The Last Journey From Galilee
[This chapter is based on Luke 9:51-56; 10:1-24.]
As the close of His ministry drew near, there was a change in
Christ's manner of labor. Heretofore He had sought to shun excitement
and publicity. He had refused the homage of the people, and had passed
quickly from place to place when the popular enthusiasm in His favor
seemed kindling beyond control. Again and again He had commanded that
none should declare Him to be the Christ.
At the time of the Feast of Tabernacles His journey to Jerusalem was
made swiftly and secretly. When urged by His brothers to present Himself
publicly as the Messiah, His answer was, "My time is not yet
come." John 7:6. He made His way to Jerusalem unobserved, and
entered the city unannounced, and unhonored by the multitude. But not so
with His last journey. He had left Jerusalem for a season because of the
malice of the priests and rabbis. But He now set out to return,
traveling in the most public manner, by a circuitous route, and preceded
by such an announcement of His coming as He had never made before. He
was going forward to the scene of His great sacrifice, and to this the
attention of the people must be directed.
"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must
the Son of man be lifted up." John 3:14. As the eyes of all Israel
had been directed to the uplifted serpent, the symbol appointed for
their healing, so all eyes must be drawn to Christ, the sacrifice that
brought salvation to the lost world.
It was a false conception of the Messiah's work, and a lack of faith
in the divine character of Jesus, that had led His brothers to urge Him
to present Himself publicly to the people at the Feast of Tabernacles.
Now, in a spirit akin to this, the disciples would have prevented Him
from making the journey to Jerusalem. They remembered His words
concerning what was to befall Him there, they knew the deadly hostility
of the religious leaders, and they would fain have dissuaded their
Master from going thither.
To the heart of Christ it was a bitter task to press His way against
the fears, disappointment, and unbelief of His beloved disciples. It was
hard to lead them forward to the anguish and despair that awaited them
at Jerusalem. And Satan was at hand to press his temptations upon the
Son of man. Why should He now go to Jerusalem, to certain death? All
around Him were souls hungering for the bread of life. On every hand
were suffering ones waiting for His word of healing. The work to be
wrought by the gospel of His grace was but just begun. And He was full
of the vigor of manhood's prime. Why not go forward to the vast fields
of the world with the words of His grace, the touch of His healing
power? Why not take to Himself the joy of giving light and gladness to
those darkened and sorrowing millions? Why leave the harvest gathering
to His disciples, so weak in faith, so dull of understanding, so slow to
act? Why face death now, and leave the work in its infancy? The foe who
in the wilderness had confronted Christ assailed Him now with fierce and
subtle temptations. Had Jesus yielded for a moment, had He changed His
course in the least particular to save Himself, Satan's agencies would
have triumphed, and the world would have been lost.
But Jesus had "steadfastly set His face to go to
Jerusalem." The one law of His life was the Father's will. In the
visit to the temple in His boyhood, He had said to Mary, "Wist ye
not that I must be about My Father's business?" Luke 2:49. At Cana,
when Mary desired Him to reveal His miraculous power, His answer was,
"Mine hour is not yet come." John 2:4. With the same words He
replied to His brothers when they urged Him to go to the feast. But in
God's great plan the hour had been appointed for the offering of Himself
for the sins of men, and that hour was soon to strike. He would not fail
nor falter. His steps are turned toward Jerusalem, where His foes have
long plotted to take His life; now He will lay it down. He set His face
steadfastly to go to persecution, denial, rejection, condemnation, and
And He "sent messengers before His face: and they went, and
entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for Him."
But the people refused to receive Him, because He was on His way to
Jerusalem. This they interpreted as meaning that Christ showed a
preference for the Jews, whom they hated with intense bitterness. Had He
come to restore the temple and worship upon Mount Gerizim, they would
gladly have received Him; but He was going to Jerusalem, and they would
show Him no hospitality. Little did they realize that they were turning
from their doors the best gift of heaven. Jesus invited men to receive
Him, He asked favors at their hands, that He might come near to them, to
bestow the richest blessings. For every favor manifested toward Him, He
requited a more precious grace. But all was lost to the Samaritans
because of their prejudice and bigotry.
James and John, Christ's messengers, were greatly annoyed at the
insult shown to their Lord. They were filled with indignation because He
had been so rudely treated by the Samaritans whom He was honoring by His
presence. They had recently been with Him on the mount of
transfiguration, and had seen Him glorified by God, and honored by Moses
and Elijah. This manifest dishonor on the part of the Samaritans, should
not, they thought, be passed over without marked punishment.
Coming to Christ, they reported to Him the words of the people,
telling Him that they had even refused to give Him a night's lodging.
They thought that a grievous wrong had been done Him, and seeing Mount
Carmel in the distance, where Elijah had slain the false prophets, they
said, "Wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and
consume them, even as Elias did?" They were surprised to see that
Jesus was pained by their words, and still more surprised as His rebuke
fell upon their ears, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save
them." And He went to another village.
It is no part of Christ's mission to compel men to receive Him. It is
Satan, and men actuated by his spirit, that seek to compel the
conscience. Under a pretense of zeal for righteousness, men who are
confederate with evil angels bring suffering upon their fellow men, in
order to convert them to their ideas of religion; but Christ is ever
showing mercy, ever seeking to win by the revealing of His love. He can
admit no rival in the soul, nor accept of partial service; but He
desires only voluntary service, the willing surrender of the heart under
the constraint of love. There can be no more conclusive evidence that we
possess the spirit of Satan than the disposition to hurt and destroy
those who do not appreciate our work, or who act contrary to our ideas.
Every human being, in body, soul, and spirit, is the property of God.
Christ died to redeem all. Nothing can be more offensive to God than for
men, through religious bigotry, to bring suffering upon those who are
the purchase of the Saviour's blood.
"And He arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judea
by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto Him again;
and, as He was wont, He taught them again." Mark 10:1.
A considerable part of the closing months of Christ's ministry was
spent in Perea, the province on "the farther side of Jordan"
from Judea. Here the multitude thronged His steps, as in His early
ministry in Galilee, and much of His former teaching was repeated.
As He had sent out the twelve, so He "appointed seventy others,
and sent them two and two before His face into every city and place,
whither He Himself was about to come." Luke 10:1, R. V. These
disciples had been for some time with Him, in training for their work.
When the twelve were sent out on their first separate mission, other
disciples accompanied Jesus in His journey through Galilee. Thus they
had the privilege of intimate association with Him, and direct personal
instruction. Now this larger number also were to go forth on a separate
The directions to the seventy were similar to those that had been
given to the twelve; but the command to the twelve, not to enter into
any city of the Gentiles or of the Samaritans, was not given to the
seventy. Though Christ had just been repulsed by the Samaritans, His
love toward them was unchanged. When the seventy went forth in His name,
they visited, first of all, the cities of Samaria.
The Saviour's own visit to Samaria, and later, the commendation of
the good Samaritan, and the grateful joy of that leper, a Samaritan, who
alone of the ten returned to give thanks to Christ, were full of
significance to the disciples. The lesson sank deep into their hearts.
In His commission to them, just before His ascension, Jesus mentioned
Samaria with Jerusalem and Judea as the places where they were first to
preach the gospel. This commission His teaching had prepared them to
fulfill. When in their Master's name they went to Samaria, they found
the people ready to receive them. The Samaritans had heard of Christ's
words of commendation and His works of mercy for men of their nation.
They saw that, notwithstanding their rude treatment of Him, He had only
thoughts of love toward them, and their hearts were won. After His
ascension they welcomed the Saviour's messengers, and the disciples
gathered a precious harvest from among those who had once been their
"A bruised reed shall He not break, and the dimly burning flax
shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth."
"And in His name shall the Gentiles trust." Isa. 42:3, margin;
In sending out the seventy, Jesus bade them, as He had bidden the
twelve, not to urge their presence where they were unwelcome. "Into
whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not," He said,
"go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the
very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against
you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come
nigh unto you." They were not to do this from motives of resentment
or through wounded dignity, but to show how grievous a thing it is to
refuse the Lord's message or His messengers. To reject the Lord's
servants is to reject Christ Himself.
"I say unto you," Jesus added, "that it shall be more
tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city." Then His mind
reverted to the Galilean towns where so much of His ministry had been
spent. In deeply sorrowful accents He exclaimed, "Woe unto thee,
Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been
done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great
while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more
tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. And thou,
Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to
To those busy towns about the Sea of Galilee, heaven's richest
blessings had been freely offered. Day after day the Prince of life had
gone in and out among them. The glory of God, which prophets and kings
had longed to see, had shone upon the multitudes that thronged the
Saviour's steps. Yet they had refused the heavenly Gift.
With a great show of prudence the rabbis had warned the people
against receiving the new doctrines taught by this new teacher; for His
theories and practices were contrary to the teachings of the fathers.
The people gave credence to what the priests and Pharisees taught, in
place of seeking to understand the word of God for themselves. They
honored the priests and rulers instead of honoring God, and rejected the
truth that they might keep their own traditions. Many had been impressed
and almost persuaded; but they did not act upon their convictions, and
were not reckoned on the side of Christ. Satan presented his
temptations, until the light appeared as darkness. Thus many rejected
the truth that would have proved the saving of the soul.
The True Witness says, "Behold, I stand at the door, and
knock." Rev. 3:20. Every warning, reproof, and entreaty in the word
of God or through His messengers is a knock at the door of the heart. It
is the voice of Jesus asking for entrance. With every knock unheeded,
the disposition to open becomes weaker. The impressions of the Holy
Spirit if disregarded today, will not be as strong tomorrow. The heart
becomes less impressible, and lapses into a perilous unconsciousness of
the shortness of life, and of the great eternity beyond. Our
condemnation in the judgment will not result from the fact that we have
been in error, but from the fact that we have neglected heaven-sent
opportunities for learning what is truth.
Like the apostles, the seventy had received supernatural endowments
as a seal of their mission. When their work was completed, they returned
with joy, saying, "Lord, even the devils are subject unto us
through Thy name." Jesus answered, "I beheld Satan as
lightning fall from heaven."
The scenes of the past and the future were presented to the mind of
Jesus. He beheld Lucifer as he was first cast out from the heavenly
places. He looked forward to the scenes of His own agony, when before
all the worlds the character of the deceiver should be unveiled. He
heard the cry, "It is finished" (John 19:30), announcing that
the redemption of the lost race was forever made certain, that heaven
was made eternally secure against the accusations, the deceptions, the
pretensions, that Satan would instigate.
Beyond the cross of Calvary, with its agony and shame, Jesus looked
forward to the great final day, when the prince of the power of the air
will meet his destruction in the earth so long marred by his rebellion.
Jesus beheld the work of evil forever ended, and the peace of God
filling heaven and earth.
Henceforward Christ's followers were to look upon Satan as a
conquered foe. Upon the cross, Jesus was to gain the victory for them;
that victory He desired them to accept as their own. "Behold,"
He said, "I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions,
and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt
The omnipotent power of the Holy Spirit is the defense of every
contrite soul. Not one that in penitence and faith has claimed His
protection will Christ permit to pass under the enemy's power. The
Saviour is by the side of His tempted and tried ones. With Him there can
be no such thing as failure, loss, impossibility, or defeat; we can do
all things through Him who strengthens us. When temptations and trials
come, do not wait to adjust all the difficulties, but look to Jesus,
There are Christians who think and speak altogether too much about
the power of Satan. They think of their adversary, they pray about him,
they talk about him, and he looms up greater and greater in their
imagination. It is true that Satan is a powerful being; but, thank God,
we have a mighty Saviour, who cast out the evil one from heaven. Satan
is pleased when we magnify his power. Why not talk of Jesus? Why not
magnify His power and His love?
The rainbow of promise encircling the throne on high is an
everlasting testimony that "God so loved the world, that He gave
His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not
perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. It testifies to the
universe that God will never forsake His people in their struggle with
evil. It is an assurance to us of strength and protection as long as the
throne itself shall endure.
Jesus added, "Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the
spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are
written in heaven." Rejoice not in the possession of power, lest
you lose sight of your dependence upon God. Be careful lest
self-sufficiency come in, and you work in your own strength, rather than
in the spirit and strength of your Master. Self is ever ready to take
the credit if any measure of success attends the work. Self is flattered
and exalted, and the impression is not made upon other minds that God is
all and in all. The apostle Paul says, "When I am weak, then am I
strong." 2 Cor. 12:10. When we have a realization of our weakness,
we learn to depend upon a power not inherent. Nothing can take so strong
a hold on the heart as the abiding sense of our responsibility to God.
Nothing reaches so fully down to the deepest motives of conduct as a
sense of the pardoning love of Christ. We are to come in touch with God,
then we shall be imbued with His Holy Spirit, that enables us to come in
touch with our fellow men. Then rejoice that through Christ you have
become connected with God, members of the heavenly family. While you
look higher than yourself, you will have a continual sense of the
weakness of humanity. The less you cherish self, the more distinct and
full will be your comprehension of the excellence of your Saviour. The
more closely you connect yourself with the source of light and power,
the greater light will be shed upon you, and the greater power will be
yours to work for God. Rejoice that you are one with God, one with
Christ, and with the whole family of heaven.
As the seventy listened to the words of Christ, the Holy Spirit was
impressing their minds with living realities, and writing truth upon the
tablets of the soul. Though multitudes surrounded them, they were as
though shut in with God.
Knowing that they had caught the inspiration of the hour, Jesus
"rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of
heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and
prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it
seemed good in Thy sight. All things are delivered to Me of My Father:
and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father, and who the Father
is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him."
The honored men of the world, the so-called great and wise men, with
all their boasted wisdom, could not comprehend the character of Christ.
They judged Him from outward appearance, from the humiliation that came
upon Him as a human being. But to fishermen and publicans it had been
given to see the Invisible. Even the disciples failed of understanding
all that Jesus desired to reveal to them; but from time to time, as they
surrendered themselves to the Holy Spirit's power, their minds were
illuminated. They realized that the mighty God, clad in the garb of
humanity, was among them. Jesus rejoiced that though this knowledge was
not possessed by the wise and prudent, it had been revealed to these
humble men. Often as He had presented the Old Testament Scriptures, and
showed their application to Himself and His work of atonement, they had
been awakened by His Spirit, and lifted into a heavenly atmosphere. Of
the spiritual truths spoken by the prophets they had a clearer
understanding than had the original writers themselves. Hereafter they
would read the Old Testament Scriptures, not as the doctrines of the
scribes and Pharisees, not as the utterances of wise men who were dead,
but as a new revelation from God. They beheld Him "whom the world
cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye
know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." John
The only way in which we can gain a more perfect apprehension of
truth is by keeping the heart tender and subdued by the Spirit of
Christ. The soul must be cleansed from vanity and pride, and vacated of
all that has held it in possession, and Christ must be enthroned within.
Human science is too limited to comprehend the atonement. The plan of
redemption is so far-reaching that philosophy cannot explain it. It will
ever remain a mystery that the most profound reasoning cannot fathom.
The science of salvation cannot be explained; but it can be known by
experience. Only he who sees his own sinfulness can discern the
preciousness of the Saviour.
Full of instruction were the lessons which Christ taught as He slowly
made His way from Galilee toward Jerusalem. Eagerly the people listened
to His words. In Perea as in Galilee the people were less under the
control of Jewish bigotry than in Judea, and His teaching found a
response in their hearts.
During these last months of His ministry, many of Christ's parables
were spoken. The priests and rabbis pursued Him with ever-increasing
bitterness, and His warnings to them He veiled in symbols. They could
not mistake His meaning, yet they could find in His words nothing on
which to ground an accusation against Him. In the parable of the
Pharisee and the publican, the self-sufficient prayer, "God, I
thank Thee that I am not as the rest of men," stood out in sharp
contrast to the penitent's plea, "Be merciful to me the
sinner." Luke 18:11, 13, R. V., margin. Thus Christ rebuked the
hypocrisy of the Jews. And under the figures of the barren fig tree and
the great supper He foretold the doom about to fall upon the impenitent
nation. Those who had scornfully rejected the invitation to the gospel
feast heard His warning words: "I say unto you, That none of those
men which were bidden shall taste of My supper." Luke 14:24.
Very precious was the instruction given to the disciples. The parable
of the importunate widow and the friend asking for bread at midnight
gave new force to His words, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek,
and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." Luke
11:9. And often their wavering faith was strengthened by the memory that
Christ had said, "Shall not God do justice for His elect, which cry
to Him day and night, and He is long-suffering over them? I say unto
you, that He will do them justice speedily." Luke 18:7, 8, R. V.,
The beautiful parable of the lost sheep Christ repeated. And He
carried its lesson still farther, as He told of the lost piece of silver
and the prodigal son. The force of these lessons the disciples could not
then fully appreciate; but after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as
they saw the ingathering of the Gentiles and the envious anger of the
Jews, they better understood the lesson of the prodigal son, and could
enter into the joy of Christ's words, "It was meet that we should
make merry, and be glad;" "for this my son was dead, and is
alive again; he was lost, and is found." Luke 15:32, 24. And as
they went out in their Master's name, facing reproach and poverty and
persecution, they often strengthened their hearts by repeating His
injunction, spoken on this last journey, "Fear not, little flock;
for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that
ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a
treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth,
neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your
heart be also." Luke 12:32-34.
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