Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Christ as Lord of the Sabbath

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lesson 5: Christ as the Lord of the Sabbath

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic

The Book of Luke
Lesson 5: Christ as the Lord of the Sabbath


Come back with me, across the centuries to a day nearly two thousand years ago, to the humble little village of Nazareth. We make our way down the narrow cobblestone street, past the little shops with their open fronts. We see the workmen plying their trades as we pass one shop after another.

We come to a shop that is different. The front is neatly whitewashed, and the street has been swept. We enter and find a kindly, stalwart man plying the carpenter's trade, and by his side a young assistant perhaps twenty-one years of age. The young man is planing a piece of wood, making it true, making it straight. He rests a moment and wipes His brow. For He is none other than the Prince of heaven, King Jesus, come to cast His lot with the toilers and the poor.

We come back again, for we are fascinated by the little shop. We come back on Saturday, but the shop is closed. We notice that the people are all walking toward a conspicuous building in the center of the village. We follow them and find our seats in the rear of a well-filled church. To our surprise we see the carpenter's Son make His way into the pulpit and begin to read: "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read" (Luke 4:16).

Jesus' custom was Sabbath-keeping. Your Saviour and mine, from the first to the last of His ministry, kept only one day--the seventh day of the commandment--as the Sabbath.

Our name, Seventh-day Adventists, proclaims the gospel of Jesus Christ. The seventh-day Sabbath is God's rest of the gospel in Jesus Christ. Could it be that this is what Ellen White means when she said we shall proclaim "the Sabbath more fully"? [1] It is the seal of God's love in the hearts of His people.

What God Intended the 1888 Message to Accomplish

E. J. Waggoner offered a thoughtful comment: "An intelligent contemplation of God's creation gives us a true conception of His power; for His eternal power and Godhead are understood by the things which He has made. ... It is faith that gives victory; therefore, since faith comes by learning the power of God, from His word and from the things that He has made, we gain the victory, to triumph through the works of His hands. The Sabbath, therefore, which is the memorial of creation, is, if properly observed, a source of the Christian's greatest reinforcement in battle." [2] We have long known that the message of Revelation 18 will be God's people presenting "the Sabbath more fully." [3] Obviously, that is what God intended the 1888 message to accomplish for us.

God created the earth in six days and He rested on the seventh day. This made the Sabbath God's day of rest. He ended His work which He had done on the six days of creation. The seventh day was His perfect rest.

The Sabbath: The Sign of Peace. How is the Sabbath the sign of the message of the cross of Christ? The Sabbath was the original sign of peace with Adam before sin entered. The Sabbath is the sign of peace with God for those whose "self" is crucified with Christ. The Sabbath was the original sign of peace in the pristine world and in the earth made new. The Sabbath is to be the sign of God's everlasting covenant peace with restored mankind in the new earth.

How does the message of Jesus' cross reveal the Sabbath truth more fully? What is the connection of the Sabbath and the atonement Christ gives sinners? The meaning of the word "atonement" is at-one-ment. How does God make rebels to be at peace with Him? The following is an explanation of the connection between the 1888 message and the seventh day Sabbath as presented in the Gospel of Luke.

Christ completed His work of creation in six days and rested on the seventh day. Christ completed His perfect sacrifice on Calvary the sixth day--Friday--and He rested in the tomb on the seventh day. The sign of His "rest" in triumph over sin is the Sabbath. The women who embalmed His body for burial, "rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment" (Luke 23:56), with Him on the seventh day. The Sabbath is Christ's memorial of creation and redemption. The Sabbath is Christ's declaration of peace to sinners. He legally declared to all His forgiveness of sinners with the words, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).

Jesus exposed the "unknown sin" that is buried in the heart of every rebel. It is the root of our controversy with God. It is the cause of our misapprehension of His nature as being a God of anger and wrath against us. The cause of our distrust of God is that hidden within lurks the desire to get rid of God. Sinners blame God for all their guilt, unrest. They look upon Him as being demanding with all kinds of rules too difficult and restricting. If we could just get rid of God then we would have peace.

Really the problem is not getting rid of God. The problem is to get rid of our misapprehensions regarding the nature of God as wrathful toward sinners, and to see His love for you and me revealed in the death of Christ. Jesus died on the cross to reveal our unconscious sin that we want to get rid of Him. If we can see that, then we can begin to know what forgiveness means.

The atonement is about God winning our rebel hearts. The atonement has nothing to do with changing God's disposition toward us as sinners. "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself" (2 Cor. 5:19). "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life" (Rom. 5:10).

What is the true atonement? God does not need to be reconciled to sinners. Sinners need the atonement in order to be reconciled to God. God will never be reconciled to "sin." But He gives the atonement of Jesus' death for sinners to be reconciled to Him.

Paul sets forth the true concept of the atonement in these words: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:23).

Here is God's gift of justification for "all" who "have sinned." It is a universal gift. That God would give to sinners a legal acquittal is a gift which demonstrates the enormity of His love. All sinners should be dead because death is the wages of sin; but, the fact is, all sinners live. Why? Because Jesus died the death which all sinners earned, and now God can plead before the universe that His law is just and upheld. The law has been maintained. He gives a second probationary period of time for individual sinners to see and appreciate His gift so that they, as individuals, may be reconciled to Him by the death of His Son.

Jesus: the "Rest" From Sin. When Jesus died on Friday and rested in the tomb on the Sabbath day, God declared His peace to the whole world of sinners. He gave "rest" from sin to all. Jesus is the "rest" from sin to all restless-hearted sinners.

The reconciliation of sinners' hearts is justification by faith. "Whom God [the Father] hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His [Jesus'] blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Rom. 3:24-26). It is not just Jesus' sacrifice, for that is what the word "propitiation" means, it is God's sacrifice. God does not need the "propitiation" to appease His anger toward sinners and thus be reconciled to them, we are the ones who need the "propitiation." It is sinners who are filled with the dark, misapprehensions about the character of God.

The sinner now experiences a change of heart. He is born again by the regeneration of God's manifestation of love in Jesus' death for him or her personally. He experiences justification by faith which is the forgiveness of sins. His past sins are remitted, that is, they are removed. He knows this to be the case because He believes God's word on this.

--Paul E. Penno


[1] "I saw that God had children who do not see and keep the Sabbath. They have not rejected the light upon it. And at the commencement of the time of trouble, we were filled with the Holy Ghost as we went forth and proclaimed the Sabbath more fully." Ellen G. White, Early Writings, p. 33 (emphasis added).
[2] Ellet J. Waggoner, Christ and His Righteousness, p. 43 (Glad Tidings ed.).
[3] Early Writings, pp. 33, 85.

Note: "Sabbath School Today" and Pastor Paul Penno's video of this lesson are on the Internet at:


Friday, April 24, 2015

Lesson 4: The Call to Discipleship

Sabbath School Today
> With the 1888 Message Dynamic
> The Book of Luke
> Lesson 4: The Call to Discipleship
> The brothers Peter and Andrew with their partners James and John had spent the night fishing with dragnets. Nighttime was the best time for fishing on Galilee, but their back-breaking work had yielded nothing for their efforts. So at dawn they beached their boats and mended the nets.
> The prelude to all discipleship is Jesus' loving call to the sinner. Such drawing love leads to genuine repentance. Separated from Jesus through their night's toil, the disciples' hearts had become hardened in unbelief. Consequently there was nothing to show for their hard labors. But when their labors were united with Christ's presence it was His word that gathered the fish from the sea.
> Up to this point the disciples had not left their occupations in service for the Master. Jesus gave them the prophetic call: "And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men" (Luke 5:10). Though Peter and the others had no former academic qualifications for evangelistic service, the mere fact that Christ chose them was all that they needed. Just as the word of Jesus had gathered the fishes so He "could also impress human hearts, and draw them by the cords of His love, so that His servants might become 'fishers of men.'" [1] Here was the Lord of fish and fishermen, the Lord of nature, the Lord of men and of their daily work. All their desires had come true.
> The crowds began to assemble about Jesus. After He stepped into Peter's boat they pulled away from the shoreline so that the pressing crowd might better "hear the word of God" (Luke 5:1). He spoke the "word of eternal life." He spoke "peace to human hearts." "The very words ... would come to them as a message of hope in trial, of comfort in sorrow, and heavenly light in darkness." [2]
> Jesus was a carpenter from up the hill in Nazareth. Peter and company were the expert fishermen who knew when and where to go to find the fish. So when Jesus bid them to launch out deeper and let down the nets, there was an initial reticence because of the previous night's experience. They had returned empty-handed.
> But "love for their Master moved the disciples to obey" His command, "Let down your nets" (Luke 5:4). Imagine Peter and Andrew's amazement when they hauled up the nets filled with so many fish they called for James and John to help with their boat. Both boats were filled to overflowing and about to "sink."
> Peter felt himself in the presence of nature's Creator. The Holy Spirit pressed home to his heart, love of Jesus manifested in the miracle. "The presence of divinity revealed his own unholiness. Love for his Master, shame for his own unbelief, gratitude for the condescension of Christ, above all, the sense of his uncleanness in the presence of infinite purity, overwhelmed him." [3]
> Peter had an intense moment such as is described by the apostle Paul: "I say, through the grace given unto me, to every one that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think" (Rom. 12:3). You and I are not excused from listening.
> But Jesus through Paul doesn't stop halfway through that sentence. He continues: while I am to think of myself in a humble way, I am also to "think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every one [including me!] a measure of faith." No matter how much I have sinned, how unworthy I am, God has given me an appropriate personal gift of faith. He respects and honors my personality (Psalm 139:5-18). He has already died my second death (Heb. 2:9). He has elected me to eternal salvation (Eph. 1:4-6), not willing that I should perish (1 Tim. 2:4). Christ is already my "Savior, ... especially" if I "believe" (1 Tim. 4:10; John 4:42). Therefore I am invited to the great banquet of "the marriage supper of the Lamb," there is a place card with my name on it--all by virtue of Christ's sacrifice on His cross when He went to hell to find me.
> Does this mean that I shall continue living in sin, rebellion, and transgression of God's holy law? If the love (agape) of Christ constrains and motivates me, I can't live for self (2 Cor. 5:14, 15), for the Holy Spirit is stronger than my own sinful nature that I was born with (Gal. 5:16, 17), and the much more abounding grace of Christ is stronger than the world's abounding sin (Rom. 5:20).
> We all know that a "disciple" is someone who follows a teacher. Therefore the ultimate lesson in "discipleship" is the one that the "144,000" teach us: these are they who "stand on the mount Zion, ... having the Father's name written in their foreheads, ... and which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth" (Rev. 14:1, 4). "Mt. Zion" is the church, the same as the "remnant church" of 12:17. For "the Lamb " to "stand on Mt. Zion" therefore is Christ and His people to be fully reconciled; the sacrifice of Christ will at last be fully vindicated in these people.
> The 1888 message is about Christ's ministry in the Most Holy Apartment of the heavenly sanctuary. He ministers to His last-days' people the "atonement" in this final time of the High Priestly ministry; every buried root of enmity against God or alienation from Him (see Rom. 8:7) will have been cleansed from their hearts; His people are at last "at one" with Him. This is the meaning of the prophecy of Daniel 8:14, "Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed."
> A. T. Jones was clear that the sanctuary in heaven cannot be "cleansed" until first of all the hearts of His people on earth are "cleansed." Thus the story of the 144,000 is the story of final victory over sin--a victory accomplished only by faith, not by works.
> And here is where the message of Christ's righteousness comes into sharp focus: sanctification is accomplished in the hearts of believers by the ministry of truth. "Sanctify them [Thy people] through Thy truth: Thy word is truth," Jesus Himself prayed (John 17:17). This is what the 144,000 have heartily submitted to.
> Thus the 1888 message clarifies the investigative judgment truth. The slightest hint from the Holy Spirit that something in the life is in opposition to that "truth of God," then the believer will gladly give it up. Like a healthy heart beating and pumping blood throughout the healthy body, so the Holy Spirit is working throughout the remnant church; God's people waste no time or energy fighting the leading of the Holy Spirit. There is none of that negative "1888 spirit" that constantly opposes the leading of the Holy Spirit.
> The 144,000 come to the place where it can be honestly said of them, "These are they who follow the Lamb [the crucified Christ} whithersoever He goeth." Will it be this generation who open their hearts to this leading of the Holy Spirit?
> --Paul E. Penno
> Endnotes:
> [1] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 249.
> [2] Ibid., p. 245.
> [3] Ibid., p. 246.
> Note: "Sabbath School Today" and Pastor Paul Penno's video of this lesson are on the Internet at:
> --
> Raul Diaz

The Call to Discipleship

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lesson 3: Who Is Jesus Christ?

Sabbath School Today

With the 1888 Message Dynamic

The Book of Luke

Lesson 3: Who Is Jesus Christ?


The 1888 Message "Dynamic": In seeking us, Christ came all the way to where we are, taking upon Himself "the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." Thus He is a Savior "nigh at hand, not afar off." He "is the Savior of all men," even "the chief of sinners."


Our lesson this week discusses a frequently asked question about Jesus: Who is He? This question has engrossed the minds of sincere theologians and pastors for the better part of several centuries. Hundreds, probably thousands of books have been written to answer this question, but the 1888 message provides an answer that brings Jesus out of the theological "fog" into the sunlight.

Who is He? "The Son of God," yes, 100% true, but there's more.

He was among us here on this planet some 2000 years ago. "He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not" (John 1:10). Does the world know Him better today? We hope so; there are people worldwide who preach Him.

In his The Glad Tidings (p. 10), E. J. Waggoner wrote: "All gospel teaching is based upon the deity of Christ. The apostles and prophets were so fully imbued with this truth that it appears everywhere in their writings. Jesus Christ is 'the image of the invisible God' (Col. 1:15). 'He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of His nature' (Heb. 1:3). He was in the beginning with God and was God before the world was (John 1:1; 17:5). 'He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together' (Col. 1:17)."

But think of the people of Nazareth; once upon a time they loved Jesus as Mary's Baby and as a Child, not knowing of course who He was or is. The women would coo over Him as a Baby, and admired Him as a Teenager. He went back one time to visit them and to preach during their Sabbath worship service. He announced His "Physician speciality": "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath appointed Me to preach the gospel [Good News] to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives [slaves], and recovering of sight to the blind [an Optician supreme], to set at liberty them that are bruised."

But all that human neighborly love they had once felt for Him turned sour and bitter, and they tried to throw Him over a cliff and kill Him when He announced to them that He was their Messiah (see Luke 4:16-29). What was once love had turned to become bitter hatred! If you have tasted it even a tiny bit, you can sympathize with Jesus in the pain He has had to feel.

Christ's Identity

Recognizing His identity still splits the church almost everywhere. We all agree on His divinity: He is the divine Son of the Father, the Creator of the universe, utterly sinless. But who is Jesus in regard to His incarnation? We are generally united in seeing Him as the Descendant of Adam; but the problem is--which Adam? The sinless one before he and Eve sinned? Or is He the descendant of the fallen, sinful Adam?

The issue is not whether or not Jesus was perfectly sinless in His incarnation: we have no misgiving regarding the perfect sinlessness of Jesus in His nature as a human in His incarnation. The issue is: did Jesus have to contend with, and condemn sin, in His human nature? This is the struggle all of us have. Or was Jesus "exempt" from this struggle, so that He had no battle with sin to "overcome"?

But Jesus is also "The Son of man." The Father "sent" His Son in "the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3). He became One of us, eternally to bear our human nature as well as His divine nature. That also is 100% true. But what has He accomplished by this great condescension and sacrifice?

The Father Gave Jesus a "Job Description"--Save the Lost World:

Jesus' "job description," when the Father sent Him down to this dark world, was: save that lost world! (See Rom. 8:3.)

1. Defeat Satan in humanity.
2. Enter the fray where the problem is.
3. Take upon Your sinless nature (brought from heaven), the same fallen, sinful flesh and nature that all humans have.
4. Then condemn or defeat sin there, in its last lair in the universe.
5. Deliver the human race from this captivity of sin.
6. Triumph in the "great controversy" over Satan.

With no "exemption," no "bullet-proof vest," Jesus entered into the same arena where we have all lost the battle. And right here in our human flesh and human nature He "condemned," defeated, destroyed sin. He came to where it had taken root--in human flesh. In our same flesh He won the great controversy with Satan, opened the gates of heaven for believing, repenting sinners, and rejoiced the hearts of all heaven. Christ did His work; He did "save the world."

But both "Babylon" and Laodicea fail to grasp that Jesus died the second death of every person who has ever been born: "He by the grace of God tasted [the second] death for every person" (Heb. 2:9). Not just our "sleep." The sacrifice on the cross was infinitely greater than we have been able to see. The teaching of natural immortality says Jesus didn't truly die the real thing, our wages of sin--death! Thus He didn't "pay it all."

Romans 8:4 tells what will happen now: "That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." Here is the cardinal truth of the 1888 message: human beings by the faith of Jesus will overcome sin, "condemn" it in our fallen flesh, and will become ready for the second coming of Jesus--something no other corporate group has realized in all past history.

The Transfiguration

Luke gives a vivid account of the Transfiguration. Jesus has been glorified on the Mount of Transfiguration, visiting with Moses and Elijah. Heavenly light. But now He returns to His daily life of ministry for suffering people. He continues His work in the Heavenly Sanctuary. As our High Priest He is making "intercession" for us (Rom. 8:34); and John compares Christ to "an advocate with the Father" (1 John 2:1). In other words, Jesus is a defense lawyer pleading our case "with the Father." Our divine Lawyer is working on our side.

In mercy to the remnant church (and the world), "the Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people" over120 years ago that told the saving truth in a clear way so simple that a child could understand. Christ took on His sinless nature our fallen, sinful nature, so that He might save the human race from sin. "Tempted in all points like as we are [tempted], yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15), He has delivered the whole human race from captivity to sin. He told His Father that He had "finished the work You gave Me to do" (John 17:4).

But that's not all the Good News: He will have a people who receive His faith and they will overcome also "even as [He] overcame." They will be those translated at Jesus' second coming (cf. Rev. 14:1-5; 1 Thess. 4:16, 17).

On the happiest page of the entire Bible (the last one), you and I are invited: "The [Holy] Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst, come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17).

--From the writings of Robert J. Wieland

Friday, April 10, 2015

Lesson 2: Baptism and the Temptations

Sabbath School Today

With the 1888 Message Dynamic

The Book of Luke

Lesson 2: Baptism and the Temptations


The 1888 Message "Dynamic": Baptism symbolizes death to self and humble acceptance of the Holy Spirit's power to resist temptation. Without that power, temptation cannot be resisted.


It was not by accident that the Holy Spirit directed Jesus to submit to baptism before He was led into the wilderness to be tempted. Baptism is a demonstration of a choice that the person has made to no longer live for self, but to be symbolically dead to self and alive only in Christ Jesus.

A. T. Jones, one of the 1888 "messengers," describes baptism this way: "For a person to be baptized in his name, signifies much more than merely to have the phrase recited over him and then to be buried in the water. To be baptized in the name of the Lord, really signifies that just as the person is buried, overwhelmed, and lost sight of, in the water, so also is he buried, overwhelmed, and lost sight of, in the name, the character, the nature, of the Lord. It signifies that that person's old, original nature and character are no more to be seen in the world; but in their stead the nature and character of the Lord. It signifies that he is no more to be manifest in the world; but that God, instead of himself, is to be manifest in him in the world. [1]

Why would baptism be necessary for the spotless Lamb of God as John the Baptist implied when he questioned Christ's request? "When Jesus came to be baptized, John recognized in Him a purity of character that he had never before perceived in any man. … How could he, a sinner, baptize the Sinless One? And why should He who needed no repentance submit to a rite that was a confession of guilt to be washed away?" [2] Why would Jesus need to be "buried, overwhelmed, and lost sight of," as A. T. Jones describes above?

Understanding the nature that Jesus assumed at His incarnation is the key. There are two common views regarding the nature of Christ. The majority of theologians who have considered the issue believe that Christ must have taken the nature of Adam before he sinned in the Garden of Eden. This "pre-fall" nature was necessarily sinless. If baptism "signifies that that person's old, original nature and character are no more to be seen in the world…" and Christ came in the pre-fall nature, He would have no need for baptism. The view of the 1888 messengers is that the only reason we are to die to self and signify that by baptism is that we have a nature that is sinful and deserves to be "buried, overwhelmed, and lost sight of."

Because Jesus came "in the likeness of sinful flesh," and would have to overcome temptations in that flesh, He was baptized to signify He was submitting to the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish His mission. It is important to remember that Christ merely "assumed" or came "in the likeness" of sinful flesh, He did not become sinful. What's the difference and does it matter?

"With regard to the statement that God sent His Son 'in the likeness of sinful flesh,' Waggoner states, 'There is a common idea that this means that Christ simulated sinful flesh, that he did not take upon himself actual sinful flesh, but only what appeared to be such.'

"In rebuttal Waggoner quoted Hebrews 2:17, which affirms that Jesus had 'to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.'

"… to establish the reason for Christ coming in the likeness of sinful flesh, Waggoner places side by side Romans 8:3, 4 and 2 Corinthians 5:21. 'The former says that Christ was sent in the likeness of sinful flesh, "that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us." The latter says that God "made him to be sin for us," although he knew no sin, "that we might be made in the righteousness of God in him." …

"To make sure that his public was clear on the point, Waggoner insisted, 'The word was made perfect flesh in Adam, but in Christ was the Word made fallen flesh. Christ goes down to the bottom, and there is the Word flesh, sinful flesh.'

"In an article in Signs of the Times entitled 'God Manifested in Flesh,' Waggoner stipulates that our sins were not laid on Christ in a symbolic manner, but that they were really laid on Him." [3]

The question remains, why did Christ insist on being baptized? He told John "Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness" (Matt. 3:15, NASB). "Jesus did not receive baptism as a confession of guilt on His own account. He identified Himself with sinners, taking the steps that we are to take, and doing the work that we must do. His life of suffering and patient endurance after His baptism was also an example to us." [4] Since Christ had taken the fallen nature that needed redeeming, He needed to symbolize His death to that nature by baptism. We are to follow His example in spirit and action.

The Temptation of Christ

"After tempting man to sin, Satan claimed the earth was his, and styled himself the prince of this world. Having conformed to his own nature the father and mother of our race, he thought to establish here his empire." [5] That last sentence is important. When Adam and Eve chose sin it changed their natures from the image of God to the image of Satan. God claimed to be all powerful, but Satan claimed that He had lost power over the human race and they now belonged to him. He also claimed it was impossible for them to keep God's law, and he hoped to demonstrate that by tempting Christ to give in to sin.

In a sense, Satan had a point. Once Adam fell, it was impossible for him to keep God's law in his own power. In the conversation between God and the fallen pair in the garden, God promised to "put enmity between you [Satan] and the woman, and between your seed and her seed" (Gen. 3:15). Without this, the change in their nature would have made it impossible to be drawn toward anything other than what they were, self-centered and wicked.

Soon after the wilderness temptations, "Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit" (Luke 4:14). He was teaching in synagogues and came to Nazareth, His home town. He read the words of Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18, 19).

A. T. Jones commented on this event, emphasizing that Jesus was not using His own divine power (He laid that aside; see Phil. 2) but was living a sinless life in the sinful nature He had assumed. "Bear in mind, also, that these words which Jesus read that day in the synagogue, and which he said were that day fulfilled, begin thus: 'The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me;' and that only a few days before this he had been baptized with the Holy Ghost, in order to do that which thus lay before him in the last period of his work on the earth …

"Yet it was essential to the completion of the work of God in that day, that he should be baptized with the Holy Ghost. In that closing period of his work, there were trials, persecutions, temptations, and the cross to meet, which he could not meet successfully without this baptism of the Holy Spirit. So likewise it is essential to the completion of the work of God in this our day, that we be baptized with the Holy Ghost. In this closing period of our work, there are trials, persecutions, temptations, and crosses for us to meet, which we cannot meet successfully without this same baptism of the Holy Spirit.

"Not only do we need this, not only must we have it, but thank the Lord we can have it. God longs for us to receive it. The Father loves us just as he loves Jesus. And praise his holy name, when he places before us the same work that lay before Jesus, he gives us the same Holy Spirit in full measure, to fit us for that work, just as he gave it to Jesus.

"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift, for his tender love, and for his gentle leading of his people." [6]

--Arlene Hill


[1] A. T. Jones, The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Oct. 1, 1895 (emphasis in original).

[2] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p.110.

[3] J. R. Zurcher, Touched with Our Feelings, pp. 74, 75 (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1999).

[4] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p.111.

[5] op. cit., p. 114.

[6] A. T. Jones, The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Oct. 12, 1897 (emphasis in original).


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

"The Coming of Jesus"

Sabbath School Lesson 1 | "The Coming of Jesus" | Pastor Paul Penno: