Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Sabbath School Insights No. 11, Qtr 2-05

Second Quarter 2005 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“Jesus Through the Eyes of Mark”

(Produced by the editorial board of the 1888 Message Study Committee)</bold>

<bold>Insights to Lesson 11: “Betrayed and Arrested”</bold>

</center>Seldom does any Sabbath School class get through the entire
Lesson before the bell rings. It’s quite possible that time was up for
your lesson last Sabbath without your getting to the question that
disturbs us at the end of the Teacher’s Lesson Guide. It’s one that
stabs us rather rudely awake:

“As Seventh-day Adventists we have heard all our lives that Christ is
coming soon. But in more than 150 years of preaching of His soon
return, He is still not here. How can we account for the delay to a
nonbeliever? Does this discount our belief in any way? Explain.”

The problem is not so much with “a nonbeliever.” It’s that we as
“believers” are stumped on this one. In our class last Sabbath, a 92
year old church member frankly confessed that he has heard many
attempted answers but never one that clears it up. Are our “children”
going to ask the same question 50-100 years from now?

We also got hung up on the “this-generation-shall-not-pass” statement
(Mark 13:30). In view of those “150 years” that have “passed” since
“we” first told the world Jesus is coming “soon,” how do we understand
that one?

If we can’t come up with reasonable answers to questions like this, we
needn’t be surprised to see our young people drift away.

The only possible answer that makes sense is that Christ has wanted
all this while to return to get His people, but what He has wanted has
been denied to Him. His people have not been praying, <italic>“Thy
</italic>will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” They’ve been
praying, <italic>“Our</italic> will be done”! Life in this sinful
world has been too nice.

A husband may want to do something right but his wife can frustrate
him. As the church’s Bridegroom, Christ wanted to return the second
time within the lifetime of that identical “generation” that He
describes in Mark 13:30--the “generation” that recognized in the
heavens the “signs” of His coming (vss. 24-25). Yes, astonishing as it
may seem, Christ intended that some who saw the stars fall in 1833
should actually <italic>see</italic> Him come (cf.
<italic>Testimonies,</italic> vol. 1, pp. 131, 132; 1856). And the
Lord’s servant declared in 1893 that Jesus had intended to have come
already by that time (<italic>General Conference Bulletin,
</italic>1893,<italic> </italic>pp. 419, 420; Testimonies, vol. 9, p.
29). Getting ready for the coming of Jesus and preparing for “the
marriage of the Lamb” is one and the same thing, but “His wife has
[NOT] made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7, 8). She, not He, has delayed the
marriage and of course, His coming too. It’s that simple! She has
frustrated what He has wanted to do . . . for a long time.

<bold>And now our new Lesson.


Heaven is very much alert, and sees all this machination of unbelief
boiling beneath our surface. it frustrates the Lord Jesus. This week
let us study carefully Mark 14 and follow Jesus step by step as those
evil “machinations of unbelief” not only “boil beneath the surface”
among the Jews in Jerusalem but boil over in open hatred of the Lamb
of God:

<bold>*</bold> A disciple who had everybody fooled (except Jesus)
betrayed Him cruelly (Sunday’s Lesson).

<bold>*</bold> Dear lovable, loyal, hard-working, sincere Peter denied
Him shamefully--publicly (Tuesday’s). That hurt! Worse than the Roman
soldiers’ beating Him.

<bold>*</bold> The Son of God, “our” Guest on planet earth, the “Owner
of the vineyard,” is arrested and handcuffed like a common criminal
running from the police (Thursday’s).

This last week is insults and torture for Jesus. It’s no fun to face
and endure the open hostility of His own people. Is there a connection
with the question from last week’s Lesson? Repeatedly Ellen White
informs us that “our” resistance and rejection of “a most precious
message” sent from Heaven was “just like the Jews” in their resistance
and rejection of Jesus. [See note below.] A Bridegroom deeply
disappointed and frustrated. (What we don’t realize is how much He
loves His Bride-to-be, that “where [He is we] may be also,” John

<bold>But oh! The love that Jesus revealed during that last week!

</bold>The story of the Last Supper melts the hearts of even pagans.

The story of Gethsemane, rightly appreciated, melts the even harder
hearts of Laodicea. We learn to call the Father of Jesus our “Abba,
Father” (Rom. 8:15). Intimate, close, tender, never-failing. In
sympathy with Him!

Take that forward step in faith, and you will enjoy the peace of
reconciliation with Him forever after.

<flushright>—<italic>Robert J. Wieland</italic>


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