Despised but Exalted
Lesson 21 | Sabbath, 21 May 2022
“There stood the young Galilean, bearing no earthly honor or royal badge. Surrounding Him were priests in their rich apparel, rulers with robes and badges significant of their exalted station, and scribes with scrolls in their hands, to which they made frequent reference. Jesus stood calmly before them, with the dignity of a king. As one invested with the authority of heaven, He looked unflinchingly upon His adversaries, who had rejected and despised His teachings, and who thirsted for His life. They had assailed Him in great numbers, but their schemes to ensnare and condemn Him had been in vain. Challenge after challenge He had met, presenting the pure, bright truth in contrast to the darkness and errors of the priests and Pharisees. He had set before these leaders their real condition, and the retribution sure to follow persistence in their evil deeds.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 610.
1. In following the path of life, what fullness of joy and constant pleasure was there for God’s Son?
Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Acts 2:28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
Psalm 21:6 For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.
“The religion of Jesus is joy, peace, and happiness…. In those who possess it, the religion of Christ will reveal itself as a vitalizing, pervading principle, a living, working, spiritual energy. There will be manifest the freshness and power and joyousness of perpetual youth. The heart that receives the Word of God is not as a pool that evaporates, not like a broken cistern that loses its treasure. It is like the mountain stream fed by unfailing springs, whose cool, sparkling waters leap from rock to rock, refreshing the weary, the thirsty, the heavy laden.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 226.
“Do not think that when you walk with Jesus you must walk in the shadow. The happiest people in the world are those who trust in Jesus and gladly do His bidding. From the lives of those who follow Him, unrest and discontent are banished…. They may meet with trial and difficulty, but their lives are full of joy; for Christ walks beside them, and His presence makes the pathway bright….” –In Heavenly Places, p. 62.
HE WOULD COME FOR THE GENTILES
2. What is seen in the fact that the Messiah prophetically thanked and praised God among the heathen? What kind of people would be found among them?
Psalms 18:49; 117:1, 2 Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name…. 117:1O Praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. 2For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord.
Acts 15:14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
Romans 15:9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.
“Christ had commanded His disciples to go and teach all nations; but the previous teachings which they had received from the Jews made it difficult for them to fully comprehend the words of their Master, and therefore they were slow to act upon them…. It was not until several years after the Lord’s ascension that their minds were sufficiently expanded to clearly understand the intent of Christ’s words, that they were to labor for the conversion of the Gentiles as well as of the Jews. Their minds were particularly called out to this part of the work by the Gentiles themselves, many of whom embraced the doctrine of Christ. Soon after the death of Stephen, and the consequent scattering of the believers throughout Palestine, Samaria was greatly stirred. The Samaritans received the believers kindly, and manifested a willingness to hear concerning Jesus, who, in His first public labors, had preached to them with great power.” – Sketches from the Life of Paul, pp. 38, 39.
3. Did this mean that all men everywhere would welcome and embrace Him? What attitude would some people have toward Him?
Psalm 22:6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Mark 9:12 And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought.
“Had not Micah prophesied, ‘They shall smite the Judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek’? Micah 5:1. And had not the Promised One, through Isaiah, prophesied of Himself, ‘I gave My back to the smiters, and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not My face from shame and spitting’? Isaiah 50:6. Through the psalmist Christ had foretold the treatment that He should receive from men: ‘I am … a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see Me laugh Me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that He would deliver Him: let Him deliver Him, seeing He delighted in Him.’ Psalm 22:6-8.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 225.
HE WOULD BE MOCKED
4. Especially when would He endure an extremely negative attitude?
Psalm 22:7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head,…
Matthew 27:39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads.
Mark 15:29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days.
“But He stepped still lower; the man must humble Himself as a man to bear insult, reproach, shameful accusations, and abuse. There seemed to be no safe place for Him in His own territory. He had to flee from place to place for His life. He was betrayed by one of His disciples; He was denied by one of His most zealous followers. He was mocked. He was crowned with a crown of thorns. He was scourged. He was forced to bear the burden of the cross. He was not insensible to this contempt and ignominy. He submitted, but, oh! He felt the bitterness as no other being could feel it. He was pure, holy, and undefiled, yet arraigned as a criminal! The adorable Redeemer stepped down from the highest exaltation. Step by step He humbled Himself to die–but what a death! It was the most shameful, the most cruel the death upon the cross as a malefactor.” –(Review and Herald, September 4, 1900) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1127.
5. What made it possible for the Messiah to withstand the people’s hateful actions without taking revenge against them, being irritated, or entertaining discouragement? Although on the cross He called out to His Father, into whose hands did He fully submit His life? What does this mean for us?
Psalm 31:5 Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.
Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
“Yet the priests and rulers were not at rest. They had carried out their purpose in putting Christ to death; but they did not feel the sense of victory they had expected. Even in the hour of their apparent triumph, they were harassed with doubts as to what would next take place. They had heard the cry, ‘It is finished.’ ‘Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.’ John 19:30; Luke 23:46. They had seen the rocks rent, and had felt the mighty earthquake, and they were restless and uneasy.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 771.
AUTHORITY OVER EVERYONE AND ALL THINGS
6. After passing through the crucifixion, suffering, and contempt, what would He receive? What does this tell us about the only way that it is possible to reach high spiritual goals?
Psalm 8:6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: Hebrews 2:8, 9 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
“On whose side are we? The world cast Christ out, the heavens received Him. Man, finite man, rejected the Prince of life; God, our sovereign Ruler, received Him into the heavens. God has exalted Him. Man crowned Him with a crown of thorns, God has crowned Him with a crown of royal majesty. We must all think candidly…. The death of Christ brings to the rejecter of His mercy the wrath and judgments of God, unmixed with mercy. This is the wrath of the Lamb. But the death of Christ is hope and eternal life to all who receive Him and believe in Him.” –(Letter 31, 1898) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1107.
7. What promise is for all who believe and trust in Jesus for life and salvation? How can we learn to have such trust?
Psalm 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
“If through faith man becomes one with Christ, he can win life everlasting. God loves those who are redeemed through Christ, even as He loves His Son. What a thought! Can God love the sinner as He loves His own Son? Yes; Christ has said it, and He means just what He says. He will honor all our drafts if we will grasp His promise by living faith, and put our trust in Him. Look to Him, and live. All who obey God are embraced in the prayer which Christ offered to His Father, ‘I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them’ John 17:26. Wonderful truth, too difficult for humanity to comprehend!” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 300.
FOR ADDITIONAL STUDY
“God made every provision in man’s behalf, creating him only a little lower than the angels. Adam disobeyed, and entailed sin upon his posterity. But God gave His only begotten Son for the redemption of the race. Christ took on Him the nature of man, and passed over the ground where Adam fell, to be tested and tried as all human beings are tested and tried. Satan came to Him as an angel of light to induce Him, if possible, to commit sin, and thus place the human race entirely under the dominion of evil. But Christ was victorious. Satan was defeated, and the race was placed on vantage ground with God.” –This Day with God, p. 318.