1. ABRAHAM’S SEED
a. Describe a seriously dangerous attitude that affects spiritual life. John 8:33.
b. What makes us slaves to sin? John 8:34, 39–44.
“The Pharisees had declared themselves the children of Abraham. Jesus told them that this claim could be established only by doing the works of Abraham. The true children of Abraham would live, as he did, a life of obedience to God. They would not try to kill One who was speaking the truth that was given Him from God. In plotting against Christ, the rabbis were not doing the works of Abraham. A mere lineal descent from Abraham was of no value. Without a spiritual connection with him, which would be manifested in possessing the same spirit, and doing the same works, they were not his children.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 466, 467.
c. How is it possible to be delivered from this tyranny of a cruel master? John 8:32, 36; Galatians 3:29.
2. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “KNOW”?
a. What all-important question did Pilate ask in the judgment hall? John 18:38 (first part). What answer would he have received if he had stopped a moment to listen to the Saviour’s response? John 14:6.
“Pilate had a desire to know the truth. His mind was confused. He eagerly grasped the words of the Saviour, and his heart was stirred with a great longing to know what it really was, and how he could obtain it. ‘What is truth?’ he inquired. But he did not wait for an answer. The tumult outside recalled him to the interests of the hour; for the priests were clamorous for immediate action. Going out to the Jews, he declared emphatically, ‘I find in Him no fault at all.’ ”—The Desire of Ages, p. 727.
b. Explain what can happen when a person studies the Word yet does not know God. Mark 12:24; 2 Timothy 3:7.
“The Sadducees had flattered themselves that they of all men adhered most strictly to the Scriptures. But Jesus showed that they had not known their true meaning.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 605.
c. How is it possible to be drawn to Someone that our fallen nature does not desire? John 12:32; 8:28; Matthew 11:28–30.
“Whenever the law is presented before the people, let the teacher of truth point out the throne arched with the rainbow of promise, the righteousness of Christ. The glory of the law is Christ; He came to magnify the law, and make it honorable. Make it distinct that mercy and truth have met together in Christ, and righteousness and peace have embraced each other. It is when you are looking to His throne, offering up your penitence and praise and thanksgiving to God, that you perfect Christian character, and represent Christ to the world. You abide in Christ, and Christ abides in you; you have that peace that passeth all understanding. We need constantly to meditate upon Christ and His attractive loveliness. We must direct minds to Jesus, fasten them upon Him. In every discourse dwell upon the divine attributes.”—The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 730.
“Study carefully the divine-human character, and constantly inquire, ‘What would Jesus do were He in my place?’ ”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 491.
3. SERPENTS IN THE WILDERNESS
a. What remedy did God provide for those stung by poisonous snakes in the desert? What was required for healing to take place? Numbers 21:6–9.
“Because they had been shielded by divine power [the children of Israel] had not realized the countless dangers by which they were continually surrounded. In their ingratitude and unbelief they had anticipated death, and now the Lord permitted death to come upon them. The poisonous serpents that infested the wilderness were called fiery serpents, on account of the terrible effects produced by their sting, it causing violent inflammation and speedy death. As the protecting hand of God was removed from Israel, great numbers of the people were attacked by these venomous creatures. . . .
“Moses was divinely commanded to make a serpent of brass resembling the living ones, and to elevate it among the people. To this, all who had been bitten were to look, and they would find relief. He did so, and the joyful news was sounded throughout the encampment that all who had been bitten might look upon the brazen serpent and live. Many had already died, and when Moses raised the serpent upon the pole, some would not believe that merely gazing upon that metallic image would heal them; these perished in their unbelief. Yet there were many who had faith in the provision which God had made. . . . If these, though faint and dying, could only once look, they were perfectly restored.
“The people well knew that there was no power in the serpent of brass to cause such a change in those who looked upon it. The healing virtue was from God alone. In His wisdom He chose this way of displaying His power. By this simple means the people were made to realize that this affliction had been brought upon them by their sins. They were also assured that while obeying God they had no reason to fear, for He would preserve them.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 429, 430.
b. How does this experience parallel that of those suffering from the sting of that old serpent (Revelation 12:9) and desire healing? John 3:14, 15; 1:29.
“Let the repenting sinner fix his eyes upon ‘the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29); and by beholding, he becomes changed. His fear is turned to joy, his doubts to hope. Gratitude springs up. The stony heart is broken. A tide of love sweeps into the soul. Christ is in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 439.
4. WHO IS JESUS?
a. Christ lived a perfect life on earth (1 Peter 2:21, 22), yet instead of being drawn to Him and His faithful followers, what is the response of most people? 2 Timothy 3:12; John 3:19, 20.
“The early Christians were indeed a peculiar people. Their blameless deportment and unswerving faith were a continual reproof that disturbed the sinner’s peace. Though few in numbers, without wealth, position, or honorary titles, they were a terror to evildoers wherever their character and doctrines were known. Therefore they were hated by the wicked, even as Abel was hated by the ungodly Cain. For the same reason that Cain slew Abel, did those who sought to throw off the restraint of the Holy Spirit, put to death God’s people. It was for the same reason that the Jews rejected and crucified the Saviour—because the purity and holiness of His character was a constant rebuke to their selfishness and corruption. From the days of Christ until now His faithful disciples have excited the hatred and opposition of those who love and follow the ways of sin.”—The Great Controversy, p. 46.
b. What supreme power is manifested in the Saviour of the world that has that capacity to draw humanity? 1 Timothy 3:16; John 1:1–3; Hebrews 1:8.
“If Christ made all things, He existed before all things. The words spoken in regard to this are so decisive that no one need be left in doubt. Christ was God essentially, and in the highest sense. He was with God from all eternity, God over all, blessed forevermore.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 247.
“In the thick darkness, God veiled the last human agony of His Son. All who had seen Christ in His suffering had been convicted of His divinity. That face, once beheld by humanity, was never forgotten. As the face of Cain expressed his guilt as a murderer, so the face of Christ revealed innocence, serenity, benevolence—the image of God. But His accusers would not give heed to the signet of heaven. Through long hours of agony Christ had been gazed upon by the jeering multitude. Now He was mercifully hidden by the mantle of God.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 754.
“Think of Christ’s humiliation. He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin. He took our sorrows, bearing our grief and shame. He endured all the temptations wherewith man is beset. He united humanity with divinity; a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 4, p. 1147.
5. GOD BECAME FLESH
a. What did this Divine Being become in order to rescue humanity from its terrible misery and hopeless condition? John 1:14; Hebrews 2:9.
b. Describe what Jesus took upon His spotless divine nature. Hebrews 2:10, 11, 14, 17.
c. To what extent did Jesus have to humble Himself so there is drawing power in the cross of Calvary? Hebrews 2:14; Philippians 2:6–8; 2 Timothy 2:8.
“In consideration of this, can men have one particle of exaltation? As they trace down the life and sufferings and humiliation of Christ, can they lift their proud heads as if they were to bear no trials, no shame, no humiliation? I say to the followers of Christ, Look to Calvary, and blush for shame at your self-important ideas. All this humiliation of the Majesty of heaven was for guilty, condemned man. He went lower and lower in His humiliation, until there were no lower depths that He could reach, in order to lift man up from his moral defilement.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 5, pp. 1127, 1128.
“What do we give up, when we give all? A sin-polluted heart, for Jesus to purify, to cleanse by His own blood, and to save by His matchless love. And yet men think it hard to give up all! I am ashamed to hear it spoken of, ashamed to write it.
“God does not require us to give up anything that it is for our best interest to retain. In all that He does, He has the well-being of His children in view. Would that all who have not chosen Christ might realize that He has something vastly better to offer them than they are seeking for themselves.”—Steps to Christ, p. 46.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What lessons can we learn from the Jews being Abraham’s children?
2. How is it possible to totally miss the point of the Bible while studying it?
3. What lessons can I learn from the deadly serpents in the wilderness?
4. What makes it possible to be drawn to the Man of Calvary?
5. Why did Jesus take on sinful human nature?