The Jewish Church Rejects
“The Lord is well pleased for his
righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make [it] honourable.” “He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he
have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall
wait for his law.” Isaiah
5; The Desire of Ages, 201–213.
lesson on the first cleansing of the temple, we found that the priests, rulers,
and most of the people rejected the work of Jesus to cleanse their hearts from
sin. They decided to challenge His work
and mission. In this lesson, we are
going to study the effect that this attitude had on the relationship between
the mission of Jesus and the organized church, its leaders, and people.
1 What is the subject of John chapter
five? John 5:1–9.
was again at Jerusalem. Walking alone, in apparent meditation and
prayer, He came to the pool. He saw the
wretched sufferers watching for that which they supposed to be their only
chance of cure. He longed to exercise
His healing power, and make every sufferer whole. But it was the Sabbath day. Multitudes were going to the temple for
worship, and He knew that such an act of healing would so excite the prejudice
of the Jews as to cut short His work.
Saviour saw one case of supreme wretchedness.
It was that of a man who had been a helpless cripple for thirty-eight
years. His disease was in a great degree
the result of his own sin, and was looked upon as a judgment from God.” The Desire of Ages, 201,
2 What two things did Jesus tell the man to
do? John 5:8.
does not ask this sufferer to exercise faith in Him. He simply says, ‘Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.’ But the man’s faith takes hold upon that
word. Every nerve and muscle thrills
with new life, and healthful action comes to his crippled limbs. Without question he sets his will to obey the
command of Christ, and all his muscles respond to his will. Springing to his feet, he finds himself an
active man.” The Desire of Ages, 202, 203.
the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.” John 5:9,
3 How did the Jews respond to the miraculous
healing of this invalid of 38 years? John 5:16, 18.
rulers knew well that only One had shown Himself able to perform this miracle;
but they wished for direct proof that it was Jesus, that they might condemn Him
as a Sabbath-breaker. In their judgment
He had not only broken the law in healing the sick man on the Sabbath, but had
committed sacrilege in bidding him bear away his bed. . . .
was brought before the Sanhedrin to answer the charge of Sabbathbreaking. Had the Jews at this time been an independent
nation, such a charge would have served their purpose for putting Him to
death.” The Desire of Ages, 204.
4 What instruction did Jesus give to the man
He had healed when He met him later in the temple? John 5:14.
the temple Jesus
met the man who had been healed. He had
come to bring a sin offering and also a thank offering for the great mercy he
had received. Finding him among the
worshipers, Jesus made Himself known, with the warning words, ‘Behold, thou art
made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.’ [John 5:14.]” The Desire of Ages, 204.
through His ministry we find Jesus doing the work the Father had sent Him to
this earth to do, to remove sin from the hearts of the people. But Jesus had another work to do also.
5 What other work did Jesus come to this earth
to do? Isaiah 42:21, 4.
had come to ‘magnify the law, and make it honorable.’ He was not to lessen its dignity, but to
exalt it. The scripture says, ‘He shall
not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth.’ Isaiah 42:21, 4. He had come to free the Sabbath from those
burdensome requirements that had made it a curse instead of a blessing.
this reason He had chosen the Sabbath upon which to perform the act of healing
at Bethesda. He could have healed the sick man as well on
any other day of the week; or He might simply have cured him, without bidding
him bear away his bed. But this would
not have given Him the opportunity He desired.”
The Desire of
6 What was the opportunity Jesus desired to bring about
by healing the man on the Sabbath day and instructing him to carry his bed
through the streets?
the afflicted ones at the pool He selected the worst case upon whom to exercise
His healing power, and bade the man carry his bed through the city in order to
publish the great work that had been wrought upon him. This would raise the question of what it was
lawful to do on the Sabbath, and would open the way for Him to denounce the
restrictions of the Jews in regard to the Lord’s day,
and to declare their traditions void.” The Desire of Ages, 206.
came, not only to remove sin from the hearts of men, but also to remove the
rubbish of men’s writings and traditions that hid the truth from the eyes of
7 Jesus acknowledged that the Jews were
diligent students of the Scripture, but what did He say about their
relationship to Him? John 5:39, 40.
the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his
form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he
sent. You diligently study the
Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about
me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
“I do not accept praise
from men, but I know you. I know that
you do not have the love of God in your hearts.
I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone
else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe if you accept praise from
one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only
God?” John 5:37–44, NIV.
8 If the Jews had not interposed in the
ministry of Jesus, what would have resulted from His work?
the priests and rabbis had not interposed, His teaching would have wrought such
a reformation as this world has never witnessed.” The Desire of Ages, 305.
9 How did the priests and rabbis try to
misrepresent Jesus and His mission?
in order to maintain their own power, these leaders determined to break down
the influence of Jesus. His arraignment
before the Sanhedrin, and an open condemnation of His teachings, would aid in
effecting this; for the people still had great reverence for their religious
leaders. Whoever dared to condemn the
rabbinical requirements, or attempt to lighten the burdens they had brought
upon the people, was regarded as guilty, not only of blasphemy, but of
treason. On this ground the rabbis hoped
to excite suspicion of Christ. They
represented Him as trying to overthrow the established customs, thus causing
division among the people, and preparing the way for complete subjugation by
the Romans.” The Desire of Ages, 205.
10 How bitter and agitated did the Sanhedrin
become over the issue of Jesus’ healing the man on the Sabbath, thus breaking
adversaries of Christ had no arguments with which to meet the truths He brought
home to their consciences. They could
only cite their customs and traditions, and these seemed weak and vapid when
compared with the arguments Jesus had drawn from the word of God and the
unceasing round of nature. Had the
rabbis felt any desire to receive light, they would have been convinced that
Jesus spoke the truth. But they evaded
the points He made concerning the Sabbath, and sought to stir up anger against
Him because He claimed to be equal with God.
The fury of the rulers knew no bounds.
Had they not feared the people, the priests and rabbis would have slain
Jesus on the spot.” The Desire of Ages, 208.
“He [Satan] planned to
work through his human agencies in the religious world, by imbuing them with
his own enmity against the champion of truth.
He would lead them to reject Christ and to make His life as bitter as
possible, hoping to discourage Him in His mission. And the leaders in Israel
became instruments of Satan in warring against the Saviour.” Ibid., 206.
11 What happened to the relationship between the
Jewish church and God when they took the Son of God to task?
priests and rabbis were taking the Son of God to task for the very work He had
been sent into the world to do. By their
sins they had separated themselves from God, and in their pride were moving independently
of Him. They felt sufficient in
themselves for all things, and realized no need of a higher wisdom to direct
their acts.” The Desire of Ages, 208.
12 When the Jewish church rejected Christ in His
Word, what else did they reject?
Jews had the Scriptures in their possession, and supposed that in their mere
outward knowledge of the word they had eternal life. But Jesus said, ‘Ye have not His word abiding
in you.’ Having rejected Christ in His
word, they rejected Him in person. ‘Ye
will not come to Me,’ He said, ‘that ye might have
life.’ ” The Desire of Ages, 212.
“They were not acquainted with God, and
to them His voice through Christ was the voice of a stranger.” Ibid., 213.
13 What do the words of Christ teach about our
relationship to God the Father?
words of Christ teach that we should regard ourselves as inseparably bound to
our Father in heaven. Whatever our
position, we are dependent upon God, who holds all destinies in His hands. He has appointed us our work, and has endowed
us with faculties and means for that work.
So long as we surrender the will to God, and trust in His strength and
wisdom, we shall be guided in safe paths, to fulfill our appointed part in His great
plan. But the one who depends upon his
own wisdom and power is separating himself from God. Instead of working in unison with Christ, he
is fulfilling the purpose of the enemy of God and man.” The Desire of Ages, 209.
14 What did the priests and rabbis
understand? What did they sense when
Jesus pressed their guilt upon them?
knew that the priests and rabbis were determined to take His life; yet He
clearly explained to them His unity with the Father, and His relation to the
world. They saw that their opposition to
Him was without excuse, yet their murderous hatred was not quenched. Fear seized them as they witnessed the
convincing power that attended His ministry; but they resisted His appeals, and
locked themselves in darkness.
had signally failed to subvert the authority of Jesus or to alienate the
respect and attention of the people, many of whom were convicted by His
words. The rulers themselves had felt
deep condemnation as He had pressed their guilt home upon their consciences;
yet this only made them the more bitter against Him. They were determined to take His life.” The Desire of Ages, 213.
healing of the man at Bethesda and
the ensuing confrontation with the Sanhedrin occurred at the second Passover
during the ministry of Jesus. It was just
one year before this that Jesus cleansed the temple and announced His mission
to cleanse the heart from sin.
15 What did Jesus do after the Sanhedrin rejected
note: “The Sanhedrin had rejected Christ’s
message and was bent upon His death; therefore Jesus departed from Jerusalem,
from the priests, the temple, the religious leaders, the people who had been
instructed in the law, and turned to another class to proclaim His message, and
to gather out those who should carry the gospel to all nations.” The Desire of Ages, 232.
leaders in Israel
had received Christ, He would have honored them as His messengers to carry the
gospel to the world. To them first was
given the opportunity to become heralds of the kingdom and grace of God. But Israel
knew not the time of her visitation. The
jealousy and distrust of the Jewish leaders had ripened into open hatred, and
the hearts of the people were turned away from Jesus.” Ibid., 231, 232.
us keep in mind that although Jesus left these priests and leaders just one
year after He began His ministry to work with another group of people, they
still remained in charge of the church until Jerusalem
was destroyed in 70 a.d.
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