1. THE COMMON PEOPLE RECEIVE THE SAVIOUR
a. Describe the attitude of many people toward Jesus and His miracles. Mark 7:37; 5:42 (second part).
“Never before spoke one who had such power to awaken thought, to kindle aspiration, to arouse every capability of body, mind, and soul.”—Education, p. 81.
b. How did the common people respond to Jesus and His ministry? Mark 12:37 (last part). Why?
“In an unobtrusive way, from His very childhood, [Jesus] ministered to others, and because of this, when He began His public ministry, many heard Him gladly.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 350.
“Jesus’ manner of teaching was beautiful and attractive, and it was ever characterized by simplicity. He unfolded the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven through the use of figures and symbols with which His hearers were familiar, and the common people heard Him gladly; for they could comprehend His words.”—Christian Education, p. 126.
2. RECEIVING THE WORD
a. What is represented by the seed in the parable of the sower? Mark 4:14, 15. Where is the seed sown?
“The seed is the word of God, and the soul who receives it, is said to be born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, which liveth and abideth forever. . . .
“The good seed of the word falls into the heart, and at once the first development of Christian experience is made manifest. This experience is likened to the tender blade, and to the young child. The blade is beautiful, and the child is attractive, but should there be no further development, we would look upon the plant as stunted, and the child as dwarfed. The young convert is to advance in knowledge, to grow in grace. Christ looks upon His children, and He is not ignorant as to how the seed is developing.”—The Signs of the Times, March 27, 1893.
b. What are three evidences which show that the seed has been sown in a receptive heart? Verse 20; Luke 8:15.
“The good-ground hearer receives the word ‘not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God’ (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Only he who receives the Scriptures as the voice of God speaking to himself is a true learner. He trembles at the word; for to him it is a living reality. He opens his understanding and his heart to receive it.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 59.
“The word of God often comes in collision with man’s hereditary and cultivated traits of character and his habits of life. But the good-ground hearer, in receiving the word, accepts all its conditions and requirements. His habits, customs, and practices are brought into submission to God’s word.”—Ibid., p.60.
c. What do we show by whether or not we keep Christ’s words? What does Christ say about His own words? John 14:23, 24.
“We shall be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. We shall no longer live the common life of selfishness, but Christ will live in us. His character will be reproduced in our nature. Thus shall we bring forth the fruits of the Holy Spirit—‘some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.’ ”—Ibid., p.61.
3. FEARING THE SAVIOUR
a. What was the disciples’ reaction when in danger on the sea? How did they view Jesus afterwards? Mark 4:38–41.
“A hush fell upon the disciples. Even Peter did not attempt to express the awe that filled his heart.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 335.
b. What did the chief priests feel about Jesus after He cleansed the temple the second time? What did they want to do next? Mark 11:18.
“Three years before, the rulers of the temple had been ashamed of their flight before the command of Jesus. They had since wondered at their own fears, and their unquestioning obedience to a single humble Man. They had felt that it was impossible for their undignified surrender to be repeated. Yet they were now more terrified than before, and in greater haste to obey His command. There were none who dared question His authority. Priests and traders fled from His presence, driving their cattle before them. . . .
“After a season the priests and rulers ventured back to the temple. When the panic had abated, they were seized with anxiety to know what would be the next movement of Jesus.”—Ibid., pp.591, 592.
“The Pharisees were utterly perplexed and disconcerted. One whom they could not intimidate was in command. Jesus had taken His position as guardian of the temple. Never before had He assumed such kingly authority. Never before had His words and works possessed so great power. He had done marvelous works throughout Jerusalem, but never before in a manner so solemn and impressive. In presence of the people who had witnessed His wonderful works, the priests and rulers dared not show Him open hostility. Though enraged and confounded by His answer, they were unable to accomplish anything further that day.”—Ibid., p.593.
c. Describe the way in which God desires us to fear Him. Hebrews 12:28.
“In our speaking, our singing, and in all our spiritual exercises, we are to reveal that calmness and dignity and godly fear that actuates every true child of God.”—Selected Messages, bk. 3, p. 373.
4. REJECTING JESUS, THE WORD
a. What was Jesus’ attitude toward the rich young ruler? What was the ruler’s response? Mark 10:17–22.
“Christ looked into the face of the young man, as if reading his life and searching his character. He loved him, and He hungered to give him that peace and grace and joy which would materially change his character.
“[Christ] longed to see in him a humble and contrite heart, conscious of the supreme love to be given to God, and hiding its lack in the perfection of Christ.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 519.
“[Jesus] had left everything for the salvation of man, and He entreated the young man to come and imitate His example, and assured him that he should have treasure in heaven. Did the heart of the young man leap with joy at this assurance that he should indeed have treasure in heaven? Oh, no! His earthly treasures were his idol; they eclipsed the value of the eternal inheritance.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 679.
b. Name a common reason why people reject God’s Word. John 8:47; 6:60.
“[Some] cannot bear reproach for Christ’s sake. When the word of God points out some cherished sin, or requires self-denial or sacrifice, they are offended. It would cost them too much effort to make a radical change in their life. They look at the present inconvenience and trial, and forget the eternal realities. Like the disciples who left Jesus, they are ready to say, ‘This is an hard saying; who can hear it?’ John 6:60.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 47, 48.
c. What can make it difficult to accept the Word? Matthew 6:24.
“A union with Christ . . . costs us something. . . . There must be a painful work of detachment, as well as a work of attachment. Pride, selfishness, vanity, worldliness––sin in all its forms—must be overcome, if we would enter into a union with Christ. The reason why many find the Christian life so deplorably hard, why they are so fickle, so variable, is, they try to attach themselves to Christ without detaching themselves from these cherished idols.”—The Faith I Live By, p. 221.
5. WILL YOU ACCEPT JESUS?
a. What call comes to each of us today? Joshua 24:15.
“Christ first chose us, paying an infinite price for our redemption; and the true believer chooses Christ as first and last and best in everything. But this union costs us something. It is a union of utter dependence, to be entered into by a proud being. All who form this union must feel their need of the atoning blood of Christ. They must have change of heart. They must submit their own will to the will of God.”—Messages to Young People, p. 118.
b. Where does the choice to follow God begin, and what follows this choice? Proverbs 23:26.
“God asks you to give Him your heart. Your powers, your talents, your affections, should all be surrendered to Him, that He may work in you to will and to do of His good pleasure, and fit you for eternal life.
“When Christ dwells in the heart, the soul will be so filled with His love, with the joy of communion with Him, that it will cleave to Him; and in the contemplation of Him, self will be forgotten. Love to Christ will be the spring of action. Those who feel the constraining love of God, do not ask how little may be given to meet the requirements of God; they do not ask for the lowest standard, but aim at perfect conformity to the will of their Redeemer.”—My Life Today, p. 7.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why did people gladly listen to Jesus in His public ministry?
2. Describe true learners. What governs all their actions?
3. What were the feelings of the priests and rulers after Jesus cleansed the temple the second time?
4. What are some reasons why people reject Jesus and His Word?
5. Describe how complete our self-surrender should be.