Bible Study Guides – The Samaritan Woman (II)

May 28, 2017 – June 3, 2017

Key Text

“Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35).

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 188–195.


“Every true disciple is born into the kingdom of God as a missionary.” The Desire of Ages, 195.



  • Upon recognizing Jesus as the Messiah, what did the Samaritan woman immediately do? John 4:28, 29.

Note: “The woman had been filled with joy as she listened to Christ’s words. The wonderful revelation was almost overpowering. Leaving her waterpot, she returned to the city, to carry the message to others. Jesus knew why she had gone. Leaving her waterpot spoke unmistakably as to the effect of His words. It was the earnest desire of her soul to obtain the living water; and she forgot her errand to the well, she forgot the Saviour’s thirst, which she had purposed to supply. With heart overflowing with gladness, she hastened on her way, to impart to others the precious light she had received.” The Desire of Ages, 191.

  • What did the inhabitants of Sychar do when they heard the testimony of their fellow citizen? John 4:30.

Note: “ ‘Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did,’ she said to the men of the city. ‘Is not this the Christ?’ Her words touched their hearts. There was a new expression on her face, a change in her whole appearance. They were interested to see Jesus. ‘Then they went out of the city, and came unto Him’ (John 4:29, 30).” The Desire of Ages, 191.



  • As Jesus saw the inhabitants of Sychar coming, what did He say to His disciples? John 4:35–38.

Note: “As Jesus still sat at the well side, He looked over the fields of grain that were spread out before Him, their tender green touched by the golden sunlight. Pointing His disciples to the scene, He employed it as a symbol: ‘Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest’ (John 4:35). And as He spoke, He looked on the groups that were coming to the well. It was four months to the time for harvesting the grain, but here was a harvest ready for the reaper.

“ ‘He that reapeth,’ He said, ‘receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth’ (verses 36, 37). Here Christ points out the sacred service owed to God by those who receive the gospel. They are to be His living agencies. He requires their individual service. And whether we sow or reap, we are working for God. One scatters the seed; another gathers in the harvest; and both the sower and the reaper receive wages. They rejoice together in the reward of their labor.

“Jesus said to the disciples, ‘I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labor: other men labored, and ye are entered into their labors’ (verse 38). The Saviour was here looking forward to the great ingathering on the day of Pentecost. The disciples were not to regard this as the result of their own efforts. They were entering into other men’s labors. Ever since the fall of Adam Christ had been committing the seed of the word to His chosen servants, to be sown in human hearts. And an unseen agency, even an omnipotent power, had worked silently but effectually to produce the harvest. The dew and rain and sunshine of God’s grace had been given, to refresh and nourish the seed of truth. Christ was about to water the seed with His own blood. His disciples were privileged to be laborers together with God. They were coworkers with Christ and with the holy men of old. By the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, thousands were to be converted in a day. This was the result of Christ’s sowing, the harvest of His work.” The Desire of Ages, 191, 192.

  • What was the effect of the woman’s testimony about Christ? John 4:39.



  • What petition did the Samaritans make to Jesus? John 4:40.

  • What was the result? John 4:41.

Note: “In the words spoken to the woman at the well, good seed had been sown, and how quickly the harvest was received. The Samaritans came and heard Jesus, and believed on Him. Crowding about Him at the well, they plied Him with questions, and eagerly received His explanations of many things that had been obscure to them. As they listened, their perplexity began to clear away. They were like a people in great darkness tracing up a sudden ray of light till they had found the day. But they were not satisfied with this short conference. They were anxious to hear more, and to have their friends also listen to this wonderful teacher. They invited Him to their city, and begged Him to remain with them. For two days He tarried in Samaria, and many more believed on Him.” The Desire of Ages, 192.

  • How can we benefit from having a similar experience as the people of Samaria?

Note: “If we meet obstacles in our path, and faithfully overcome them; if we encounter opposition and reproach, and in Christ’s name gain the victory; if we bear responsibilities and discharge our duties in the spirit of our Master—then, indeed, we gain a precious knowledge of His faithfulness and power. We no longer depend upon the experience of others, for we have the witness in ourselves. Like the Samaritans of old, we can say, ‘We have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world’ (John 4:42).

“The more we contemplate the character of Christ, and the more we experience of His saving power, the more keenly shall we realize our own weakness and imperfection, and the more earnestly shall we look to Him as our strength and our Redeemer. We have no power in ourselves to cleanse the soul temple from its defilement; but as we repent of our sins against God, and seek pardon through the merits of Christ, He will impart that faith which works by love and purifies the heart. By faith in Christ and obedience to the law of God we may be sanctified, and thus obtain a fitness for the society of holy angels and the white-robed redeemed ones in the kingdom of glory.” The Sanctified Life, 83.



  • What did many Samaritans declare after having accepted Jesus as the Messiah? John 4:42.

Note: “The Pharisees despised the simplicity of Jesus. They ignored His miracles, and demanded a sign that He was the Son of God. But the Samaritans asked no sign, and Jesus performed no miracles among them, save in revealing the secrets of her life to the woman at the well. Yet many received Him. In their new joy they said to the woman, ‘Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world’ (John 4:42).” The Desire of Ages, 192, 193.

  • Upon what prophecy did the Samaritans base their faith in the promised Messiah? Genesis 49:10.

Note: “The Samaritans believed that the Messiah was to come as the Redeemer, not only of the Jews, but of the world. The Holy Spirit through Moses had foretold Him as a prophet sent from God. Through Jacob it had been declared that unto Him should the gathering of the people be; and through Abraham, that in Him all the nations of the earth should be blessed. On these scriptures the people of Samaria based their faith in the Messiah. The fact that the Jews had misinterpreted the later prophets, attributing to the first advent the glory of Christ’s second coming, had led the Samaritans to discard all the sacred writings except those given through Moses. But as the Saviour swept away these false interpretations, many accepted the later prophecies and the words of Christ Himself in regard to the kingdom of God.” The Desire of Ages, 193.

  • How can we reproduce the work of Christ with the Samaritans?

Note: “Christ’s teaching softened and subdued the soul. The truth received into the heart will work a renovation in the soul. Those who love Jesus will love the souls for whom He died. The truth planted in the heart will reveal the love of Jesus and its transforming power. Anything harsh, sour, critical, domineering, is not of Christ, but proceeds from Satan.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 156.



  • Give some examples of what Christians become when they truly receive Christ. Mark 5:18–20; 7:31–37.

  • What essential lesson do we learn from the Samaritan woman? 1 John 1:1–3; 2 Corinthians 5:1, first part.

Note: “As soon as she had found the Saviour the Samaritan woman brought others to Him. She proved herself a more effective missionary than His own disciples. The disciples saw nothing in Samaria to indicate that it was an encouraging field. Their thoughts were fixed upon a great work to be done in the future. They did not see that right around them was a harvest to be gathered. But through the woman whom they despised, a whole cityful were brought to hear the Saviour. She carried the light at once to her countrymen.

“This woman represents the working of a practical faith in Christ. Every true disciple is born into the kingdom of God as a missionary. He who drinks of the living water becomes a fountain of life. The receiver becomes a giver. The grace of Christ in the soul is like a spring in the desert, welling up to refresh all, and making those who are ready to perish eager to drink of the water of life.” The Desire of Ages, 195.



1 What did the woman do when she recognized Jesus as the only Saviour?

2 What is the meaning of the words, “Look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest”?

3 How many days did Jesus remain with the Samaritans?

4 What testimony did the Samaritans give concerning Jesus?

5 What do people do as soon as they receive Jesus into their hearts?

Bible Study Guides – The Authority of the Son

June 18, 2017 – June 24, 2017

Key Text

“For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man” (John 5:26, 27).

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 206–213.


“My authority, He said, for doing the work of which you accuse Me, is that I am the Son of God, one with Him in nature, in will, and in purpose. In all His works of creation and providence, I cooperate with God.” The Desire of Ages, 208.


1          EQUAL WITH GOD

  •         Besides the healing of the paralytic on the Sabbath, for what other reason did the Jews hate Jesus? John 5:17, 18.

Note: “Jesus claimed equal rights with God. …

“The whole nation of the Jews called God their Father, therefore they would not have been so enraged if Christ had represented Himself as standing in the same relation to God. But they accused Him of blasphemy, showing that they understood Him as making this claim in the highest sense.” The Desire of Ages, 207, 208.

  •         How did Christ vindicate the authority of God’s commandments above human traditions? Matthew 15:1–9, 13.

Note: “These 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.” The Desire of Ages, 208.



  •         How did Jesus explain His relationship with the Father? John 5:19, 20.
  •         What authority and power pertaining to the Father did Christ declare He also possessed? John 5:21–23.

 Note: “The humble Nazarene asserts His real nobility. He rises above humanity, throws off the guise of sin and shame, and stands revealed, the Honored of the angels, the Son of God, One with the Creator of the universe. His hearers are spellbound. No man has ever spoken words like His, or borne himself with such a kingly majesty. His utterances are clear and plain, fully declaring His mission, and the duty of the world. ‘For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which hath sent Him. … For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man’ (John 5:22, 23, 26, 27).

“The priests and rulers had set themselves up as judges to condemn Christ’s work, but He declared Himself their judge, and the judge of all the earth. The world has been committed to Christ, and through Him has come every blessing from God to the fallen race. He was the Redeemer before as after His incarnation. As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour. He has given light and life to all, and according to the measure of light given, each is to be judged. And He who has given the light, He who has followed the soul with tenderest entreaty, seeking to win it from sin to holiness, is in one its advocate and judge. From the opening of the great controversy in heaven, Satan has maintained his cause through deception; and Christ has been working to unveil his schemes and to break his power. It is He who has encountered the deceiver, and who through all the ages has been seeking to wrest the captives from his grasp, who will pass judgment upon every soul.” The Desire of Ages, 210.

“Christ is the only true standard of character, and he who sets himself up as a standard for others is putting himself in the place of Christ. And since the Father ‘hath committed all judgment unto the Son’ (John 5:22), whoever presumes to judge the motives of others is again usurping the prerogative of the Son of God. These would-be judges and critics are placing themselves on the side of antichrist.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 125, 126.



  •         What assurance is given to every true believer? John 5:24.
  •         What other divine prerogative did Christ assert He possessed? John 5:25–29.

Note: “And God ‘hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man’ (John 5:27). Because He has tasted the very dregs of human affliction and temptation, and understands the frailties and sins of men; because in our behalf He has victoriously withstood the temptations of Satan, and will deal justly and tenderly with the souls that His own blood has been poured out to save—because of this, the Son of man is appointed to execute the judgment.

“But Christ’s mission was not for judgment, but for salvation. ‘God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved’ (John 3:17). And before the Sanhedrin Jesus declared, ‘He that heareth My word, and believeth Him that sent Me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life’ (John 5:24, R.V.).

“Bidding His hearers marvel not, Christ opened before them, in still wider view, the mystery of the future. [John 5:28, 29, R.V. quoted.]

“This assurance of the future life was that for which Israel had so long waited, and which they had hoped to receive at the Messiah’s advent. The only light that can lighten the gloom of the grave was shining upon them. But self-will is blind. Jesus had violated the traditions of the rabbis, and disregarded their authority, and they would not believe.

“The time, the place, the occasion, the intensity of feeling that pervaded the assembly, all combined to make the words of Jesus before the Sanhedrin the more impressive. The highest religious authorities of the nation were seeking the life of Him who declared Himself the restorer of Israel. The Lord of the Sabbath was arraigned before an earthly tribunal to answer the charge of breaking the Sabbath law. When He so fearlessly declared His mission, His judges looked upon Him with astonishment and rage; but His words were unanswerable. They could not condemn Him. He denied the right of the priests and rabbis to question Him, or to interfere with His work. They were invested with no such authority. Their claims were based upon their own pride and arrogance. He refused to plead guilty of their charges, or to be catechized by them.” The Desire of Ages, 210, 211.



  •         How did Jesus explain the cause of the Jews’ unbelief? John 5:37, 38.

Note: “Instead of apologizing for the act of which they complained, or explaining His purpose in doing it, Jesus turned upon the rulers, and the accused became the accuser. He rebuked them for the hardness of their hearts, and their ignorance of the Scriptures. He declared that they had rejected the word of God, inasmuch as they had rejected Him whom God had sent. ‘Ye search the Scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of Me’ (John 5:39, R.V.).” The Desire of Ages, 211.

  •         Why did the Jews fail to understand the Scriptures? John 5:39, 40.

Note: “In every page, whether history, or precept, or prophecy, the Old Testament Scriptures are irradiated with the glory of the Son of God. So far as it was of divine institution, the entire system of Judaism was a compacted prophecy of the gospel. To Christ ‘give all the prophets witness’ (Acts 10:43). From the promise given to Adam, down through the patriarchal line and the legal economy, heaven’s glorious light made plain the footsteps of the Redeemer. Seers beheld the Star of Bethlehem, the Shiloh to come, as future things swept before them in mysterious procession. In every sacrifice Christ’s death was shown. In every cloud of incense His righteousness ascended. By every jubilee trumpet His name was sounded. In the awful mystery of the holy of holies His glory dwelt.

“The 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’ (John 5:38, 40).” The Desire of Ages, 211, 212.

“The word of God, spoken to the heart, has an animating power, and those who will frame any excuse for neglecting to become acquainted with it will neglect the claims of God in many respects. The character will be deformed, the words and acts a reproach to the truth. … As the mind dwells upon the virtue and piety of holy men of old, the spirit which inspired them will kindle a flame of love and holy fervor in the hearts of those who would be like them in character.” Counsels on Sabbath School Work, 17, 18.


5          THE GLORY OF GOD

  •         What other cause of unbelief among the Jews was pointed out by Jesus? John 5:41, 42.

Note: “The Jewish leaders had studied the teachings of the prophets concerning the kingdom of the Messiah; but they had done this, not with a sincere desire to know the truth, but with the purpose of finding evidence to sustain their ambitious hopes. When Christ came in a manner contrary to their expectations, they would not receive Him; and in order to justify themselves, they tried to prove Him a deceiver. When once they had set their feet in this path, it was easy for Satan to strengthen their opposition to Christ. The very words that should have been received as evidence of His divinity were interpreted against Him. Thus they turned the truth of God into a lie, and the more directly the Saviour spoke to them in His works of mercy, the more determined they were in resisting the light.” The Desire of Ages, 212.

  •         What led the Jews to reject Jesus and welcome false teachers? John 5:43, 44.

Note: “ ‘I am come in My Father’s name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive’ (John 5:43). Jesus came by the authority of God, bearing His image, fulfilling His word, and seeking His glory; yet He was not accepted by the leaders in Israel; but when others should come, assuming the character of Christ, but actuated by their own will and seeking their own glory, they would be received. And why? Because he who is seeking his own glory appeals to the desire for self-exaltation in others. To such appeals the Jews could respond. They would receive the false teacher because he flattered their pride by sanctioning their cherished opinions and traditions.” The Desire of Ages, 212, 213.



1          What authority and rights did Christ claim?

2          What relationship has always existed between Jesus and the Father?

3          What power does Christ possess?

4          Explain John 5:39, 40.

5          What was the result of the Jews’ rejection of Jesus as the Messiah?

Copyright © 2004 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – The Paralytic of Bethesda

June 11, 2017 – June 17, 2017

Key Text

“Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (John 5:17).

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 201–206.


“The work of Christ in healing the sick was in perfect accord with the law. It honored the Sabbath.” The Desire of Ages, 207.



  •         For what purpose did many disabled people go to Jerusalem? John 5:2, 3.
  •         What belief did the people have about the pool of Bethesda? John 5:4.

Note: “ ‘Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water’ (John 5:2, 3).

“At certain seasons the waters of this pool were agitated, and it was commonly believed that this was the result of supernatural power, and that whoever first after the troubling of the pool stepped into the waters, would be healed of whatever disease he had. Hundreds of sufferers visited the place; but so great was the crowd when the water was troubled that they rushed forward, trampling underfoot men, women, and children, weaker than themselves. Many could not get near the pool. Many who had succeeded in reaching it died upon its brink. Shelters had been erected about the place, that the sick might be protected from the heat by day and the chilliness of the night. There were some who spent the night in these porches, creeping to the edge of the pool day after day, in the vain hope of relief.” The Desire of Ages, 201.


2          THE PARALYTIC

  •         Whom did Jesus see beside the pool? John 5:5.

Note: “Jesus 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.

“But the 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. Alone and friendless, feeling that he was shut out from God’s mercy, the sufferer had passed long years of misery. At the time when it was expected that the waters would be troubled, those who pitied his helplessness would bear him to the porches. But at the favored moment he had no one to help him in. He had seen the rippling of the water, but had never been able to get farther than the edge of the pool. Others stronger than he would plunge in before him. He could not contend successfully with the selfish, scrambling crowd. His persistent efforts toward the one object, and his anxiety and continual disappointment, were fast wearing away the remnant of his strength.” The Desire of Ages, 201, 202.

  •         What did Jesus ask him and what was his answer? John 5:6, 7.
  •         What did Jesus tell the paralytic to do? John 5:8.

Note: “Jesus does not ask this sufferer to exercise faith in Him. He simply says, ‘Rise, take up thy bed, and walk’ (John 5:8). 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.

“Jesus had given him no assurance of divine help. The man might have stopped to doubt, and lost his one chance of healing. But he believed Christ’s word, and in acting upon it he received strength.” The Desire of Ages, 202, 203.



  •         In what condition do people who are separated from Christ find themselves? Isaiah 1:5, 6; Ephesians 2:1–3.

Note: “Through the same faith we may receive spiritual healing. By sin we have been severed from the life of God. Our souls are palsied. Of ourselves we are no more capable of living a holy life than was the impotent man capable of walking.” The Desire of Ages, 203.

“The branch which does not derive its nourishment from the vine, is unable to bear fruit. Having no real, vital connection with the vine, not receiving the sap which flows through the parent stock, it is fruitless. So it is with those who are not truly united to Christ. They may claim to know Him, their names may be on the church roll, but unless they are living branches of the True Vine, this is of no value. There is a union with the church that avails nothing with God. Their profession will not save them, for their want of faith, their lack of fruit, proves that they are false branches. They are hearers, and not doers, of the word of God, and their future is shown in this parable [of the vine and the branches]. Their separation from Christ involves a ruin as complete as that represented by the dead branch. ‘If a man abide not in me,’ said Christ, ‘he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned’ (John 15:6).” The Signs of the Times, December 10, 1896.

  •         What is the only remedy for such a condition? Acts 9:34.

Note: “There are many who realize their helplessness, and who long for that spiritual life which will bring them into harmony with God; they are vainly striving to obtain it. In despair they cry, ‘O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?’ (Romans 7:24, margin). Let these desponding, struggling ones look up. The Saviour is bending over the purchase of His blood, saying with inexpressible tenderness and pity, ‘Wilt thou be made whole?’ (John 5:6). He bids you arise in health and peace. Do not wait to feel that you are made whole. Believe His word, and it will be fulfilled. Put your will on the side of Christ. Will to serve Him, and in acting upon His word you will receive strength. Whatever may be the evil practice, the master passion which through long indulgence binds both soul and body, Christ is able and longs to deliver. He will impart life to the soul that is ‘dead in trespasses’ (Ephesians 2:1). He will set free the captive that is held by weakness and misfortune and the chains of sin.” The Desire of Ages, 203.



  •         Ignoring the blessing bestowed upon the paralytic, why did the Pharisees become irritated? John 5:9, last part, 10.

Note: “The restored paralytic stooped to take up his bed, which was only a rug and a blanket, and as he straightened himself again with a sense of delight, he looked around for his Deliverer; but Jesus was lost in the crowd. The man feared that he would not know Him if he should see Him again. As he hurried on his way with firm, free step, praising God and rejoicing in his new-found strength, he met several of the Pharisees, and immediately told them of his cure. He was surprised at the coldness with which they listened to his story.

“With lowering brows they interrupted him, asking why he was carrying his bed on the Sabbath day. They sternly reminded him that it was not lawful to bear burdens on the Lord’s day. In his joy the man had forgotten that it was the Sabbath; yet he felt no condemnation for obeying the command of One who had such power from God. He answered boldly, ‘He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk’ (John 5:11). They asked who it was that had done this, but he could not tell. These 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.” The Desire of Ages, 203, 204.

  •         What had the Jews made of the Sabbath? Matthew 23:4.

Note: “The Jews had so perverted the law that they made it a yoke of bondage. Their meaningless requirements had become a byword among other nations. Especially was the Sabbath hedged in by all manner of senseless restrictions. It was not to them a delight, the holy of the Lord, and honorable. The scribes and Pharisees had made its observance an intolerable burden. A Jew was not allowed to kindle a fire nor even to light a candle on the Sabbath. As a consequence the people were dependent upon the Gentiles for many services which their rules forbade them to do for themselves.” The Desire of Ages, 204.



  •         How did Jesus relate to the law of God and to the Sabbath? Isaiah 42:21.

Note: “Jesus 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.” The Desire of Ages, 206.

  •         What should and should not be done on the Sabbath? Exodus 20:8–11.

Note: “A wise purpose underlay every act of Christ’s life on earth. Everything He did was important in itself and in its teaching. Among 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. …

“And man also has a work to perform on this day. The necessities of life must be attended to, the sick must be cared for, the wants of the needy must be supplied. He will not be held guiltless who neglects to relieve suffering on the Sabbath. God’s holy rest day was made for man, and acts of mercy are in perfect harmony with its intent. God does not desire His creatures to suffer an hour’s pain that may be relieved upon the Sabbath or any other day.” The Desire of Ages, 206, 207.



1          What belief was prevalent among the Jews concerning the pool of Bethesda?

2          What special case attracted Christ’s attention?

3          Who is the only Physician that can cure our spiritual paralysis?

4          What action of Jesus greatly irritated the Jews?

5          What works are in harmony with the Sabbath commandment?

Copyright © 2004 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – The Nobleman’s Son

June 4, 2017 – June 10, 2017

Key Text

“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20, 21).

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 196–200.


“When we come to Him in faith, every petition enters the heart of God. When we have asked for His blessing, we should believe that we receive it, and thank Him that we have received it.” The Desire of Ages, 200. [Emphasis author’s.]



  •         After spending two days with the Samaritans, to what city of Galilee did Jesus journey? John 4:43–46, first part.

Note: “The news of Christ’s return to Cana soon spread throughout Galilee, bringing hope to the suffering and distressed.” The Desire of Ages, 196.

  •         Who came to meet Jesus in Galilee? John 4:46, last part, 47, first part.

Note: “In Capernaum the tidings attracted the attention of a Jewish nobleman who was an officer in the king’s service. A son of the officer was suffering from what seemed to be an incurable disease. Physicians had given him up to die; but when the father heard of Jesus, he determined to seek help from Him. The child was very low, and, it was feared, might not live till his return; yet the nobleman felt that he must present the case in person. He hoped that a father’s prayers might awaken the sympathy of the Great Physician.” The Desire of Ages, 196, 197.



  •         What was the nobleman’s request? John 4:47, last part.

Note: “On reaching Cana he found a throng surrounding Jesus. With an anxious heart he pressed through to the Saviour’s presence. His faith faltered when he saw only a plainly dressed man, dusty and worn with travel. He doubted that this Person could do what he had come to ask of Him; yet he secured an interview with Jesus, told his errand, and besought the Saviour to accompany him to his home. But already his sorrow was known to Jesus. Before the officer had left his home, the Saviour had beheld his affliction.” The Desire of Ages, 197, 198.

  •         In what words did Jesus reveal His knowledge of the nobleman’s unbelief? John 4:48.

Note: “But He knew also that the father had, in his own mind, made conditions concerning his belief in Jesus. Unless his petition should be granted, he would not receive Him as the Messiah. While the officer waited in an agony of suspense, Jesus said, ‘Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe’ (John 4:48).

“Notwithstanding all the evidence that Jesus was the Christ, the petitioner had determined to make his belief in Him conditional on the granting of his own request.” The Desire of Ages, 198.

“Christ had said to the nobleman whose son He healed, ‘Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe’ (John 4:48). He was grieved that His own nation should require these outward signs of His Messiahship. Again and again He had marveled at their unbelief.” Ibid., 315.

“Many who refuse the message which the Lord sends them are seeking to find pegs on which to hang doubts, to find some excuse for rejecting the light of heaven. In the face of clear evidence they say, as did the Jews, ‘Show us a miracle, and we will believe. If these messengers have the truth, why do they not heal the sick?’ …

“Could their eyes be opened, they would see evil angels exulting around them and triumphing in their power to deceive them. The day is just before us when Satan will answer the demand of these doubters and present numerous miracles to confirm the faith of all those who are seeking this kind of evidence. How terrible will be the situation of those who close their eyes to the light of truth and ask for miracles to establish them in deception!” Evangelism, 594.



  •         How did Christ reveal sadness at the unbelief of His own people? Matthew 12:38, 39.

Note: “Christ was pained that His own people, to whom the Sacred Oracles had been committed, should fail to hear the voice of God speaking to them in His Son.” The Desire of Ages, 198.

  •         What difference existed between Jews and Samaritans in regard to their belief in Jesus? Mark 6:2–6; John 4:40–42.

Note: “The Saviour contrasted this questioning unbelief with the simple faith of the Samaritans, who asked for no miracle or sign. His word, the ever-present evidence of His divinity, had a convincing power that reached their hearts.” The Desire of Ages, 198.

  •         To whom should our own faith be revealed today? Romans 16:26.

Note: “However short our service or humble our work, if in simple faith we follow Christ, we shall not be disappointed of the reward. That which even the greatest and wisest cannot earn, the weakest and most humble may receive. Heaven’s golden gate opens not to the selfexalted. It is not lifted up to the proud in spirit. But the everlasting portals will open wide to the trembling touch of a little child. Blessed will be the recompense of grace to those who have wrought for God in the simplicity of faith and love.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 404.

“Of all professing Christians, Seventh-day Adventists should be foremost in uplifting Christ before the world. The proclamation of the third angel’s message calls for the presentation of the Sabbath truth. This truth, with others included in the message, is to be proclaimed; but the great center of attraction, Christ Jesus, must not be left out. It is at the cross of Christ that mercy and truth meet together, and righteousness and peace kiss each other. The sinner must be led to look to Calvary; with the simple faith of a little child he must trust in the merits of the Saviour, accepting His righteousness, believing in His mercy.” Gospel Workers, 156, 157.



  •         When the nobleman’s faith took hold of Christ, how did he reiterate his plea? John 4:49.

Note: “Yet the nobleman had a degree of faith; for he had come to ask what seemed to him the most precious of all blessings. …

“Like a flash of light, the Saviour’s words to the nobleman laid bare his heart. He saw that his motives in seeking Jesus were selfish. His vacillating faith appeared to him in its true character. In deep distress he realized that his doubt might cost the life of his son. He knew that he was in the presence of One who could read the thoughts, and to whom all things were possible. In an agony of supplication he cried, ‘Sir, come down ere my child die’ (John 4:49). His faith took hold upon Christ as did Jacob, when, wrestling with the Angel, he cried, ‘I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me’ (Genesis 32:26).” The Desire of Ages, 198.

  •         What did Jesus do instead of going to the nobleman’s home? John 4:50.

Note: “Jesus had a greater gift to bestow. He desired, not only to heal the child, but to make the officer and his household sharers in the blessings of salvation, and to kindle a light in Capernaum, which was so soon to be the field of His own labors. But the nobleman must realize his need before he would desire the grace of Christ. This courtier represented many of his nation. They were interested in Jesus from selfish motives. They hoped to receive some special benefit through His power, and they staked their faith on the granting of this temporal favor; but they were ignorant as to their spiritual disease, and saw not their need of divine grace. …

“Like Jacob he prevailed. The Saviour cannot withdraw from the soul that clings to Him, pleading its great need. ‘Go thy way,’ He said; ‘thy son liveth’ (John 4:50). The nobleman left the Saviour’s presence with a peace and joy he had never known before. Not only did he believe that his son would be restored, but with strong confidence he trusted in Christ as the Redeemer.” The Desire of Ages, 198, 199.

“If we make an entire surrender to Him, leave our life of sin and passion and pride, and cling to Christ and His merits, He will fulfill to us that He has promised. He says that He will give liberally to all who ask Him. Cannot we believe it? I have tested Him on this point, and know that He is faithful to fulfill all His promises.” The Signs of the Times, September 29, 1887.



  •         In what manner did Jesus heal the nobleman’s son? John 4:51–53.

Note: “At the same hour the watchers beside the dying child in the home at Capernaum beheld a sudden and mysterious change. The shadow of death was lifted from the sufferer’s face. The flush of fever gave place to the soft glow of returning health. The dim eyes brightened with intelligence, and strength returned to the feeble, emaciated frame. No signs of his malady lingered about the child. His burning flesh had become soft and moist, and he sank into a quiet sleep. The fever had left him in the very heat of the day. The family were amazed, and great was the rejoicing.

“Cana was not so far from Capernaum but that the officer might have reached his home on the evening after his interview with Jesus; but he did not hasten on the homeward journey. It was not until the next morning that he reached Capernaum. What a homecoming was that! When he went to find Jesus, his heart was heavy with sorrow. The sunshine seemed cruel to him, the songs of the birds a mockery. How different his feelings now! All nature wears a new aspect. He sees with new eyes. As he journeys in the quiet of the early morning, all nature seems to be praising God with him. While he is still some distance from his own dwelling, servants come out to meet him, anxious to relieve the suspense they are sure he must feel. He shows no surprise at the news they bring, but with a depth of interest they cannot know he asks at what hour the child began to mend. They answer, ‘Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him’ (John 4:52). At the very moment when the father’s faith grasped the assurance, ‘Thy son liveth’ (verse 51), divine love touched the dying child.” The Desire of Ages, 199.



1          Why are prophets generally not well received in their own lands?

2          What words of the nobleman revealed his unbelief?

3          How did Christ react to the unbelief of His people?

4          What does Jesus promise to all who accept His invitation?

5          How does Jesus act towards any person who pleads for help?

Copyright © 2004 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Food – Sesame Butter and Sesame Tahini

There is a difference between sesame butter and tahini. Here we give some insights into sesame seeds that you may never have known before. Enjoy!

“In popular health food books, and on countless Internet sites, there is much confusion over the names of the healthful phenolic compounds found in sesame seeds and their oil. … The actual seeds contain about 50-60 percent of a fatty oil that is characterized by two members of the lignin family: sesamin and sesamolin. When the seeds are refined (as in the making of sesame oil), two other phenolic antioxidants—sesamol ane sesaminol—are formed. …

“It’s hardly surprising that sesame seeds help reduce cholesterol, since they are so rich in cholesterol-lowering phytosterols. … A team of researchers from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University tested twenty-seven different nut and seed products. If sesame seeds had a public relations agent, the results of the study would have made her very happy indeed. Sesame seeds (and wheat germ) had the highest phytosterol content of all the products tested: 400 mg per 100 g. The main phytosterol identified in all the nut and seed samples was beta-sitosterol, which is known not only for lowering cholesterol but also for supporting prostate health.

“Sesame seeds are very high in calcium, but there is some controversy over how useful that calcium is to the body since much of it is bound to oxalic acid, making it less bio-available. According to natural-foods expert Rebecca Wood, hulling (the process of removing the outer skin) removes the oxalic acid, but it also removes most of the calcium, plus the fiber and a lot of the potassium and iron. In certain parts of Japan, whole sesame seeds are an essential part of the diet and are prepared as a condiment known as gomasio, made by toasting whole sesame seeds with unrefined sea salt at high temperatures. Toasting the whole sesame seeds at these high temperatures may improve the assimilation of calcium by getting rid of the oxalates.

“Calcium aside, sesame seeds are also a rich source of minerals, fiber, and protein. Two tablespoons of seeds contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese, 35 percent of the Daily Value of copper, 2g of fiber and 3g of protein—more protein than any other nut or seed.

“You can really enhance their nutty flavor by toasting them in a dry skillet over medium heat until they’re golden brown. They come in shades of black, brown, and yellow as well as the more common beige variety. The black seeds have a stronger flavor. Sesame butter is a great alternative to peanut butter and is usually made of whole roasted sesame seeds. Tahini is made from hulled sesame seeds and is therefore a more refined product, though still delicious. …” The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S., pages 159, 160.

Sesame Butter
1 cup toasted sesame seeds ⅛ tsp. salt (optional)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil  
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until desired consistency. Keep tahini in the fridge in a glass container.


Sesame Seed Hummus
1 15 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzos) 3 Tbsp. lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
½ cup sesame seeds 1 tsp. olive oil, optional
2 cloves garlic, peeled & cut in half 1 tsp. salt
Drain chickpea liquid directly into a blender or food processor. Set chickpeas aside. Add the sesame seeds and garlic to the blender, cover, and puree until smooth (3–4 min.). Add chickpeas, lemon juice, salt, and oil (if using) to blender. Cover and mix until well blended, stopping and scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Pour into a serving dish.

Grafted Into Christ

Christ, in teaching His disciples, said: “I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth [pruneth] it, that it may bring forth more fruit” (John 15:1, 2). He who is united to Christ, partaking of the sap and nourishment of the Vine, will work the works of Christ. The love of Christ must be in him or he cannot be in the Vine. Supreme love to God, and love to your neighbor equal to that which you bear to yourself, is the basis of true religion.

Christ inquires of everyone professing His name: “Lovest thou Me?” If you love Jesus you will love the souls for whom He died. A man may not bear the most pleasant exterior, he may be deficient in many respects; but if he has a reputation for straightforward honesty, he will gain the confidence of others. The love of truth, the dependence and confidence which men can place in him, will remove or overbear objectionable features in his character. Trustworthiness in your place and calling, a willingness to deny self for the purpose of benefiting others, will bring peace of mind and the favor of God.

Those who will walk closely in the footsteps of their self-sacrificing, self-denying Redeemer will have the mind of Christ reflected in their minds. Purity and the love of Christ will shine forth in their daily lives and characters, while meekness and truth will guide their way. Every fruitful branch is pruned, that it may bring forth more fruit. Even fruitful branches may display too much foliage and appear what they really are not. The followers of Christ may be doing some work for the Master and yet not be doing half what they might do. He then prunes them, because worldliness, self-indulgence, and pride are cropping out in their lives. Husbandmen clip off the surplus tendrils of the vines that are grasping the rubbish of earth, thus making them more fruitful. These hindering causes must be removed and the defective overgrowth cut away, to give room for the healing beams of the Sun of Righteousness.

God purposed through Christ that fallen man should have another trial. Many misunderstand the object for which they were created. It was to bless humanity and glorify God, rather than to enjoy and glorify self. God is constantly pruning His people, cutting off profuse, spreading branches, that they may bear fruit to His glory and not produce leaves only. God prunes us with sorrow, with disappointment and affliction, that the outgrowth of strong, perverse traits of character may be weakened and that the better traits may have a chance to develop. Idols must be given up, the conscience must become more tender, the meditations of the heart must be spiritual, and the entire character must become symmetrical. Those who really desire to glorify God will be thankful for the exposure of every idol and every sin, that they may see these evils and put them away; but the divided heart will plead for indulgence rather than denial.

The apparently dry branch, by being connected with the living vine, becomes a part of it. Fiber by fiber, and vein by vein, it adheres to the vine till it derives its life and nourishment from the parent stock. The graft buds, blossoms, and produces fruit. The soul, dead in trespasses and sins, must experience a similar process in order to be reconciled to God and to become a partaker of Christ’s life and joy. As the graft receives life when united to the vine, so the sinner partakes of the divine nature when connected with Christ. Finite man is united with the infinite God. When thus united, the words of Christ abide in us, and we are not actuated by a spasmodic feeling, but by a living, abiding principle. The words of Christ must be meditated upon and cherished and enshrined in the heart. They should not be repeated, parrot-like, finding no place in the memory and having no influence over the heart and life.

As the branch must abide in the vine to obtain the vital sap which causes it to flourish, so those who love God and keep all His sayings must abide in His love. Without Christ we cannot subdue a single sin or overcome the smallest temptation. Many need the Spirit of Christ and His power to enlighten their understanding, as much as blind Bartimaeus needed his natural sight. “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me” (verse 4). All who are really in Christ will experience the benefit of this union. The Father accepts them in the Beloved, and they become objects of His solicitude and tender, loving care. This connection with Christ will result in the purification of the heart and in a circumspect life and faultless character. The fruit borne upon the Christian tree is “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22, 23).

Testimony Treasures, vol. 1, 512–514.

Children Story – John Three Sixteen

One bitter winter’s night a little Irish boy stood in the streets of Dublin, homeless and friendless. Wicked men were making him their tool, and he was even then waiting to help in a crime.

In the darkness, a hand was laid on his shoulder. The face he could not see; but a kind voice said: “Boy, what are you doing here? The hour is late. Go home and go to bed.”

Shivering, he answered, “I have no home and no bed.”

“Poor fellow! Would you go to a home if I sent you?”

“Indeed I would.”

“Well, then, go to such a street and number, ring at the gates, and give them the pass.”

“The pass? What’s that sir?”

“The word that will let you in. Remember, the pass is John 3:16. Don’t forget, or you can’t get within—John 3:16. That’s something that will do you good.”

The boy ran to the place. Timidly he rang the bell at the great iron gates. A gruff porter opened. “Who’s there?”

“Please sir, I’m John Three Sixteen.” His voice trembled with cold and fear.

“All right,” said the porter; “you’ve got the pass.”

Presently he found himself in a warm bed, the best he had ever known. Before going to sleep, he thought: “That’s a lucky name. I’ll stick to it.” In the morning he had a warm breakfast before being sent away.

Crossing a crowded street, he was run over, picked up unconscious, and taken to the hospital. Soon fever and delirium set in. In ringing tones he said, over and over: “John Three Sixteen! It was to do me good, and so it has!”

The words were heard all over the ward. Testaments were pulled out to find what he meant. So it came about that one and another read the words: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The Holy Spirit used the words, and souls were saved then and there.

After a while the lad’s senses returned. A voice from the next bed said: “Well, John Three Sixteen, how are you to-day?”

“How do you know my name?”

“I know,” the voice went on; “you got it from the blessed Bible.”

“Bible? What’s that?”

The poor little waif drank in the answer, and said: “That’s beautiful; it’s all about love, and not a home for the night, but a home for always.”

He believed the precious truth. Friends were raised up. He received an education, and grew up to a career of great usefulness.

The Youth’s Instructor, October 10, 1895, 223.

Life Sketches Series – The Resurrection

The resurrection of Jesus is one of the most attested facts of history, without which there never would have been such a thing as the Christian church.

One of the most amazing stories in the Bible is about a man who was the most bitter and relentless persecutor of the church of Christ who later became the most able defender of the church and the most successful herald of the gospel. This man wrote over half the books in the New Testament. With the apostolic brotherhood, those Galilean peasants who had been disciples of Jesus, the Lord chose to associate a man who had never seen the Lord while He had dwelt among men. In fact, not only had he never seen Him, but he had only heard the name of Jesus spoken in unbelief and contempt. How did this happen? There are in the universe Beings who the Bible says have infinite intelligence and infinite wisdom and were able to discern beneath the blindness and prejudice of this strict Pharisee a heart that was loyal to truth and duty. The result was that the voice from heaven made itself heard above the clamors of his pride and prejudice.

In the promulgation of the gospel, in the first century right after the resurrection of Christ, divine providence decided to unite with the zeal and devotion of the Galilean peasants a man who would bring the fiery vigor and the intellectual power of a rabbi from Jerusalem to lead in the battle against pagan philosophy and Jewish formalism. Saul of Tarsus was chosen to lead in that battle. He himself had witnessed the debasing power of heathenism and had endured the spiritual bondage of Pharisaical exaction. But, before he became a Christian he was the most bitter and relentless persecutor of the church of Christ. He says in Galatians 1:13, 14, concerning his former life, “You have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God, beyond measure and tried to destroy it. And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.”

Saul of Tarsus was a Jew, not only by descent, but by the stronger ties of lifelong training and patriotic devotion of religious belief and faith. He was a Roman citizen who was born in a Gentile city, but he had been educated in Jerusalem by the most eminent of the Jewish rabbis; he had been diligently instructed in all the laws and traditions of the Jews. He talks about this to the Jewish leaders in public many years afterward when they were attempting to kill him. “He said, ‘I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city (Jerusalem) at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our father’s law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished’ (Acts 22:2–5).”

He shared fully the hopes, the aspirations, the lofty pride, and the unyielding prejudice of the Jewish nation. He claimed “he was a Hebrew of the Hebrews.” In Philippians 3:4–6, he said, “if anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” Paul was a Pharisee of the Pharisees, he was the leading persecutor of the Christian church. In common with his nation, he had the hope that there would be a Messiah sent to the world who would reign as a temporal prince and who would break the Roman yoke from the neck of the Jews and exalt the Jewish nation to the throne of universal empire.

Paul had no personal knowledge of Jesus’ mission, but readily imbibed the scorn and hatred of the rabbis toward One who was so far from fulfilling their ambitious hopes. So, after the death of Christ, he joined with the priests and rulers in the persecution of His followers as a proscribed and hated sect. He describes it this way: “For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all [the rest of the apostles], yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:9, 10).

The Pharisees thought that Jesus’ disciples would be cowered into submission and fear. After seeing what happened to their leader, they thought that the disciples would never promote the teachings of Christ again. They thought that the work of Christ would end with Him and when the voice of Jesus was no longer heard, the excitement would die down, and the people would return to the doctrines and traditions that they had been taught by the Jewish religion. But instead of that happening, they witnessed the marvelous scenes of the day of Pentecost when the disciples were endowed with power and energy that they had never known before. They preached Christ to the vast multitude that had been assembled there from all parts of the world for the feast.

There were also signs and wonders which confirmed their words, and the result was that in the very stronghold of Judaism, in Jerusalem and in Judea, there were thousands who declared their faith in Jesus of Nazareth. Notice how direct Peter was in his preaching: “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ’ Therefore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:32–36).

His audience was the people that were responsible for crucifying Christ, and here he offers them forgiveness for what they have done. Salvation and the hope of eternal life is freely offered to them but first they must face the reality of what they have done. The people were accosted by Peter’s sermon. He told them that they were the ones who had crucified Jesus, but informed them that He is not dead anymore. He is raised up and He has gone to heaven.

“Now when they heard this, they were cut [stabbed, pierced, pricked] to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission [forgiveness] of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.’ And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation.’ Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (verses 37–41).

Just a few weeks after the crucifixion, about 3,000 people in the very heart of Judaism, the very system and religion that had crucified the Lord Jesus, recognized that they had been mistaken and had crucified the Messiah. Devastated, they said, “What shall we do?” Peter said, “Repent.” The word repent simply means to change your mind – change your mind about Jesus, change your mind about sin, change your mind about being the boss of your own life and yielding to the sovereignty of Jesus Christ and His government.

Repent means to be sorry for your sins, be sorry enough to quit. What love was demonstrated to those who were guilty of crucifying the only One who could save them. Repent and you will be forgiven. Three thousand decided to repent that day and be baptized. They declared their faith in this Person whom the Jews said was a malefactor and a deceiver. They believed the evidence, Jesus was the Messiah, He was crucified, and He rose again and offered forgiveness to all who repented.

Have you ever thought about the fact that those people there are not the only people that are responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus? Notice what the apostle Paul says about this: “I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures …” (1 Corinthians 15:3). Why did Jesus die on the cross? The apostle Paul said that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Romans 3:23 says that we have all sinned; we have all come short of the glory of God. So, if all have sinned then all are also responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus because He died for the sins of the world. Later in his life, Paul, writing to the Hebrew people who had become Christians, said, “According to the law almost all things are purged with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission [no forgiveness]” (Hebrews 9:22).

All are sinners and responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus, but through heart-felt repentance and a willingness for the Holy Spirit to create in them a clean heart and renew a right spirit in them (Psalm 51:10), the Holy Spirit will give the gift of repentance and a sorrow for sin enough to turn away from it.

A short time after Pentecost Peter and John went up to the temple. It was at the time of prayer. “A certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, ‘Look at us.’ So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, ‘Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.’ And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God. Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened … ” (Acts 3:2–10).

It says that “all the people ran together.” They wanted to see this mighty miracle that had been worked. And when they came, the apostles declared to everybody that this man whom they all knew was healed in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Everyone was astonished. It was the talk of the whole city. The apostles said that it was in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, whom they had crucified and who was now ascended into the heavens, that this man had been made whole. It was Jesus of Nazareth who had imparted this power to His followers to heal the sick and to uplift those who were in trouble. The apostles fearlessly charged the Jews again with the crime of Jesus’ rejection and murder.

In verses 12–16 it says, “When Peter saw it, he responded to the people: ‘Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of Life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.’ ”

Then Peter made an appeal: “Now, I know you didn’t understand what you were doing. You did it through ignorance, and so you need to repent” (verses 17, 19, literal translation). There were some who did repent, but there were others who resisted and became more furious than ever. After all, what do you do when a man is healed and made whole in the name of Jesus, whom you say is still dead?

Peter said, “To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities” (verse 26). The leaders of the Jewish religion were not happy at this and decided to arrest Peter and John. Force is always the last resort of every false religion. If you are searching for the true church, you should examine carefully to see if they persecute other people that do not believe the way they do. The words of the apostles could not be refuted and the only thing left for those who refused to believe the truth was to get rid of those promoting it. If you kill them, or at least cast them into prison, then they will not be able to deliver their message to the people.

Force is something that Jesus never used nor taught His disciples to use. That is not New Testament Christianity. However, it is one of the primary marks that indicates that you are dealing with a false religion. Force is the last resort of every false religion and you can be sure that a religion that uses force is not the religion of Jesus Christ.

“Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand” (Acts 4:1–4).

The bitterness, the malice of these religious leaders was unchanged, even though the evidence of the resurrection was too great to be denied.

Oh, friend, the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus has not diminished since that time. In fact, it is overwhelming. It is one of the most attested facts of history, far more than almost anything that you could read in a history book. Without Christ’s resurrection having happened, there never would have been a Christian church.

There was an attempt to keep the early church from developing, but the evidence in favor of the resurrection of Jesus was too strong.

One day we are all going to appear at what the apostle Paul calls the judgment seat of Christ. We are all going to give an account of the life we have lived in this world. Accountability is probably the main reason why people do not like to believe that Jesus came into this world. It is going to happen whether we believe it or not, just as in Noah’s day when the warning was given about the coming flood. It came whether the people believed or not. But the question is, What are you going to believe? Are you going to check it out and follow the weight of evidence or put your head in the sand and hope it all goes away?

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

Question & Answer – Who are “the children of Israel” in Romans 9:27?

Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved” (Romans 9:27).

“Notwithstanding the awful doom pronounced upon the Jews as a nation at the time of their rejection of Jesus of Nazareth, there have lived from age to age many noble, God-fearing Jewish men and women who have suffered in silence. God has comforted their hearts in affliction, and has beheld with pity their terrible situation. He has heard the agonizing prayers of those who have sought Him with all the heart for a right understanding of His word. Some have learned to see in the lowly Nazarene whom their forefathers rejected and crucified, the true Messiah of Israel. As their minds have grasped the significance of the familiar prophecies so long obscured by tradition and misinterpretation, their hearts have been filled with gratitude to God for the unspeakable gift He bestows upon every human being who chooses to accept Christ as a personal Saviour.

“It is to this class that Isaiah referred in his prophecy, ‘A remnant shall be saved’ (see Isaiah 10:20–22). From Paul’s day to the present time, God by His Holy Spirit has been calling after the Jew as well as the Gentile. ‘There is no respect of persons with God’ (Romans 2:11), declared Paul. …” Gospel Workers, 397.

“When this gospel shall be presented in its fullness to the Jews, many will accept Christ as the Messiah. Among Christian ministers there are only a few who feel called upon to labor for the Jewish people; but to those who have been often passed by, as well as to all others, the message of mercy and hope in Christ is to come.

“In the closing proclamation of the gospel, when special work is to be done for classes of people hitherto neglected, God expects His messengers to take particular interest in the Jewish people whom they find in all parts of the earth. As the Old Testament Scriptures are blended with the New in an explanation of Jehovah’s eternal purpose, this will be to many of the Jews as the dawn of a new creation, the resurrection of the soul. As they see the Christ of the gospel dispensation portrayed in the pages of the Old Testament Scriptures, and perceive how clearly the New Testament explains the Old, their slumbering faculties will be aroused, and they will recognize Christ as the Saviour of the world. Many will by faith receive Him as their Redeemer. To them will be fulfilled the words, ‘As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name’ (John 1:12).” Ibid., 398.

Pen of Inspiration – Hello May

May has come, with all her beauties of the sunshine, clothing nature with a glorious dress. Mother earth has laid off her brown mantle, and wears her cheerful robes of green. The trees and shrubs upon the lawn are decorated with their opening buds and flowers of varied tints. The peach and cherry are covered with blossoms of pink and white, and the pure music from a thousand of nature’s happy and cheering songsters, unite to awaken joy and thankfulness in our hearts.

May is indeed here, to cheer and bless us. Let us, all who can, go out of doors, and be cheerful, happy, and healthy, as we behold the charming beauties of nature. We may look up through the attractive glories of nature, to nature’s glorious God, and, as we read His love to man in nature, we may become cheerful, thankful, pure, and holy.

The feeble ones should press out into the sunshine as earnestly and naturally as do the shaded plants and vines. The pale and sickly grain-blade that has struggled up out of the earth in the cold of early spring, puts on the natural and healthy deep green after enjoying for a few days the health-and-life-giving rays of the sun. Go out into the light and warmth of the glorious sun, you pale and sickly ones, and share with vegetation its life-giving, healing power. Let what your ears hear of the music of the birds, and what your eyes see of the green grass, and shrubs, and trees, beautified with their fragrant blossoms, and God’s precious flowers of every hue, lift that leaden weight off your spirits, and cheer that sad heart, and smooth that troubled brow.

Mothers, encourage the children to go out into the air and sunshine. What if they do tan, and exchange the pale, sallow complexion for the healthful brown? Let them have health and happiness, which are the only foundation of real beauty. Lovely May is here. Enjoy her, all you who can, while she is with us. Read what Fanny B. Johnson, in Laws of Life, says under the caption,

Out of Doors

In behalf of our good mother nature, I hereby invite and entreat all her children within sound of my voice or sight of my pentraces to come out of doors, and take part in the grand entertainment which she has gotten up with wondrous skill, taste, and power. It is to continue through every day and night of the season, with infinite variations in panorama of swelling bud and bursting leaf and blossom, of springing grass and grain, in graceful, tasseled heads, and yellow, ripening sheaves, in ever-varying depths of blue in sky, and of green and brown in earth, in shifting cloud, in all moods of lake, and stream, and sea, in rosy mornings and brazen noons, and gold and purple evenings, and hushed and solemn nights, in moonbeam and starbeam, in soft airs and swelling gales and wrack of tempest, in all musical sounds, from buzz of tiniest insect-wings and songs of birds, to the booming of ocean, and burst of the thunder cloud, in the broad sunshine of field, and prairie, and desert, in shade of rock, and tree, and forest. Oh! There is no end to the variety of beauty, and sound, and odor. And we are all invited! Do let us go out, and feast and refresh our souls, and take in new life and inspirations. Something of it can be caught through glass windows and open doors, but only in such meager measure as to tantalize, rather than satisfy. The sweet influences of air, and earth, and sky, are shy of the inside of house roofs and walls. They will only exert themselves where there is free range in large space. Nature does not propose to bring them to us. We are to go out to her, and take them as she offers. So, do let us go. Yes, I know there is the shop, and the house-keeping, and the sewing, and the money-making generally. And it is always there, and always will be, and if we allow it, we will be forever bound down to it, soul as well as body; and this is the very reason why we should sometimes get away from it. Do come, all ye weary ones, whose lives are spent in service of others, either for love’s sake or for gain, come and for once be ministered unto. Mother nature will take you in her lap, will woo you with the breath of apple blossoms and clovers, will fan your cheek with perfume-laden airs, will soothe you to sleep with drowsy hum of bees, and murmur of streams, and rustle of myriad fluttering leaves, will waken you with joyous voices, will take away from your spirits the peevishness and littleness that is sure to gather in a narrow round of care, and put in their place something of her spirit of charity, and largeness, and harmony, and bring you into sympathy with the divine. There was never better chance for poverty-stricken, burden-bearing human beings to escape from their condition and indulge in luxuries furnished without money and without price. I promise you nature will show no favors on account of worldly distinctions. She will minister no more graciously to the queen of a realm than to her humblest menial, provided that menial be loyal to herself. But to those who look upon her with “lovers’ eyes” she must of necessity be partial. She shows them wondrous things in her pages, and reveals herself to them as she cannot to others.

None of us can afford to live without her inspirations. We may as well be brutes and done with it, and sink under the sod and stay there, as to try to live and take no part with God in His works and ways. If so be that our lives must be spent in household toil, we can take our work out of doors, and so get a great deal of good. Spread a comfortable [rug] or robe on the grass, and take out the little children and spend an afternoon. If there is no shade of tree near the door, build an arbor, or twist together the ends of lithe, tall birch, or other branches, and setting their base ends in the ground, plant around them madeira vines or morning glories, and in a few weeks, there will be found a pleasant screen from sun and observation. Let the poor invalids be taken out in chairs or on couches, or hung up in hammocks to get just as much as possible of the good things of the season. Alas! Alas! For the poor people who are shut up in stifled houses in cities, whose windows open only on damp courts, or dingy walls, or busy streets. God pity them, if we cannot help them, and make them feel His pity. But let us who live in the country take advantage of this spring-tide of life and be carried up to serener heights, that we may be let down to truer and nobler lives.

The Health Reformer, May 1, 1871.