Greetings MOL Family!
As we continue to study the family of Jesus, and the lesson this has for us as parents, as teachers, or as homeheads, I want to raise a question, and we find the answer in John 17…
By Divine Arrangement, Divine Assignment
The Bible, you know, is the textbook of every subject. It’s where we get the doctrines of our message, isn’t it? It’s where we get devotional instructions. It’s a handbook for parents, a book for teachers, and it’s a book for homeheads.
The question I want to raise is this: How did Jesus find Himself with those particular people that He had in His family, His home; Matthew and Thomas, Peter and Andrew, Mary, Susanna, and the others that are mentioned by Matthew and Luke? How did He happen to find Himself with those particular people? And of course, the reason I’m raising that question is this: How should we find ourselves with a particular group?
You know it’s easy, if we’re not careful, either to take life as it comes, or to grumble as it comes. Neither one has much inspiration in it. Certainly, there’s not much inspiration in a life that we have to grumble about all the time, is there? Or to merely accept life as it comes, in the sense, “Well, if it’s that way, I don’t know anything we can do about it, so this is it.”
Now with all that as the background, let’s turn to John 17 and notice the words of Christ that last evening just before He suffered in Gethsemane and on the cross. This is our Lord’s Prayer for these disciples:
These words spoke Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gave me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. – John 17:1-6
Now, to repeat my question: How did Jesus find Himself, how did He arrive at finding Himself with a particular group that constituted His training group? How did it come? God gave Him those particular people. Is that clear in what we’ve read?
Let’s think of the implications of it. Jesus knew that out of the millions of people on earth there were a certain few selected by His Father, planned from eternity to be with Him and under Him in that training program. Is that correct? Now, if even a tithe of that is true, as far as you and I are concerned, it’s very important, isn’t it, if even 10% of what was true concerning Christ is true of us? But if it’s all true, then we are face to face with indeed an astounding fact, and that is people are in your home not by a kaleidoscopic movement of human personalities, not by chance and circumstance, but by divine arrangement, divine assignment. And I fall back on that oft-repeated statement from Messages to Young People, page 219. It’s also in Christ’s Object Lessons, page 326:
Each has his place in the eternal plan of heaven. Each is to work in cooperation with Christ for the salvation of souls. Not more surely is the place prepared for us in the heavenly mansions than is the special place designated on earth where we are to work for God. – Messages to Young People, pg. 219
Do I have a place here on earth? Not merely a place, the place. Jesus, when He looked for His disciples to join His group, to be the students in His school, the members of His family, He was looking not merely for some people. He was looking for specific ones. And where did He say He got them? Where did we read here? — His Father. His Father gave them to Him.
Now, you who already have students in your home, did you pray for them? Somebody says, “I don’t have to pray for them. They just come.” Well, would you mind if I should suggest that if that’s all there is to it you may have a lot of problems that you didn’t pray for either. Don’t misunderstand me. There will be problems, no matter whether you get them through prayer or without prayer. But, it makes a world of difference, and don’t miss it, when the problems appear whether you know that these are people that God sent you, or whether they’re just people that you decided to take, or people that a committee asked you to take.
You know in many stores, if you get something from the store and it doesn’t fit, or for any reason is unsatisfactory, you can do what? Take it back. Did you ever feel that way about somebody you had in your home? Well, if it hasn’t happened, it may happen.
And right then you’ll find out where you got the person. If you got them from a committee, you’ll go back to the committee. Well, you say, “Sure, why not?” Indeed, why not if that’s where you got them. If you got them from the committee, back you trot to the committee and say, “See, here. I didn’t know what I was getting into.” or “I didn’t know what was getting into our home.” But if you got them from God, where will you go? You’ll go to God.
Jesus had this problem over, and over, and over again. Much of the reason that Christ had to pray in the evening, during the night, and in the early morning was the burden He carried on His heart for those people most closely associated with Him. To borrow the contemporary phrase, they gave Him a hard time. Didn’t they? I don’t have to get out the books and read that to you. You’re well enough acquainted with the life and ministry of Jesus.
I venture to say there’s not a problem in human personality that you run into in your home, whether you are with your own children, or those who share your home as students, but what Jesus had with those people. In fact, I have thought more than once that God has given me easier people to work with and to deal with than Christ took on Himself. I don’t think I’ve ever had as many problems packed into 3 ½ years in dealing with people as Jesus had. But I want you to notice His attitude. Turn back a page or two to John 13:1. Oh, pay close attention to this. It sings like beautiful music. There’s a pathos to it:
Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. – John 13:1
His own He loved, how long? — Unto the end. It’s a wonderful thing to have that kind of love. And of course, that’s divine love. The only way we can get it is to get it from Him. But He’s ready to share it with us, isn’t He? Yes, but we’ll need to go to Him to get the people, and to get the love to deal with them.
You know this whole matter of loving is a very interesting subject. Jesus said the whole duty of man was wrapped up in two commandments. What are they? Love God with all the heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. But which of those is the second commandment? Love your neighbor. One of the great faults with the social gospel as it’s preached by modern fallen churches is that its emphasis is on the brotherhood of man. But the first commandment is not to do things for your neighbor. The first commandment is love God with all your heart. Jesus loved His Father with all His heart. His business was His Father’s business. He was emptied of self.
What happened to Jesus was not the important thing. His Father’s glory was what moved Him. And so these people that the Father gave Him to love were the opportunity for Him to pour out His Father’s love. So, James and John, Peter and Andrew, Matthew and Thomas and all the rest, and even Judas, were the recipients of it. Judas too? Yes.
The Same Love, Unto The End
In the book Education, there is a marvelous chapter which we’ve been noting beginning on page 84, “An Illustration of His Methods,” I want you to see page 91. If you have any real problems in your homeheading, keep looking at this chapter:
Jesus reproved His disciple, He warned and cautioned them; but John and Peter and their brethren did not leave Him. Notwithstanding the reproofs, they chose to be with Jesus. – Education, pg. 91
It’s a wonderful thing to love people so much and have their love for you such in return that they can take your reproofs without wanting to pack up and leave.
…the Saviour did not, because of their errors, withdraw from them. He takes men as they are, with all their faults and weaknesses, and trains them for His service, if they will be disciplined and taught by Him. But there was one of the Twelve to whom, until very near the close of His work, Christ spoke no word of direct reproof. – Ibid
Who was that? — Judas. I’d like to challenge your thinking. Do you think you could have Judas in your home for 3 years and never say one word of direct reproof to him? Well, somebody says, “I think somebody ought to, a fellow like that.”
Peter got a lot of reproof, but Jesus knew he could take it. John and James were reproved, privately and publicly. And they profited by it. But the same love that prompted Jesus to deal so directly in rebuking Peter and James and John, is that same love that kept Him from rebuking Judas. What a love!
…having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them to the end. – John 13:1
Whose feet did He wash first, of the twelve? — The feet of Judas. And it almost brought him over. It almost caused him to yield — Almost, almost. But it did something for all the rest of the group. When the experience had been finished, and in the 10 days that preceded Pentecost, they could look back at it all and see it in retrospect, the way Jesus had dealt with Judas did something for all the eleven. Oh, that God may give me that kind of patience, and that kind of love.
But I come back to the basic thing. Why did Jesus love those people all through this experience? He loved, what were those two words? — His own. You love your babies, don’t you? Yes, it isn’t hard. And you don’t have to have some committee labor with you to be sure to take care of them, do you? No.
And Jesus felt toward those people. Think of Mary Magdalene. Seven times He had to go back and lift her through prayer, earnest prayer. Seven times she was delivered from demons, evil spirits. What a deliverance! Thank God the seventh time it stuck, and she’s going to be in the Holy City, the New Jerusalem all through eternity telling everybody on the triumphal tour through the universe of what a wonderful Savior Jesus was to her.
…having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them to the end. – John 13:1
Until next week – Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…
An example of the love of God, displayed to those He calls His friends, is in making plain events to come (John 15:15). Prophecy is a light, shining in this dark world; and we can prove our love to God by taking heed to His words, preparing for these prophetic times. “What’s coming”, you ask? >> Learn More
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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.