was tested. God proposed to destroy them and to make of him a mighty nation.
Moses showed his love for Israel by his earnest pleading in their behalf. In his distress
he prayed God to turn from His fierce anger and forgive Israel, or blot his name out of
Moses passed through death,
but Michael came down and gave him life before his body had seen corruption. Satan tried
to hold the body, claiming it as his; but Michael resurrected Moses and took him to
heaven. Satan railed bitterly against God, denouncing
Him as unjust in permitting his prey
to be taken from him; but Christ did not rebuke His adversary, though it was through his
temptation that the servant of God had fallen. He meekly referred him to His Father,
saying, "The Lord rebuke thee." Jude 9.
Jesus had told His disciples
that there were some standing with Him who should not taste of death till they should see
the kingdom of God come with power. At the transfiguration this promise was fulfilled. The
countenance of Jesus was there changed and shone like the sun. His raiment was white and
glistening. Moses was present to represent those who will be raised from the dead at the
second appearing of Jesus. And Elijah, who was translated without seeing death,
represented those who will be changed to immortality at Christ's second coming and will be
translated to heaven without seeing death. The disciples beheld with astonishment and fear
the excellent majesty of Jesus and the cloud that overshadowed them, and heard the voice
of God in terrible majesty, saying, "This is My beloved Son: hear Him."
Copyright © 1974
The Ellen G. White Estate, Inc.
All Rights Reserved