Where can we find a more descriptive and appealing picture of the character of God as seen through Jesus Christ than that painted by Ellen White? Her inspired pen, dipped continually in the bottomless well of the love of God, portrays the goodness, kindness, and interest of the family of heaven in us. As we read these descriptions, our hearts cannot help responding enthusiastically to our God who loves us so. We feel constrained to echo the message sounded frequently by Ellen White: “Lift up Jesus, the Man of Calvary. Lift Him up in prayer, lift Him up in song.” “Lift Him up, the Man of Calvary, higher and still higher, and let your message be, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’” (Manuscript 27, 1891; Letter 174, 1896). LHU 15.1
In this collection of Ellen White’s pen pictures of our loving Saviour and what he means to us, we are drawn to Him in a special way. You will want to read these devotional readings thoughtfully, and review them often, fixing them firmly in the halls of memory. LHU 15.2
Ellen White tells us in these pages that “it is impossible for finite minds to make a just estimate of the love of God toward his fallen creatures. We are ever in danger of forgetting this great love, because we fail to meditate upon it, and allow ourselves to become absorbed in the things of this world…. Christ should be the theme of our thoughts, the object of our tenderest affection. We should let our minds dwell upon the precious characteristics of our Lord; we should contemplate the rich promises of his word; we should meditate upon the glories of heaven” (The Signs of the Times, December 8, 1890). LHU 15.3
Jesus was born in a manger that we might be born to life eternal. He became part of the human family that we might become part of the heavenly family. He lived in the midst of dust and poverty that we might live amid riches beyond description. He spent long nights in prayer that we might spend eternal ages in the presence of God. He went homeless that we might live in the mansions He is preparing for us. Our precious Saviour trod wearily the sandy trails of Old Palestine that we might walk with tireless feet on the golden streets of the New Jerusalem. He accepted in our behalf the crown of thorns that He might be able to place on our heads the crowns of victory. He died the death that was ours that we might live forever the glorious life that is His. LHU 15.4
This volume is the fifteenth book of day-by-day devotional readings to be published from the pen of Ellen G. White. It is a book about Jesus Christ. It exalts him as our divine Saviour and Redeemer, the source of our every blessing, and our only hope. That it may lift up Christ so effectively that every reader will have a closer, more rewarding, walk with Him is the earnest prayer of LHU 15.5
The Trustees of the Ellen G. White Estate
To Be Like Jesus*
Christ did no Miracle for Himself
He then called the attention of Christ to his own attractive appearance, clothed with light and strong in power. He claimed to be a messenger direct from the throne of heaven, and asserted that he had a right to demand of Christ evidences of His being the Son of God. Satan would fain disbelieve, if he could, the words that came from heaven to the Son of God at His baptism. He determined to overcome Christ and if possible make his own kingdom and life secure. His first temptation to Christ was upon appetite. He had, upon this point, almost entire control of the world, and his temptations were so adapted to the circumstances and surroundings of Christ that his temptations upon appetite were almost overpowering. Con 40.1
Christ could have worked a miracle in His own behalf; but this would not have been in accordance with the plan of salvation. The many miracles in the life of Christ show His power to work miracles for the benefit of suffering humanity. By a miracle of mercy He fed five thousand at once with five loaves and two small fishes. Therefore He had the power to work a miracle and satisfy His own hunger. Satan flattered himself that he could lead Christ to doubt the words spoken from heaven at His baptism. If he could tempt Him to question His sonship, and doubt the truth of the word spoken by His Father, he would gain a great victory. Con 40.2
He found Christ in the desolate wilderness without companions, without food, and in actual suffering. His surroundings were most melancholy and repulsive. Satan suggested to Christ that God would not leave His Son in this condition of want and suffering. He hoped to shake the confidence of Christ in His Father, who had permitted Him to be brought into this condition of extreme suffering in the desert, where the feet of man had never trod. Satan hoped that he could insinuate doubts as to His Father’s love, which would find a lodgment in the mind of Christ, and that under the force of despondency and extreme hunger He would exert His miraculous power in His own behalf and take Himself out of the hands of His heavenly Father. This was indeed a temptation to Christ. But He cherished it not for a moment. He did not for a single moment doubt His heavenly Father’s love, although He was bowed down with inexpressible anguish. Satan’s temptations, though skillfully devised, did not move the integrity of God’s dear Son. His abiding confidence in His Father could not be shaken. Con 41.1
He Parleyed not with Temptation
Jesus did not condescend to explain to His enemy how He was the Son of God, and in what manner as such He was to act. In an insulting, taunting manner Satan referred to the present weakness and the distressed appearance of Christ in contrast with his own strength and glory. He taunted Christ with being a poor representative of the angels, much less of their exalted Commander, the acknowledged King in the royal courts, and that His present appearance indicated that He was forsaken of God and man. He said that if Christ was indeed the Son of God, the monarch of heaven, He had power equal with God, and He could give him evidence of this and relieve His hunger by working a miracle, by changing the stone just at His feet into bread. Satan promised that if Christ would do this he would at once yield his claims of superiority, and that the contest between himself and Christ should there be forever ended. Con 41.2
Christ did not appear to notice the reviling taunts of Satan. He was not provoked to give him proofs of His power, but meekly bore his insults without retaliation. The words spoken from heaven at His baptism were precious evidence to Him that His Father approved the steps He was taking in the plan of salvation, as man’s substitute and surety. The opening heavens and descent of the heavenly dove were assurances that His Father would unite His power in heaven with that of His Son upon the earth to rescue man from the control of Satan, and that God accepted the effort of Christ to link earth to heaven, and finite man to the infinite God. Con 42.1
The tokens received from His Father were inexpressibly precious to the Son of God through all His severe sufferings and the terrible conflict with the rebel chief. And while enduring the test of God in the wilderness, and through His entire ministry, He had nothing to do in convincing Satan of His power and that He was the Saviour of the world. Satan had sufficient evidence of His exalted station. His unwillingness to ascribe to Jesus the honor due to Him, and to manifest submission as a subordinate, ripened into rebellion against God and shut him out of heaven. Con 42.2
It was not part of the mission of Christ to exercise His divine power for His own benefit, to relieve Himself of suffering. This He had volunteered to take upon Himself. He had condescended to take man’s nature, and He was to suffer the inconveniences, ills, and afflictions of the human family. He was not to perform miracles on His own account; He came to save others. The object of His mission was to bring blessings, hope, and life to the afflicted and oppressed. He was to bear the burdens and griefs of suffering humanity. Con 42.3
Although Christ was suffering the keenest pangs of hunger, He withstood the temptation. He repulsed Satan with the same scripture He had given Moses to repeat to rebellious Israel when their diet was restricted and they were clamoring for flesh meats in the wilderness, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” In this declaration, and also by His example, Christ would show man that hunger for temporal food was not the greatest calamity that could befall him. Satan flattered our first parents that eating the fruit which God had forbidden them would bring to them great good, and would insure them against death, the very opposite of the truth which God had declared to them. “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” If Adam had been obedient he would have known neither want, sorrow, nor death. Con 43.1
If the people who lived before the Flood had been obedient to the word of God they would not have perished by the waters of the Flood. If the Israelites had been obedient to the words of God, He would have bestowed upon them special blessings. But they fell in consequence of the indulgence of appetite and passion. They would not be obedient to the words of God. Indulgence of perverted appetite led them into numerous and grievous sins. If they had made the requirements of God their first consideration, and their physical wants secondary, in submission to God’s choice of proper food for them, not one of them would have fallen in the wilderness. They would have been established in the goodly land of Canaan, a holy, happy people with not a feeble one in all their tribes. Con 43.2
The Saviour of the world became sin for the race. In becoming man’s substitute Christ did not manifest His power as the Son of God, but ranked Himself among the sons of men. He was to bear the trial of temptation as a man, in man’s behalf, under the most trying circumstances, and leave an example of faith and perfect trust in His heavenly Father. Christ knew that His Father would supply Him food when it would be for His glory. He would not in this severe ordeal, when hunger pressed Him beyond measure, prematurely diminish one particle of the trial allotted to Him by exercising His divine power. Con 44.1
Fallen man when brought into straightened places could not have the power to work miracles on his own behalf, to save himself from pain or anguish, or to give himself victory over his enemies. It was the purpose of God to test and prove the race, and give them an opportunity to develop character by bringing them frequently into trying positions to test their faith and confidence in His love and power. The life of Christ was a perfect pattern. He was ever, by His example and teachings, teaching man that God was his dependence, and that in Him should be his faith and firm trust. Con 44.2
Christ knew that Satan was a liar from the beginning, and it required strong self-control to listen to the propositions of this insulting deceiver and not instantly rebuke his bold assumptions. Satan was expecting that the Son of God would in His extreme weakness and agony of spirit give him an opportunity to obtain advantage over Him by provoking Him to engage in controversy with him. He designed to pervert the words of Christ and claim advantage, and call to his aid his fallen angels to use their utmost power to prevail against and overcome Him. Con 44.3
The Saviour of the world had no controversy with Satan, who was expelled from heaven because he was no longer worthy of a place there. He who could influence the angels of God against their Supreme Ruler, and against His Son, their loved Commander, and enlist their sympathy for himself, was capable of any deception. Four thousand years he had been warring against the government of God and had lost none of his skill or power to tempt and deceive. Con 45.1
And he said to them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
And going on from there, he saw other two brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
2 Pet. 1:21,
And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Tim. 3:15
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2 Tim. 3:16
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works.