Lesson 15 | Sabbath, 9 April 2022
“As we separate from the world and its customs, we shall meet with the displeasure of worldlings. The world hated the One who was the very embodiment of virtue, because He was better than they were. The servant is not greater than his Lord. If our ways please God, the world will hate us. If the Majesty of heaven came to this world, and endured a life of humiliation and a death of shame, why should we shrink back because obedience involves a cross? If He was persecuted, can we expect better treatment?… I point you to the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He will comfort and sustain all who come to Him for help….” –The Upward Look, p. 325.
1. According to the psalmist, how many enemies would the Messiah have? Why was this?
Psalm 69:4 They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away.
John 15:24, 25 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. 25But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
“When Christ was upon this earth, the people flocked to hear Him. So simple and plain were His words that the most unlearned among the people could understand Him, and His hearers listened as if spellbound. This enraged the scribes and Pharisees. They were filled with envy because the people listened so attentively to the words of this new Teacher. They determined to break His hold upon the multitudes. They began by attacking His character, saying that He was born in sin, and that He cast out devils through the prince of the devils. Thus were fulfilled the words, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’ John 15:25; see Psalm 69:4. The Jewish leaders maligned and persecuted the One who is chiefest among ten thousand and altogether lovely.” –The Upward Look, p. 325.
MISTREATED FOR GOD’S SAKE
2. Why did He accept the mission that included severe suffering, reproach, shame, and death?
Psalm 69:7 Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face.
Jeremiah 15:15 O Lord, thou knowest: remember me, and visit me, and revenge me of my persecutors; take me not away in thy long- suffering: know that for thy sake I have suffered rebuke.
Psalm 44:22 Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.
“The cross was associated with the power of Rome. It was the instrument of the most cruel and humiliating form of death. The lowest criminals were required to bear the cross to the place of execution; and often as it was about to be laid upon their shoulders, they resisted with desperate violence, until they were overpowered, and the instrument of torture was bound upon them. But Jesus bade His followers take up the cross and bear it after Him. To the disciples His words, though dimly comprehended, pointed to their submission to the most bitter humiliation–submission even unto death for the sake of Christ. No more complete self-surrender could the Saviour’s words have pictured. But all this He had accepted for them. Jesus did not count heaven a place to be desired while we were lost. He left the heavenly courts for a life of reproach and insult, and a death of shame. He who was rich in heaven’s priceless treasure, became poor, that through His poverty we might be rich. We are to follow in the path He trod.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 416, 417.
3. What did He become even to people whom –He lovingly fed or healed?
Psalms 69:8; 31:11 I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children…. 31:11I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.
John 1:11; 7:5 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 7:5For neither did his brethren believe in him.
“The divinity of Christ was as a hidden treasure. At times when He was upon earth divinity flashed through humanity, and His true character was revealed. The God of heaven testified to His oneness with His Son. At His baptism the heavens were opened and the glory of God in the similitude of a dove like burnished gold hovered over the Saviour, and a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ Matthew 3:17. But the nation to whom Christ came, though professing to be the peculiar people of God, did not recognize the heavenly treasure in the person of Jesus Christ….” –That I May Know Him, p. 58.
ZEAL FOR THE LORD’S HOUSE
4. What ardent feelings would He have for the Lord and His house? On whom did the criticism of those who reproached God fall?
Psalm 69:9 For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.
John 2:17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
Romans 15:3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.
“From eternal ages it was God’s purpose that every created being, from the bright and holy seraph to man, should be a temple for the indwelling of the Creator. Because of sin, humanity ceased to be a temple for God. Darkened and defiled by evil, the heart of man no longer revealed the glory of the Divine One.… God designed that the temple at Jerusalem should be a continual witness to the high destiny open to every soul. But the Jews had not understood the significance of the building they regarded with so much pride. They did not yield themselves as holy temples for the Divine Spirit. The courts of the temple at Jerusalem, filled with the tumult of unholy traffic, represented all too truly the temple of the heart, defiled by the presence of sensual passion and unholy thoughts. In cleansing the temple from the world’s buyers and sellers, Jesus announced His mission to cleanse the heart from the defilement of sin–from the earthly desires, the selfish lusts, the evil habits, that corrupt the soul.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 161.
5. Instead of cherishing His ministry of grace and many miracles, how did many people disparage Him?
Psalms 69:12, 22; 55:3 They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards…. 22Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap…. 55:3Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me.
John 8:40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
“The Pharisees had declared themselves the children of Abraham. Jesus told them that this claim could be established only by doing the works of Abraham. The true children of Abraham would live, as He did, a life of obedience to God. They would not try to kill One who was speaking the truth that was given Him from God. In plotting against Christ, the rabbis were not doing the works of Abraham. A mere lineal descent from Abraham was of no value. Without a spiritual connection with him, which would be manifested in possessing the same spirit, and doing the same works, they were not his children.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 466, 467.
SHAME AND DISHONOR
6. Instead of giving the Messiah honor and enormous gratitude for His innumerable blessings, what did men heap upon Him? How often did this happen?
Psalm 69:19 Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee.
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
“How little do many of us understand the true import of our prayers! Jesus knew the infinite sacrifice at which that glory must be purchased, when He, ‘for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame.’ Hebrews 12:2. That joy was to see souls saved by His humiliation, His agony, and the shedding of His blood.” –The Sanctified Life, p. 56 (1883).
“When Christ’s followers give back to the Lord His own, they are accumulating treasure which will be given to them when they shall hear the words, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant;… enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.’ ‘Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ Matthew 25:23; Hebrews 12:2. The joy of seeing souls redeemed, souls eternally saved, is the reward of all that put their feet in the footprints of Him who said, ‘Follow Me.’” –The Desire of Ages, p. 523.
7. To what extent would He be the object of contempt and reproach? Of the multitudes to whom He ministered, how many of them demonstrated care for Him?
Psalms 69:20; 142:4 Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none…. 142:4I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.
Matthew 26:37, 38, 40 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me…. 40And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
“Near the entrance to the garden, Jesus left all but three of the disciples, bidding them pray for themselves and for Him. With Peter, James, and John, He entered its secluded recesses. These three disciples were Christ’s closest companions. They had beheld His glory on the mount of transfiguration; they had seen Moses and Elijah talking with Him; they had heard the voice from heaven; now in His great struggle, Christ desired their presence near Him. Often they had passed the night with Him in this retreat. On these occasions, after a season of watching and prayer, they would sleep undisturbed at a little distance from their Master, until He awoke them in the morning to go forth anew to labor. But now He desired them to spend the night with Him in prayer. Yet He could not bear that even they should witness the agony He was to endure.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 686.
FOR ADDITIONAL STUDY
“We must not think that by walking in the path of obedience, we shall escape trials, for the enemy will do all in his power to hinder us from gaining heaven. But the Saviour has promised to help us. Have you trials? So had Jesus. Are you tempted? So was He–in all points like as we are. ‘He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.’ John 1:10-12….” –The Upward Look, p. 325