We Want a King

“Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing? 
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 
‘Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.’ ”
Psalm 2:1–3

When Israel demanded that they have a king so that they could be like the nations around them, they were at the time being guided by the wisdom of Samuel, who himself was in direct communication with divine power and being guided by the Holy Spirit.

Samuel was growing old, and his sons that he had appointed as judges, according to 1 Samuel 8:3, “did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice.”

As a result, “all the elders of Israel gathered together … and said to him [Samuel], ‘Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations’ ” (veres 4, 5).

Note that there was ostensibly a two-fold reason for their request. First, they did not think that there was anyone as capable as Samuel to replace him. Second, they wanted to be “like all the nations.”

Neither of these reasons was really justified. First, had they trusted fully in God, they would have trusted that He would supply capable and wise guidance after Samuel could no longer lead them. It had not been that long since the Lord removed the corrupt sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, from the scene. In addition, there were many other instances in which the Lord had interceded to correct the ill intentions of those working against His will. Surely they could remember the fate of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, or the affliction of Miriam, or the way the Lord thwarted the efforts of Balaam to curse their ancestors. They had both oral and written history of these evidences of God’s watch-care over them.

Second, the Lord had made it abundantly clear that they were to be guided by His chosen vessels. Experience should have made them realize that God is too wise to err and too good to withhold any good thing from them that walk uprightly. This is an instance in which the best thing that God wanted for His children—leadership and guidance by a wise and divinely inspired judge—was thwarted by their perverted idea of leadership. So, God allowed them the second best alternative—the desire of their misguided hearts.

Third, they had the wonderful promises that God had given them through Moses, recorded in Deuteronomy 7, particularly verses 6–9:

“ ‘For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.’ ”

What was actually occurring when the people made their demand for a king? Scripture tells us in 1 Samuel 8:7, “And the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.’ ”

This is not the only instance in which God’s people rejected God’s representatives and, in so doing, rejected Him. Take for example when, during their wilderness wanderings, the Israelites rose up against Moses, failing to recognize that Moses was merely executing the divine instructions he had received from the Lord. By rejecting his leading, they were in reality rejecting the Lord.

Very early in their wanderings, the Israelites began reviling Moses and Aaron, wanting to return to Egypt, their unbelief causing them to fear that they would die of starvation.

The full story is in Exodus 16. Shortly after the Lord had made possible their release from Egyptian slavery, enabled their safe crossing of the Red Sea, and sweetened the waters at Marah—three miracles that should have been sufficient to instill unshakable faith in God’s leading, protection, and provision—the children of Israel manifested a complete failure of trust.

“And the children of Israel said to them [Moses and Aaron], ‘Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger’ ” (Exodus 16:3).

Moses responded, “ ‘In the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord; for He hears your complaints against the Lord. But what are we, that you complain against us?’ … This shall be seen when the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to the full; for the Lord hears your complaints which you make against Him. And what are we? Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord” (verses 7, 8).

In response, the Lord, yielding to their perverted appetites and unfounded fears, gave them what they wanted: “I have heard the complaints [murmurings] of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the lord your God.’ So it was that quails came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp” (verses 12, 13).

Even as the miracles multiplied, the Israelites continued their murmuring. David wrote of their condition in Psalm 81:11–13: “But My people would not heed My voice, and Israel would have none of Me. So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels. Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways!”

Centuries later, when the One who had led them by the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night appeared in person, the situation was the same, so much so that Christ—that wise and mighty leader during their wilderness wanderings—exclaimed, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! … He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me” (Luke 10:13, 16).

We are given examples of the continued rejection of the Author of our salvation throughout Scripture, but the most amazing examples are in the four gospels, when Christ was manifested in the flesh and giving irrefutable evidence of His divinity. Even after that most undeniable and indisputable miracle of Christ’s tenure on earth, the raising of Lazarus from the dead, the reaction of the religious leaders was not to embrace Jesus as the miracle-working Messiah, but rather to seek to kill not only the Miracle Worker but to kill the object of the miracle as well.

It is interesting to note that during the wilderness wanderings, the religious leaders, Moses and Aaron, were the faithful ones, while the masses were the doubters and unbelievers. By the time of Christ’s incarnation, the roles had reversed. The religious leaders, the scribes and the Pharisees, were the unbelievers and the common people were the ones who, at least at times, recognized Christ as the Messiah.

Is it possible today, as we near the meeting of time and eternity, that both the people and the religious leaders are rejecting Christ and His leadership by rejecting and persecuting those who choose to walk the narrow way? Prophecy predicts such.

“Never is the tempest-tried soul more dearly loved by his Saviour than when he is suffering reproach for the truth’s sake. When for the truth’s sake the believer stands at the bar of unrighteous tribunals, Christ stands by his side. All the reproaches that fall upon the human believer fall upon Christ in the person of His saints. ‘I will love him,’ said Christ, ‘and will manifest Myself to him’ (John 14:21). Christ is condemned over again in the person of His believing disciples.

“When for the truth’s sake the believer is incarcerated in prison walls, Christ manifests Himself to him, and ravishes his heart with His love. When he suffers death for the sake of Christ, Christ says to him, ‘They may kill the body, but they cannot hurt the soul’  (Matthew 10:28). ‘Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33). ‘They crucified Me, and if they put you to death, they crucify Me afresh in the person of My saints.’ ” Selected Messages, Book 3, 420, 421.

Persecution of Christ’s followers to the point of death is not the only way that Christ is rejected. Time and time again we are told in inspired writings of the rejection of Christ by the rejection of His representatives. Note this counsel we are lovingly given to provide reassurance to those who are experiencing rejection and disdain, even within their own family, often resulting, unfortunately, in dissuading the faithful one from following the path of truth and righteousness.

“Jesus says, ‘He that loveth father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me, is not worthy of Me. And he that taketh not up his cross and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me. He that findeth his life, shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it’ (Matthew 10:37, 38). The words that Christ addressed to His disciples were addressed to us as well as to them. He presents before us the unwearied conflict that we must have on this earth as long as time shall last. We are to place no person before Christ in our affections. If a person who has been convicted by the Spirit of God smothers his convictions, and continues to trample underfoot the commandments of the Lord, and reject the truth of God simply because he sees it will bring disunion into his family relations, he shows that he loves the peace that is not of Christ, but of the world. He prefers to be in harmony with the world rather than to be in unity with Christ. But in order to have the peace of Christ, it is necessary to place Christ and His service first. Those who yield their convictions of truth to please father or mother, sister or brother, husband or wife or children, prove themselves unworthy of Christ. They do not discern His excellency, and therefore they shun the cross. But there is a cross to be lifted by every one who by faith accepts a crucified and risen Saviour.” The Bible Echo, March 19, 1894.

When we review the history of God’s people and their rejection of their divinely inspired leaders and prophets, we tend to shake our head in disbelief. We ask ourselves, “How could they have been so unbelieving?” Inspiration answers that question.

“I saw that many who profess to believe the truth for these last days think it strange that the children of Israel murmured as they journeyed; that after the wonderful dealings of God with them, they should be so ungrateful as to forget what He had done for them. Said the angel: ‘Ye have done worse than they.’ I saw that God has given His servants the truth so clear, so plain, that it cannot be resisted. Wherever they go, they have certain victory. Their enemies cannot get round the convincing truth. Light has been shed so clear that the servants of God can stand up anywhere and let truth, clear and connected, bear away the victory. This great blessing has not been prized, or even realized. If any trial arises, some begin to look back and think they have a hard time. Some of the professed servants of God do not know what purifying trials are. They sometimes make trials for themselves, imagine trials, and are so easily discouraged, so easily hurt, self-dignity is so quick to feel, that they injure themselves, injure others, and injure the cause. Satan magnifies their trials and puts thoughts into their minds that if given way to, will destroy their influence and usefulness.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 129.

Chapter 23 of Christ’s Object Lessons deals with the parable of the wicked vinedressers, who not only killed the servants which the Landowner sent to receive the fruit of the vineyard, but killed the Landowner’s Son as well. The point of the story is not necessarily the greed of the vinedressers, but rather their refusal to submit to the authority of the Landowner. That point is made clear in this statement from page 293: “Christ, the Beloved of God, came to assert the claims of the Owner of the vineyard; but the husbandmen treated Him with marked contempt, saying, We will not have this man to rule over us.”

Are we, in our self-indulgence, saying the same thing as the wicked vinedressers? The fate of those rebellious unbelievers is clear in the parable, and we have their example to show us the results of rebellion and unbelief.

Let us determine here and now that we will indeed let this Man rule over us, regardless of the attitude of family and friends, and obey His commandments, precepts, and testimonies so that our walk on the narrow way, rugged and trying though it may be, will result in the final victory that is promised to the trusting and faithful, who by faith, accept our crucified and risen Saviour.

All Bible quotes NKJV unless otherwise noted.

John R. Pearson is the office manager and a board member of Steps to Life. He may be contacted by email at: johnpearson@stepstolife.org.

The Pen of Inspiration – A Warning Rejected

A profession of religion has become popular with the world. Rulers, politicians, lawyers, doctors, merchants, join the church as a means of securing the respect and confidence of society, and advancing their own worldly interests. Thus they seek to cover all their unrighteous transactions under a profession of Christianity. The various religious bodies, re-enforced by the wealth and influence of these baptized worldlings, make a still higher bid for popularity and patronage. Splendid churches, embellished in the most extravagant manner, are erected on popular avenues. The worshipers array themselves in costly and fashionable attire. A high salary is paid for a talented minister to entertain and attract the people. His sermons must not touch popular sins, but be made smooth and pleasing for fashionable ears. Thus fashionable sinners are enrolled on the church-records, and fashionable sins are concealed under a pretense of godliness. . . .

Says Howard Crosby: “The church of God is today courting the world. Its members are trying to bring it down to the level of the ungodly. The ball, the theater, nude and lewd art, social luxuries with all their loose moralities, are making inroads into the sacred inclosure of the church; and as a satisfaction for all this worldliness, Christians are making a great deal of Lent and Easter and church ornamentation. It is the old trick of Satan. The Jewish church struck on that rock; the Romish church was wrecked on the same; and the Protestant is fast reaching the same doom.” [Emphasis supplied.]

In this tide of worldliness and pleasure-seeking, self-denial and self-sacrifice for Christ’s sake are almost wholly lost. “Some of the men and women now in active life in our churches were educated, when children, to make sacrifices in order to be able to give or to do something for Christ.” But “if funds are wanted now, . . . nobody must be called on to give. Oh, no! have a fair, tableaux, a mock trial, an antiquarian supper, or something to eat, anything to amuse the people.”

Governor Washburn of Wisconsin, in his annual message, declared “that church fairs, charitable raffles, concert lotteries for charitable and other purposes, prize packages, ‘grabbags,’ Sabbath-school and other religious chances by ticket, are nurseries of crime, inasmuch as they promise something for nothing, are games of chance, and are really gambling. He says that the pernicious spirit of gambling is fostered, encouraged, and kept alive by these agencies to a degree little known by good citizens; and that, but for them, the ordinary laws against gambling would be much less violated and much more easily enforced. These practices, he declares, ought not to be permitted any longer to debauch the morals of the young.”

The spirit of worldly conformity is invading the churches throughout Christendom. . . . “Apostasy, apostasy, apostasy, is engraven on the very front of every church; and did they know it, and did they feel it, there might be hope; but, alas! they cry, ‘We are rich, and increased in goods, and have need of nothing.’ [Revelation 3:17.]” [Emphasis in original.]

The great sin charged against Babylon is that she “made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” [Revelation 14:8.] This cup of intoxication which she presents to the world, represents the false doctrines that she has accepted as the result of her unlawful connection with the great ones of the earth. Friendship with the world corrupts her faith, and in her turn she exerts a corrupting influence upon the world by teaching doctrines which are opposed to the plainest statements of Holy Writ. . . .

When faithful teachers expound the Word of God, there arise men of learning, ministers professing to understand the Scriptures, who denounce sound doctrine as heresy, and thus turn away inquirers after truth. Were it not that the world is hopelessly intoxicated with the wine of Babylon, multitudes would be convicted and converted by the plain, cutting truths of the Word of God. But religious faith appears so confused and discordant, that the people know not what to believe as truth. The sin of the world’s impenitence lies at the door of the church. . . .

The message of the second angel did not reach its complete fulfillment in 1844. The churches then experienced a moral fall, in consequence of their refusal of the light of the Advent message; but that fall was not complete. As they have continued to reject the special truths for this time, they have fallen lower and lower. Not yet, however, can it be said that “Babylon is fallen, . . . because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” She has not yet made all nations do this. The spirit of world-conforming and indifference to the testing truths for our time exists and has been gaining ground in churches of the Protestant faith in all the countries of Christendom; and these churches are included in the solemn and terrible denunciation of the second angel. But the work of apostasy has not yet reached its culmination.

The Bible declares that before the coming of the Lord, Satan will work “with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness;” and they that “received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,” will be left to receive “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” [11 Thessalonians 2:9–11.] Not until this condition shall be reached, and the union of the church with the world shall be fully accomplished, throughout Christendom, will the fall of Babylon be complete. The change is a progressive one, and the perfect fulfillment of Revelation 14:8 is yet future.

Notwithstanding the spiritual darkness, and alienation from God, that exist in the churches which constitute Babylon, the great body of Christ’s true followers are still to be found in their communion. There are many of these who have never seen the special truths for this time. Not a few are dissatisfied with their present condition, and are longing for clearer light. They look in vain for the image of Christ in the churches with which they are connected. As these bodies depart farther and farther from the truth, and ally themselves more closely with the world, the difference between the two classes will widen, and it will finally result in separation. The time will come when those who love God supremely can no longer remain in connection with such as are “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” [11 Timothy 3:4, 5.]

Revelation 18 points to the time when, as the result of rejecting the threefold warning of Revelation 14:6–12, the church will have fully reached the condition foretold by the second angel, and the people of God still in Babylon will be called upon to separate from her commu-nion. This message is the last that will ever be given to the world; and it will accomplish its work. When those that “believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteous-ness,” [11 Thessalonians 2:12] shall be left to receive strong delusion, and to believe a lie, then the light of truth will shine upon all whose hearts are open to receive it, and all the children of the Lord that remain in Babylon will heed the call, “Come out of her, my people.” [Revelation 18:4.]” The Great Controversy (1888), 386–390.

Ellen G. White (1827–1915) wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books during her lifetime. Today, including compilations from her 50,000 pages of manuscript, more than 100 titles are available in English. She is the most translated woman writer in the entire history of literature, and the most translated American author of either gender. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Mrs. White was appointed by God as a special messenger to draw the world’s attention to the Holy Scriptures and help prepare people for Christ’s second advent.

Bible Study Guides – The Jewish Church Rejects Jesus

February 20, 2005 – February 26, 2005

Memory Verse

“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 42:21, 4.

Suggested Reading: John 5; The Desire of Ages, 201–213.


From the 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.

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.” The Desire of Ages, 201, 202.

2 What two things did Jesus tell the man 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.’ 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.

“At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.” John 5:9, NIV.

3 How did the Jews respond to the miraculous healing of this invalid of 38 years? John 5:16, 18.

note: “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. . . .

“Jesus 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.

note: “In 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.

comment: All 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.

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.

“For 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 Ages, 206.

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?

note: “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.” The Desire of Ages, 206.

comment: Jesus 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 the people.

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.

note: “And 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?

note: “If 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?

note: “But 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 their traditions?

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. 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?

note: “The 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?

note: “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.’ ” 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?

note: “The 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?

note: “Jesus 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.

“They 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.

comment: The 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 His message?

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.

“If the 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.

comment: Let 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.

Answer key available upon request.