Commentary on "More Clothing Imagery"
Day 7: Friday, June 17, 2011 - Further Study
This final study for the week focuses entirely on the writings of Ellen G. White, as is usual for Friday of every week. This is basically her subjective recap of the casting of lots for Jesus’ clothing. There are three discussion questions that will be answered briefly.
- In class go over whatever Bible prophecies each person finds especially encouraging. How do these prophecies reveal to us the fact that God truly has given us very good reasons for belief?
- Review the last few days of Christ’s life and the incredible humiliation, self-denial, and suffering He had to endure. What lessons can we take from them for ourselves? How can we learn to die to self the way that Jesus has revealed to us here?
- Think of the utter ignorance of the soldiers who mocked Jesus with the scarlet robe and the crown of thorns. Or the ones who divided up His clothes beneath His feet, totally unaware of what was really happening. Or even that of the high priest, who rent his own garment in supposed righteous indignation at Christ’s answer to him. All of these men acted in sheer ignorance, and yet, all took part in perpetrating a horrible crime. Does this ignorance of what they were doing in any way excuse their actions? Why should they be punished for something they did without knowing exactly what it was? Discuss.
First of all, any biblical account should be looked at from the Bible’s viewpoint, not Ellen G. White’s. This seems like it’s an obvious statement (especially since the Bible writers were actual eyewitnesses to these events). Anything Mrs. White adds is irrelevant. Following are the answers to the above mentioned questions:
- God gives us “very good reason” for belief because His prophecies-- as is His whole Word, the Bible—are without mistake and are 100% accurate (inerrant). We can’t pick and choose which prophecies and which promises we want to believe in or emphasize, as it’s all good for teaching and correction (2 Tim. 3:16). John 1:1 says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” God cannot be separated from His Word and they are one and the same-- God can’t lie.
- The lessons we can learn are:
a. It’s all about being a servant in God’s economy. It’s not about our plan and comfort, but about the bigger picture of God’s plan. We have to submit daily to His will.
b. We can only do the above (be a servant and submit daily to His will) by surrendering our lives to Christ, through faith. When we have God’s supernatural strength working in us through The Comforter (the Holy Spirit), we are truly a new creation and not someone just trying to work harder at copying Christ’s example through our own efforts—it’s impossible.
- Ignorance doesn’t excuse their actions. Truth and sincerity must be weighed on different scales. Many of these actions were not merely ignorance, but born out of pride and jealousy (John 11:48). Jesus threatened the status quo of the religious establishment and was making them look bad. There was enough information in the Old Testament regarding the coming Messiah and Jesus held them accountable to know the Scriptures. These were educated religious men and were supposed to be the leading scholars/authorities. Their mockery and venomous torture was not out of ignorance—He was a threat and they wanted to get rid of Him. Romans 1:18-21 tells us that all men are without excuse.
“For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened.”
- Any biblical story should be looked at and recounted from the Bible, not Ellen G. White. Her additions are unnecessary and often inaccurate.
- God doesn’t need to give us “good reason” to believe—He’s God, and that’s reason enough. He’s sovereign and His Word is infallible (2 Tim. 3:16; John 1:1).
- It’s all about being a servant in God’s economy, and we have to submit daily to His will. We can only do this by surrendering our lives to Christ, through faith. When we have the Holy Spirit we are truly a new creation. It’s not about working harder through our own efforts, but having Christ work in us.
- Ignorance doesn’t excuse their blasphemous actions. Truth and sincerity must be weighed on different scales. Romans 1:18-21 tells us that all men are without excuse. God knows the heart. Jesus was a threat and the religious leaders wanted to get rid of Him (John 11:48).
(Emphasis supplied in all passages.)
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