Jesus “sought to impress men with the spirituality of the law, unveiling its vital principles, and making plain its eternal obligations.”
“In the time of Christ, many of his disciples remained ignorant of the very thing that it was their privilege to know. Jesus sought to teach them of spiritual things. He reproached his disciples because of their dullness of comprehension. If it had been impossible for them to comprehend the things he uttered, he would not thus have reproved them. They might have exerted their mental powers to a greater extent, and stimulated their souls, by prayer and faith, and so have been enabled to understand the mysteries of godliness. Jesus saw that they did not lay hold of the real meaning of the great truths that he presented, and he compassionately promised that the Holy Spirit should recall these sayings to their minds, and revive in their remembrance many of the truths which they had lost. He tried to impress upon them the fact that he had opened before them great truths, the value of which they had failed to comprehend. After his resurrection, when he opened to them the scriptures concerning himself, he said unto them, ‘These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you. . . . Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures.’ Although Christ had been with them, and they had heard his exposition of the prophecies, they had failed to comprehend the great plan of the atonement, and they needed the power of the Spirit of God to make plain to their minds its deep significance.
“When the Holy Spirit fell upon the disciples of Christ, they saw their Saviour in a light in which they had never seen him before. Gladness and peace came to their souls. Jesus had told them what would be the result of the operation of the Holy Spirit. He had said. ‘He shall glorify me.’ Through the agency of the Holy Spirit, the soul is sanctified by obedience to the truth, and Jesus says, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.’ He unfolded to man the important lesson that the sum of all science is to be found in the excellency of the knowledge of Christ. This knowledge can be incorporated into everyone’s experience. The Scriptures declare, ‘This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.’
“The knowledge of God and Christ lies at the foundation of all knowledge. Through the study of the Bible, moral power is developed; and while the mind is put to the task of comprehending its truths, the intellect expands; as the image of Christ, the Author of all truth, brightens to the vision, the understanding becomes enlarged to comprehend more fully the elevated character of the standard of perfection. Those who study the Bible in the right manner, drink from a fountain which is inexhaustible. The teaching of Christ is simple, and yet the greatest and best disciplined minds are charmed with his profound and comprehensive utterances. In all his lessons, Jesus presented to men the worthlessness of ceremonial obedience. He sought to impress men with the spirituality of the law, unveiling its vital principles, and making plain its eternal obligations. The righteousness of the law was presented to the world in the character of Christ, and the holy, benevolent, and paternal attributes of God were revealed in his dealings with mankind. He explained the solemn relation which existed between man and God, between man and his fellow-man. He taught the necessity of prayer, repentance, faith, virtue, and perfection of character.“Through Christ, moral power is brought to man that will change the entire affections, and enable man to work with a will for the cause of God. Where all the power of mind and body was before concentrated to work the works of evil, by the Spirit of God a revolution is brought about. The Holy Spirit enlightens, renews, and sanctifies the soul. Angels behold with inexpressible rapture the results of the working of the Holy Spirit in man. By the revelation of the attractive loveliness of Christ, by the knowledge of his love expressed to us while we were yet sinners, the stubborn heart is melted and subdued, and the sinner is transformed and becomes a child of God. Love is the agency which God uses to expel sin from the human soul. By it he changes pride into humility, enmity and unbelief into love and faith. He does not employ compulsory measures; Jesus is revealed to the soul, and if man will look in faith to the Lamb of God, he will live.”1
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“[Jesus] reproved the unbelieving who had not received the testimony of those who had seen him, and, turning to Thomas, said, ‘Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing.’ These words showed that he had read the thoughts and words of Thomas. The doubting disciple knew that none of his companions had seen Jesus for a week, and therefore could not have told the Master of his stubborn unbelief. He recognized the person before him as his Lord who had been crucified; he had no desire for farther proof; his heart leaped for joy as he realized that Jesus was indeed risen from the dead. He cast himself at the feet of his Master in deep affection and devotion, crying, ‘My Lord and my God.’
“Jesus accepted his acknowledgment, but mildly rebuked him for his unbelief: ‘Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.’ Jesus here showed Thomas that his faith would have been more acceptable to him if he had believed the evidence of his brethren, and had not refused to believe until he had seen Jesus with his own eyes. If the world should follow this example of Thomas, no one would believe unto salvation; for all who now receive Christ do so through the testimony of others.
“Many who have a weak and wavering faith, reason that if they had the evidence which Thomas had from his companions they would not doubt as he did. They do not realize that they have not only that evidence, but additional testimony piled up about them on every side. Many who, like Thomas, wait for all cause of doubt to be removed, may never realize their desire as he did, but gradually become entrenched in their unbelief, until they cannot perceive the weight of evidence in favor of Jesus, and, like the skeptical Jews, what little light they have will go out in the darkness which closes around their minds. To reject the plain and conclusive evidences of divine truth hardens the heart, and blinds the understanding. The precious light, being neglected, fades utterly from the mind that is unwilling to receive it.“Jesus, in his treatment of Thomas, gave his followers a lesson regarding the manner in which they should treat those who have doubts upon religious truth, and who make those doubts prominent. He did not overwhelm Thomas with words of reproach, nor did he enter into a controversy with him; but, with marked condescension and tenderness, he revealed himself unto the doubting one. Thomas had taken a most unreasonable position, in dictating the only conditions of his faith; but Jesus, by his generous love and consideration, broke down all the barriers he had raised. Persistent controversy will seldom weaken unbelief, but rather put it upon self-defense, where it will find new support and excuse. Jesus, revealed in his love and mercy as the crucified Saviour, will wring from many once unwilling lips the acknowledgment of Thomas, ‘My Lord and my God.’ ”2
1. Signs of the Times, June 9, 1890.
2. Redemption: Or the Resurrection of Christ; and His Ascension, pp. 39, 40.