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Character development is the most important work ever entrusted to human beings. During the next hour, we will explore both our privilege and our responsibility to become Christ-like in character. Join us now, for this powerful time of personal renewal as Pastor Stephen Wallace takes us “From Glory to Glory.”

So good to see you back again tonight. Thank you for the commitment to the study of the Word of God that your presence manifests. I deeply appreciate the privilege of diligently studying with you the most important work ever entrusted to human beings. And what is that, class? Character building. You know it’s a course requirement to have that first statement memorized by the time we’re finished. Education page 225; try saying with me: “Character building is the most important work ever entrusted to human beings; and never before was its diligent study so important as now.” Why so important now? Because the King is coming soon. Amen? But we have a work to do. We have a gospel to take to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people; and we have our own lives to prepare. {Rev 14:6-7} As you’ve heard me before and as you will hear me say again, the successful accomplishment of both of those tasks depends upon the very same thing. What is that? The development of a Christ-like character. Why? Because we can be neither effective witnesses for the King nor fit citizens for the kingdom, unless we have a Christ-like character, my friends. Since the King is coming soon, I insist that the diligent study of character building was never more important than now; and that is what this seminar is all about.

We have come to understand from our key text, that though we cannot change ourselves from glory to glory – which is another way of saying, from one stage of character development to another – because the Biblical term for character is glory; though we can not change ourselves from glory to glory, though we must be changed even as by the Spirit of the Lord, we have an essential cooperative role to play. And what is that? We must behold the glory of the Lord, for we are changed into the likeness of what we behold. {2 Cor 3:18} Therefore, if we are going to be changed from glory to glory, we must behold the glory of the Lord; and that’s what we’ve been doing in our last several studies.

We noted seven places where God’s glory… or seven ways God has revealed His glory to us, but on top of the list was Jesus Christ; and though we noted it just in passing when we listed those seven, we have come back now, and we are focusing on the glory – the character of God – as revealed in Jesus Christ. Tonight, I want to once again – by God’s grace and by the help and power of the Holy Spirit – to turn our hearts and minds to behold the infinitely beautiful selflessness of the character of Christ. The infinitely glorious selflessness of the character of Christ.

You see my friends, that in essence is what God’s character is all about: self-denying, self-sacrificing love.

He gives of Himself for others, and what caused the sin-problem was the human race believing the devil’s lies regarding the character of God. The devil convinced us that God was selfish. You see, Satan has attributed to God his own character, his own characteristics, his own attributes; and to the degree that we have believed those lies, we have been estranged from God, and we have become rebellious towards Him. In order for God to win us back to Himself, and free us from our rebellion, and draw us back into harmony with Him, He must reveal to us the truth regarding His character – to discredit, disprove the devil’s lies. That, as we have noted, was part of the two-fold mission of Jesus Christ to planet earth.

Christ was sent by the Father to reveal His glory to man, and He was sent to, what? …restore His glory in man.

The restoration was dependent upon the revelation, wasn’t it? …and the most important quality or characteristic of God that Christ must reveal – to set us free from our alienation and our rebellion – is the selfless love of God… the selfless love of God. That is why, my dear friends, I want to focus with you on the infinitely glorious revelation of that selflessness that we see, especially in the closing hours of the life of Jesus Christ. His whole life, mind you, was a beautiful revelation of the selfless love of God. But that beautiful revelation reached its infinitely glorious climax in the closing hours of His mortal life on planet earth.

This is a deeply spiritual study, and spiritual things are only, what my dear friends? …spiritually discerned. {1 Cor 2:13-14} Therefore, what must we pause to do before we proceed? We must personally invite God’s Spirit into our hearts; and bless your hearts, I covet your prayers. I’m standing in the need of prayer tonight. I pray that the Holy Spirit will give me strength to lift up Jesus; and I’m claiming His promise: “I, if I be lifted up, will” what? “…will draw all unto Me.” {Jn 12:32} Would you pray that the Lord will use this poor earthen vessel, in spite of himself, to lift up Christ in His beauty, that we might all be drawn to Him? …and would you pray in your own behalf that you would have a receptive, responsive heart that the Holy Spirit can impress with the love of Christ, and attract to Christ, closer than you’ve ever been drawn before? Would you pray for that, too? Let’s spend a few moments on our knees in silent prayer.

My Father in Heaven, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Lord our righteousness, I come… I come with confidence into Your very presence, confident because of the worthiness of the Lamb that was slain; confident because I know that You, by grace, see me not as I am in myself, but as I am in Him. Washed with His blood and clothed with His spotless fleece, I am accepted in the Beloved. Oh, I rejoice in the access that is mine into Your very presence in and through the mediator, the Lord my righteousness. Father God, I come to ask once again, for the outpouring of Your Holy Spirit upon us tonight. I above all, stand in need of the Holy Spirit’s power. Please Lord, condescend to use me, earthen vessel though I am. Take possession of me: body, mind and spirit – and let me speak the truth, the truth as it is in Jesus. Give me better thoughts, better words than my own. Let me lift up Jesus, and I claim His promise: “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all unto Me.” …and Father whatever You are able to say through this poor earthen vessel, may it find receptive hearts and minds; and may each brother and sister here, be drawn closer to Jesus for having beheld His love. May all of us, for having beheld His love, be changed into the likeness of what we behold as well, even as by the Spirit of the Lord, Father. So please, by Your Spirit not only reveal the glory to us, but restore the glory in us. This is our prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

I would invite you to turn to page 21 in our printout. We are at lesson 10 entitled: “I Have Glorified You.” That phrase is taken from the Lord’s Prayer. Now when I say the Lord’s Prayer, you all immediately think: “Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name.” {Mat 6:9} Right? I’ve got news for you, that’s not the Lord’s Prayer. That’s our prayer. The Lord taught us to pray that prayer, but that’s our prayer. He didn’t pray that prayer. How do we know that? “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” {Mat 6:12} Did Christ ever had to pray such a thing? No! No, no, no. Obviously that’s not His prayer then. What is the Lord’s Prayer? John 17 is the Lord’s Prayer. It’s a beautiful, beautiful prayer, my dear friends! I would love to spend a lot of time just going through it.

By the way, inspiration tells us that we ought to commit John 17 to memory. {8T 80.1, 239.2} I’m working on it… haven’t got it done yet, but I’m working on it.

Beautiful, beautiful, passionate prayer; and all the truth that is enfolded in every line is just exhaustless. But let’s just jump to the heart of it. Chapter 17, verse 4. Note what He says to the Lord regarding His mission to reveal God’s glory to man. What can He say without qualification? Mission accomplished. Amen? {Amen} Listen to the way He puts it: “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” What had the Father sent the Son to do? To reveal His glory to man; and here down towards the close of His earthly ministry, what can He say to the Father without qualification? I’ve done it! I have glorified You. Please notice He doesn’t have to say: “I gave it my best Father; I dropped the ball a few times, and I’m sorry, I missed it here and there.” No, none of that. He says, “I have glorified You on the earth.” I’ve done it!

By the way, what does it mean to glorify God? It means to reveal His character. Amen? It means to reveal His character. How is it? How could He possibly say such a thing? “I have glorified You,” without qualification? Because He could also say without qualification, in John 8:29, “I always do those things that please Him.” …and in John 15:10, “I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”

You see my brother, my sister, the life of Christ was a perfect revelation of the glory, the character of God, precisely because the life of Christ was a life of perfect obedience to the law of God; which is the transcript of His character. {COL 305.3} Do you remember that? God’s law is the transcript, or the written version, of His character. God’s law defines love in terms of relationships; and Christ’s life was a life of perfect obedience. “I have kept My Father’s commandments.” Precisely because His life was a life of perfect obedience to the law, because He always did those things that pleased the Father, His life was a perfect revelation of the character of God, the glory of God.

Note how inspiration puts that truth in Signs of the Times, January 2, 1896: “Every step that Christ advanced from the manger to Calvary,” Pause. What are we talking about? What happened in the manger? He was born. What happened at Calvary? He died. So, we are talking about what? The whole span of His life. “Every step that Christ advanced from the manger to Calvary established His character as the One” – there’s only been one – “as the One who could say without any qualification: ‘I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.’ What exalted ideas of the law of God do we obtain as we behold Jesus fulfilling every precept, and representing the character of God before the world! It was by fulfilling the law that Christ made known the Father to the world.” Do we see that truth clearly?

Special Testimonies on Education, page 231, again: “His, Christ’s, character was a life of obedience to all God’s commandments, and was to be a sample for all men upon the earth. His life was the living of the law in humanity.” That’s precisely why He could say: “If you have seen Me, you’ve,” what? “…you’ve seen the Father.” He thereby, fulfilled His mission to reveal God’s glory to men. Remember that mission? We noted it in 2 Corinthians 4:6. The Father sent Him to do what? “…to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” {2 Cor 4:6}

Signs of the Times April 4, 1895: “The object of Christ’s mission to the world was to reveal the Father.” Now my dear friends, that cannot be appreciated as it ought to be unless we understand the context in which Christ was sent to planet earth; and that context is the great controversy between God and Satan – between Christ and Satan. You see Satan had lied, as we mentioned earlier, regarding the character of God; and it is those lies, that launched the rebellion of the human race. As the human race bought into those lies, they became alienated from God and became rebels. So, it is now imperative to win back the estranged, alienated race into harmonious union with Himself. It’s now imperative that He reveals the truth regarding His character – absolutely essential. The truth that is most important to reveal to the human race is His selflessness, because the lie that Satan has primarily inculcated in the mind of the human race, is that God is selfish. So to break that deceptive power, we need to come to know the truth; and what did Jesus say? “You shall known the truth and the truth shall,” what? “…set you free.” {Jn 8:32} You see, as long as we believe the devil’s lies, we are in bondage to sin. But when we see the truth, his power is broken and we are liberated from our rebellion; and we are won back to love-motivated obedience, and harmony with the God who we know is love.

Now, notice how inspiration speaks to this. Signs of the Times, May 16, 1900: “In His life and lessons Christ gave a perfect exemplification of the unselfish ministry which has its origin in God. God does not live for Himself. By creating the world, and upholding all things, He is constantly ministering to others. Satan misrepresented God to the world, as he did to Adam and Eve. Selfishness has its origin in Satan, and just as far as it is indulged, so far are Satan’s attributes cherished; but Satan charged God with these attributes,” Satan charged God with these attributes. Satan accused God of being selfish. “And,” reading on, “belief in his principles was becoming more and more widespread. By the Son of God, these principles must be demonstrated as,” what? “…false, and God’s character shown to be one of love. By Him the Father must be rightly represented. God committed His ideal to Christ, and sent Him into the world, invested with divinity, yet bearing humanity.” You see, the mission of Jesus Christ is especially to reveal the selflessness, the self-denying, self-sacrificing love of God that the power of sin might be broken and that man might be set free. Review and Herald, September 11, 1894; another insight: “Christ made every effort so to sweep away the misrepresentations of Satan, that the confidence of man in the love of God might be restored.”

Now my dear friends, I want you to consider with me how beautifully Christ succeeded in doing that. As we behold the selfless love of Jesus Christ tonight, particularly in the closing scenes of His life, I want you to always keep in mind His words: “If you have seen Me, you have,” what? “…seen the Father.” {Jn 14:9} Please don’t loose awareness of the fact, that what we see revealed in Jesus Christ is really a revelation of the Father. Amen? {Amen} You see, we sometimes tend to think that Christ is the one who loves us, and He’s trying to convince the Father to love us. But my dear friends, there is absolutely no difference between Christ and the Father. You see One, you’ve seen the Other. So please understand, that the beautiful revelation that we behold in Jesus Christ is indeed the revelation of the Father.

But, here is the problem… here’s the problem: Satan knows very well that Christ is a perfect revelation of the Father; and since he was not able to keep Christ from rightly representing the Father, he now has turned his attention on getting us to misunderstand the character of Christ. He’s trying to misrepresent the character of Christ, so it can no longer rightly represent the character of God. My brothers, my sisters, the frightening thing about it is that he’s succeeded remarkably in doing that, even amongst God’s people. Listen to this statement and be sobered by it. Selected Messages, Volume 1, page 355: “The understanding of the people of God has been blinded, for Satan has misrepresented the character of God. Our good and gracious Lord has been presented before the people clothed in the attributes of Satan.” Pause. You see, Satan first started by attributing to God his characteristics, and then when Christ came to tell the truth regarding the character of God; he now is busy attributing to Christ his characteristics. Reading on: “Our good and gracious Lord has been presented before the people clothed in the attributes of Satan, and men and women who have been seeking for truth have so long regarded God in a false light that it is difficult to dispel the cloud that obscures His glory from their view. Many have been living in an atmosphere of doubt, and it seems almost impossible for them to lay hold on the hope set before them in the gospel of Christ…”

My dear friends, right here is what keeps us from truly entering in to a life-changing relationship with our Savior. Satan has managed to distort our understanding of the love of our Savior; and to the degree he has succeeded in doing that, we are still alienated from Him. We are still reticent and hesitant to come fully under His benign, benevolent lordship of love. Are you reading me? Do you hear what I’m saying?

It is imperative then, before anyone can come to be fully submitted to the authority of Jesus Christ, that they understand clearly the love of Jesus Christ. That is imperative.

You see, let me just share with you a very important concept. There were three steps that Satan took the human race through, in order to bring them into a state of rebellion; and I would love to develop this, but we don’t have the time. Let me just state the three steps. But if you want to look closely at the conversation between the serpent and the woman in the Garden of Eden – at the tree of knowledge of good and evil – you will see these three steps. You will see them.

Step number 1: He got us to distrust God’s love.

Step number 2: He got us to disbelieve God’s Word.

Step number 3: He got us to reject God’s authority. {Ed 25.2}

Did you catch that? What were the three steps? Number 1: Distrust God’s love. Number 2: Disbelieve God’s Word. Number 3, what? …reject God’s authority. Please know, that it is only those three steps and in that order that could have succeeded in bringing about the fall of the human race. Did you catch that? He couldn’t have succeeded by telling her right off the bat, “Eat of this forbidden fruit.” No, that would have been step three. He couldn’t have succeeded in getting her to believe to take the second step: “You won’t die.” “God’s lying to you, you won’t die.” What did he first have to do? He had to tear out the foundation of confidence in the love of God. Are you hearing what I’m telling you? …and once he got her to doubt, to distrust God’s love, then the next step, disbelieve God’s Word: Yes, it’s possible that God might not be telling me the truth. After all if He doesn’t love me, maybe He’s lying to me. Are you reading me? Are you hearing me? …and then, once he’s gotten her to take step two; is it any problem to get her to take step three? Reject God’s authority. No.

Now, follow closely! What is the only way the human race will be brought out of rebellion and back into harmony with God? It’s by taking those three steps, but the opposite.

Number 1: We must come to what? …trust God’s love. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen}

Number 2: We must come to what? …believe God’s Word.

And number 3: We will then, do what? …accept God’s authority.

Does that make sense to you? But you see, my friends, we cannot come to accept God’s authority until we believe His Word; and we will not truly believe His Word, until we what? …trust His love. Is that clear? So essential then, to bringing us back into a willing submission to the authority of God, is the revelation of the self denying, self-sacrificing, selfless love of God for us. That’s what Jesus Christ must do if He is going to win us back into love-motivated obedience to God.

By the way, that’s the only obedience that God is satisfied with. Amen? What kind of obedience? Love-motivated obedience. That’s really the only obedience there is. As the Bible says: “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” {Rom 13:10} Any other obedience isn’t really obedience at all, it’s just hypocrisy. It’s just a sham, just a sham if it’s not motivated by love. So, how is it that we can be brought into this love-motivated obedience to the Father? It is by seeing His love as revealed in the Son, especially in the closing hours of His life on planet earth. My dear friends, do you better understand in this context, why Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:2: “I am determined to know nothing among you, save,” what? “…Christ and Him crucified.” You see, Paul knew that the only thing that had power to break the tyranny of sin, self, and Satan on the human heart was the revelation of the love of God in Christ and Him crucified. That’s the only thing that has the power to do it.

Now, in this context, let’s go back to the Lord’s Prayer, John 17. In verse 4, as we’ve noted, He says: “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” And then, note what He says in the following verse: “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” Remarkable request. Think about what He’s asking the Father to enable Him to do. He wants the Father to glorify Him together with Himself with the glory that He had with the Father before the world was. Now, what glory did He have with the Father before the world was? Infinite glory, infinite glory. That was before He became a man and veiled the glory in humanity. He is asking, in other words, God the Father, to enable Him to add the infinitely glorious finishing touches, to the revelation of His character that He has come to make by His human sojourn on planet earth.

You see from the very beginning, understand that Christ perfectly revealed God’s glory, even as a babe in Bethlehem’s manger. He was a perfect revelation of the Father’s glory. By the way, the wise men, with spiritual discernment, saw that glory, didn’t they? They didn’t just look at a human baby. The spiritual discernment they had, enabled them to see the aura, the Shekinah that radiated from that baby; and they got down on their knees and they, what? …they worshiped Him. {Mat 2:11} By the way, wise men still get on their knees and worship Him. Amen?

But that perfect revelation of God’s glory was not static, it was dynamic. Perfection is dynamic; and in perfection, Christ grew from glory to glory. Scripture says He grew in wisdom, and in stature, and in favor with God and man {Lk 2:52}; and that glorious revelation became more and more glorious. Amen? Perfect at every stage, but growing in its fullness until finally He is here, praying just before the closing hours of His life. He’s asking God to help Him add the infinitely glorious finishing touches on that portrait that His whole life has been painting, of the character of God. That’s what He’s asking the Father to do. Does the Father grant His prayer? Oh, yes my friends.

But please know, that Christ is fully aware, that if He is going to reveal the infinitely glorious finishing touches on the revelation, He must be willing and able to make an infinite sacrifice on account of His love for us. Do you hear what I’m saying? …and that infinite sacrifice will require infinite suffering. You see my friends, it’s very interesting, and we’ll note this later in our seminar: Throughout Scripture there is a consistent linking between suffering and glory. Did you hear what I said? There is a consistent linking between what? …suffering and glory. The greater the suffering, the greater the glory. {CC 278.5} The greater the suffering on account of self-sacrifice, the greater the glory… direct linkage all the time. This is why if Christ is going to be able to reveal the infinite glory of the Father, He must be willing to suffer, how much? …infinitely; and that is what He’s praying for the Father to enable Him to do. Because, you see, He is looking forward to what event?

Gethsemane, and then the terrible trial and finally Calvary.

He is looking right in the face of these closing hours of His life. He knows that His humanity is going to have to have supernatural, divine power to go through with it; and make that infinite sacrifice and experience that infinite suffering, that He might reveal the infinitely glorious character of the love of God. Right after that prayer closes, in the next chapter, what do we read? John 18:1: “When Jesus had spoken these words,” and that’s in reference to the prayer in John 17, what did He do? “He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered.” What garden was that, my dear friends? That was the Garden of Gethsemane, that was the Garden of Gethsemane. And oh, my brothers, sisters the revelation of the glory that we see in Christ as He agonizes in prayer, sweating drops of blood in that garden, is absolutely, infinitely glorious. I want you to consider it with me.

What is the prayer that He utters three times? Matthews 26:42, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” What is this cup that He’s talking about? Well, you read about it in Revelation. It’s the cup of God’s wrath, which is going to be poured out without mixture one of these days {Rev 14:10}; and what is God’s wrath? God’s wrath is His justice in action. What is God’s justice? God’s justice is the assurance that whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. {Gal 6:7} It’s God’s promise that He will honor our choice. Now God has, mercifully, not turned us over immediately to the consequences of our choice. Amen? Because He is hoping that we will ask forgiveness and flee to Christ, so that we won’t have to take the consequences of our choice, but will allow Christ to take them for us. Do I hear an “amen”?

Now my dear friends, our sins must be punished. God’s justice requires it… God’s justice requires it. You see, if God just overlooks our sins, then in a very real sense; He has failed to honor our choice, hasn’t He? …and who do you suppose would stand up before the whole universe and say, “I told you so! We are robots; we don’t have a free will. Man chose to sin and God won’t even let him take the consequences.” {DA 761.4} But my friends, please know that we don’t have to take the consequences. We don’t have to drink the cup of wrath. Why? Because Jesus Christ drank it for us on the cross. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} But that is what He’s agonizing over in Gethsemane. He is looking that cup of wrath in the face, and it’s trembling in His hand. “I’m not sure I can do this, Father.” But I ask you, is that a rebellious will that He’s struggling with? No, my dear friends. Why is He struggling to make that decision? To go through with it? Because it will require separation from the Father {DA 686.5}; and it will require Him to be made sin {2 Cor 5:21}; and His holy nature is so repulsed by sin, that the prospect of being accounted sinful and being separated from the Father thereby, is just overwhelming to Him, and He doesn’t think He can do it. These are infinite and eternal bonds of love that our sins are about to rip asunder. His whole being trembles at the prospect, and He cries out, “Father, if this cup can pass away from Me, if there’s any way… but if there isn’t, I’ll drink it. I’ll drink it. {Mat 26:42}

You got to love a Lord like that, my friends. You got to love a Lord like that…

You know, I want to read for you tonight one of the most precious passages in that inspired book on the life of Christ, The Desire of Ages. I love this book with my whole heart… I love this book. I’ve been through this book so many times, and every time I read it; it’s a new book. Every time I get to the end, I always am driven right back to the front again, and I read it over again. I highly recommend it, especially those last chapters. This one that I want to read excerpts from, is the chapter on Gethsemane. Let me do it. It’s a longer quote than I usually read, but there is no better way that I can possibly articulate what Jesus went through in the Garden of Gethsemane than reading this. It begins on page 686, and there are excerpts from page 690, if you want to add that to your reference there. Desire of Ages, 686 through 690.

Listen, and let the Spirit speak to your heart. Let the Spirit open your eyes, and behold the glory, behold the selflessness, behold the self-denial, the self-sacrifice of the love of Christ. Remember, if you’ve seen Him you’ve seen who? …the Father. I quote: “He felt that by sin He was being separated from His Father. The gulf was so broad, so black, so deep, that His spirit shuddered before it. This agony He must not exert His divine power to escape.” But please know, He could have. Reading on: “As man He must suffer the consequence of man’s sin. As man He must endure the wrath of God against transgression. Christ was now standing in a different attitude from that in which He had ever stood before. His suffering can best be described in the words of the prophet: ‘Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, and against the man that is My fellow, saith the Lord of hosts.’ Zechariah 13:7. As the substitute and surety for sinful man, Christ was suffering under divine justice. He saw what justice meant. Hitherto He had been as an intercessor for others; now He longed to have an intercessor for Himself.

As Christ felt His unity with the Father broken up,

He feared that in His human nature He would be unable to endure the coming conflict with the powers of darkness… Behold Him contemplating the price to be paid for the human soul. In His agony He clings to the cold ground, as if to prevent Himself from being drawn farther from God… From His pale lips comes the bitter cry, ‘O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me.’ Yet even now He adds, ‘Nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.’ Terrible, was the temptation to let the human race bear the consequences of its own guilt, while He stood innocent before God… The awful moment had come, that moment which was to decide the destiny of the world. The fate of humanity trembled in the balance. Christ might even now refuse to drink the cup apportioned to guilty man. It was not yet too late. He might wipe the bloody sweat from His brow, and leave man to perish in his iniquity. He might say, Let the transgressor receive the penalty of his sin, and I will go back to My Father. Will the Son of God drink the bitter cup of humiliation and agony? Will the innocent suffer the consequences of the curse of sin to save the guilty? The words fall tremblingly from the pale lips of Jesus. ‘O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done…’ He will save man to any cost to Himself. He accepts His baptism of blood, that through Him perishing millions may gain everlasting life. He has left the courts of heaven, where all is purity, happiness and glory, to save the one lost sheep, the one world that has fallen by transgression. And He will not turn from His mission. He will become the propitiation of a race that has willed to sin. His prayer now breathes only submission: ‘If this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.'”

You’ve got to love a Lord like that, my brother, my sister.

But do you see the selflessness that is on display there? Christ could have called it off. He could have gone back home to the Father, and left us to our just deserts. He didn’t deserve to suffer. We did! But He chose to take what we deserve, so that we could choose to take what He deserves. You got to love a Lord like that. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} You’ve got to love a Lord like that.

And my dear friends, lest you forget, please hear Him say, “He who has seen Me, has seen the Father.” {Jn 14:9} Don’t for a moment think that God the Father wasn’t suffering with His Son, as He went through that experience in Gethsemane. He was in agony as well. Listen, Desire of Ages 693, from the same chapter, Gethsemane, a little further: “God suffered with His Son. Angels beheld the Savior’s agony. They saw their Lord enclosed by legions of satanic forces, His nature weighed down with a shuddering, mysterious dread. There was silence in heaven. No harp was touched. Could mortals have viewed the amazement of the angelic host as in silent grief they watched the Father separating His beams of light, love and glory from His beloved Son, they would better understand how offensive in His sight is sin.”

My dear friends, if you think that was easy for God to separate His beams of love and light from His Son, please think again; and yet, if He was going to provide salvation for us, He had to treat His Son as we deserve, so that He could treat us as His Son deserves.

Please know that your Father loves you, my dear friends.

Not just your Savior, but God the Father loves you just as much as God the Son loves you. There is another glorious revelation of Christ’s selflessness, revealed as He comes to the closing hours of His life. It’s revealed in ever increasing beauty and luster, as He comes under ever increasing pressure and agony, due to the combined forces of wicked men with all the principalities and powers of the kingdom of the darkness. Watch what happens shortly after He utters that final: “If this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.” Let’s pick up the story in John 18:3: “Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, ‘Whom are you seeking?’ …and they answered Him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am He.’ Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, ‘I am He,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.”

Very interesting; what’s happening here? What’s happening here? Please notice first of all, that the word “He” is added. I am “He;” that’s italicized in your Bible. That’s a little flag that says it’s added. What did Jesus actually say when they said, “Jesus of Nazareth”? He said what? “…I AM.” What is “I AM”? That’s the name of God. And my dear friends, when He said that, what did they do? They drew back and fell to the ground. Inspiration tells us that when He said “I AM,” divinity flashed through humanity. What happened? Divinity flashed through humanity. Look over on the next page, 24, second one down, Review and Herald, July 12, 1892: “Divinity flashed through humanity, and the soldiers were powerless before Him. Had He spoken the word, twelve legions of angels would have come to His defense, and delivered Him from His foes, and every one of that cruel company would have been destroyed at His word. But no, He had come to save man, and at any cost He would carry out His purpose. He permitted them to take Him and drag Him away as they would have taken any common criminal.”

My dear friends, divinity flashes through humanity. But is it for His own sake that He flashes His divine power when He says, “I AM”? Is it for His own sake? No. If it had been for His own sake, what would have He done? While they were groveling, trying to get their wits back and their sight back, what would He have done? He would have said, “Listen disciples, let’s leave. This is a real good time. Let’s leave.” But what does He do? He stands there patiently waiting for them to get their wits about them, so they can jump on Him and tie Him up. Why does He do that, my dear friends? Why does He let divinity flash, and cause those men to drop like dead men? It’s obviously not for Himself. Why does He do it? He does it for His disciples, He does it for the mob, and He does it for every one of us who reads the story. And what’s He trying to tell us? What is He clearly telling us? That He is going by choice to the cross. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} He was not tricked; He was not overpowered. He chose to go to the cross. He could have left, but He patiently waited for them to jump on Him and bind Him up.

And by the way, when one of the disciples whips out the sword, Peter, in a vain attempt to defend his Lord, and cuts off the high priests servant’s ear, what does Jesus do? He says, “Suffer it to be,” {Lk 22:51} and He breaks loose from those ties as if they were threads of silk, and He picks up the ear and puts it on, and then lets them bind Him up again. You’ve got to love a Lord like that. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} When it comes to doing something for others, He’ll exercise His power, but not for Himself.

Now take that same Lord, would you please? Take that same Lord, and follow Him. Follow Him through that miserable excuse of a trial, and that incredible abuse that was poured out upon Him. See Him there in Herod’s court, when demon-possessed men are pulling out of His beard by the handfuls, spitting in His face, pounding in the crown of thorns, kicking Him, abusing Him, calling Him every name in the book. Do you think it might have been a temptation to let divinity flash just once more? Do you think it might have been a temptation? My dear friends, I assure you it was a temptation beyond our capacity to comprehend. Listen, bottom of the page 23, Bible Commentaries, Volume 7, p. 930: “Christ was put the closest test, requiring the strength of all His faculties, to resist the inclination when in danger, to use His power to deliver Himself from peril and triumph over the power of the prince of darkness.” It was an incredibly powerful temptation, especially when you consider how offensive sin was to His pure, holy nature. And here He was, just completely surrounded by demon-possessed, vile human beings. But now, He cannot let divinity flash through humanity. Why? Because it would have been for who? …for Himself, and He must go through this as a man. If He is going to be sympathetic with us, He can’t resort to anything that we couldn’t resort to. You’ve got to love a Lord like that! Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen}

Now, follow this same Savior! Please, follow this same Savior and consider the temptation that it must have been as they nailed Him to the cross, and then lifted that cross and dropped it with that cruel jolt into that stone hole on Golgotha. By the way, what does Golgotha mean? “The place of the skull.” {Jn 19:17} As that cross dropped, the serpent’s head was crushed. {PK 701.3} Do I hear an “amen”? Don’t forget that; don’t forget that.

But then what did they do? What did they do? Matthew 27:39: “And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.'” Who was putting those words in their mouth? Satan himself. Could Jesus have come down from the cross? My dear friends, it would have been no problem at all. If you or I had been taunted while nailed to the cross, to come down; would it have been a temptation to us? No, why? We couldn’t do it. But it certainly was to Him. I read on: “Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, ‘He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross and we will believe Him.'” Oh, do you hear, do you see the power of that temptation?! Jesus Christ wants with His whole heart for His beloved chosen people, to believe that He is their King; and here Satan is having them say to Him, Listen, if you’ll come down we’ll believe You’re the King. We can’t even conceive how powerful that temptation was.

Especially when you recognize, at the top of page 24, Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 3, page 260: “The Jews were continually seeking for and expecting a Divinity among them that would be revealed in outward show, and by one flash of overmastering will would change the current of all minds, force from them an acknowledgment of His superiority elevate Himself, and gratify the ambition of His people.” That’s the kind of messiah that they were looking for, and if Jesus had done something supernatural, like come off the cross, He probably would have been able to convince them that He was the Messiah they expected. Except they were expecting a carnal messiah, to meet their carnal agenda; and Jesus was there to be their spiritual Messiah. Amen? …and so, He couldn’t indulge that taunting temptation.

But do you know what He said when they mocked Him and said, “You saved others, save Yourself?” {Lk 23:35} He revealed this to me once as I was prayerfully considering this. By His Spirit He impressed upon my mind, what He said in His heart when they said: “You saved others, save Yourself.” He said: “You know I could, I surely could. But if I did, I couldn’t save you. And I wouldn’t be able to save Steve.” …and you can put your name in there. “I wouldn’t be able to save Steve. I wouldn’t be able to save David or Les, or Phil or Jeff, or Joel, or Bill, or Sue. I wouldn’t be able to save them, so I’m going to choose to stay. I’m going to go through with it.”

You’ve got to love a Lord like that. Do I hear an “amen”? {Amen} You got to love a Lord like that. Oh, my dear friends, behold the glory, behold the Lamb, and in beholding you will be changed. “I, if I be lifted up, will” what? “…will draw all unto Me.” {Jn 12:32} You see, it’s the infinite love of God, revealed in Christ and Him crucified, that wins our hearts back to Him. But it won’t do that, unless we behold the love revealed there. Do you better understand, why inspiration exhorts us to spend a thoughtful hour every day in contemplation of the life of Christ, but especially what? …the closing scenes. {4T 374.1} That’s where the greatest drawing power is, my friends. Please, behold the glorious revelation that the glorious restoration might take place. God forbid that He should have done all of that in vain for anyone here tonight. Shall we stand for prayer?

Father God, I thank You so much for revealing Your glory to us, that You might now restore Your glory in us, as we choose to cooperate by beholding the Lamb that was slain. Turn our eyes upon Jesus, is our prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.


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