WHAT TECHNIQUE DID JESUS USE TO DISPELL DARKNESS?
Last time we looked at the moral darkness of the world when Jesus was born. How did He go about to dispel this thick midnight darkness caused by the skilful prince of darkness, the devil?
LET’S BEGIN WITH HIS EDUCATION
The schools of His time, with their magnifying of things small and their belittling of things great, He did not seek. His education was gained directly from the Heaven-appointed sources; from useful work, from the study of the Scriptures and of nature, and from the experiences of life—God’s lesson books, full of instruction to all who bring to them the willing hand, the seeing eye, and the understanding heart.
“The Child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him.” Luke 2:40.
Thus prepared, He went forth to His mission, in every moment of His contact with men exerting upon them an influence to bless, a power to transform, such as the world had never witnessed.
He who seeks to transform humanity must himself understand humanity. Only through sympathy, faith, and love can men be reached and uplifted. Here Christ stands revealed as the master teacher; of all that ever dwelt on the earth, He alone has perfect understanding of the human soul.
Listen what the epistle of Hebrews write about His understanding of mankind:
“We have not a high priest”—master teacher, for the priests were teachers—“we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but One that hath been in all points tempted like as we are.” Hebrews 4:15, R.V.
“In that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted.” Hebrews 2:18.
Christ alone had experience in all the sorrows and temptations that befall human beings. Never another of woman born was so fiercely beset by temptation; never another bore so heavy a burden of the world’s sin and pain.
Never was there another whose sympathies were so broad or so tender. A sharer in all the experiences of humanity, He could feel not only for, but with, every burdened and tempted and struggling one.
What He taught, He lived. “I have given you an example,” He said to His disciples; “that ye should do as I have done.” “I have kept My Father’s commandments.” John 13:15; 15:10.
Thus in His life, Christ’s words had perfect illustration and support. And more than this; what He taught, He was. His words were the expression, not only of His own life experience, but of His own character. Not only did He teach the truth, but He was the truth. It was this that gave His teaching, power.
Christ was a faithful reprover. Never lived there another who so hated evil; never another whose denunciation of it was so fearless. To all things untrue and base His very presence was a rebuke. In the light of His purity, men saw themselves unclean, their life’s aims, mean and false.
Yet He drew them. He who had created man, understood the value of humanity. Evil He denounced as the foe of those whom He was seeking to bless and to save. In every human being, however fallen, He beheld a son of God, one who might be restored to the privilege of his divine relationship.
“God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17. Looking upon men in their suffering and degradation, Christ perceived ground for hope where appeared only despair and ruin.
Wherever there existed a sense of need, there He saw opportunity for uplifting. Souls tempted, defeated, feeling themselves lost, ready to perish, He met, not with denunciation, but with blessing.
The beatitudes were His greeting to the whole human family. Looking upon the vast throng gathered to listen to the Sermon on the Mount, He seemed for the moment to have forgotten that He was not in heaven, and He used the familiar salutation of the world of light. From His lips flowed blessings as the gushing forth of a long-sealed fountain.
Turning from the ambitious, self-satisfied favourites of this world, He declared that those were blessed who, however great their need, would receive His light and love. To the poor in spirit, the sorrowing, the persecuted, He stretched out His arms, saying, “Come unto Me, … and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.
In every human being He discerned infinite possibilities. He saw men as they might be, transfigured by His grace—in “the beauty of the Lord our God.” Psalm 90:17. Looking upon them with hope, He inspired hope. Meeting them with confidence, He inspired trust.
Revealing in Himself man’s true ideal, He awakened, for its attainment, both desire and faith. In His presence souls despised and fallen realized that they still were men, and they longed to prove themselves worthy of His regard. In many a heart that seemed dead to all things holy, were awakened new impulses. To many a despairing one there opened the possibility of a new life.
Christ bound them to His heart by the ties of love and devotion; and by the same ties He bound them to their fellow men. With Him love was life, and life was service. “Freely ye have received,” He said, “freely give.” Matthew 10:8.
It was not on the cross only that Christ sacrificed Himself for humanity. As He “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38), every day’s experience was an outpouring of His life. In one way only could such a life be sustained. Jesus lived in dependence upon God and communion with Him.
To the secret place of the Most High, under the shadow of the Almighty, men now and then come. They only abide for a while, and the result is manifest in noble deeds.
But then their faith fails, communion is interrupted, the lifework marred. But the life of Jesus was a life of constant trust, sustained by continual communion; and His service for heaven and earth was without failure or faltering.
As a man He supplicated the throne of God, till His humanity was charged with a heavenly current that connected humanity with divinity. Receiving life from God, He imparted life to men.
“Never man spoke like this Man.” John 7:46. This would have been true of Christ had He taught only in the realm of the physical and the intellectual, or in matters of theory and speculation solely.
He might have unlocked mysteries that have required centuries of toil and study to penetrate. He might have made suggestions in scientific lines that, till the close of time, would have afforded food for thought and stimulus for invention. But He did not do this. He said nothing to gratify curiosity or to stimulate selfish ambition.
He did not deal in abstract theories, but in that which is essential to the development of character; that which will enlarge man’s capacity for knowing God, and increase his power to do good. He spoke of those truths that relate to the conduct of life and that unite man with eternity.
Instead of directing the people to study men’s theories about God, His word, or His works, He taught them to behold Him, as manifested in His works, in His word, and by His providences. He brought their minds in contact with the mind of the Infinite.
The people “were astonished at His teaching (R.V.), for His word was with power.” Luke 4:32. Never before spoke one who had such power to awaken thought, to kindle aspiration, to arouse every capability of body, mind, and soul.
Christ’s teaching, like His sympathies, embraced the world. Never can there be a circumstance of life, a crisis in human experience, which has not been anticipated in His teaching, and for which its principles have not a lesson. The Prince of teachers, His words will be found a guide to His co-workers till the end of time.
To Him the present and the future, the near and the far, were one. He had in view the needs of all mankind. Before His mind’s eye was outspread every scene of human effort and achievement, of temptation and conflict, of perplexity and peril. All hearts, all homes, all pleasures and joys and aspirations, were known to Him.
He spoke not only for, but to, all mankind. To the little child, in the gladness of life’s morning; to the eager, restless heart of youth; to men in the strength of their years, bearing the burden of responsibility and care; to the aged in their weakness and weariness,—to all, His message was spoken,—to every child of humanity, in every land and in every age.
In His teaching were embraced the things of time and the things of eternity—things seen, in their relation to things unseen, the passing incidents of common life and the solemn issues of the life to come.
The things of this life He placed in their true relation, as subordinate to those of eternal interest; but He did not ignore their importance. He taught that Heaven and earth are linked together, and that a knowledge of divine truth prepares man better to perform the duties of daily life.
To Him nothing was without purpose. The sports of the child, the toils of the man, life’s pleasures and cares and pains, all were means to the end—the revelation of God for the uplifting of humanity.
From His lips the word of God came home to men’s hearts with new power and new meaning. His teaching caused the things of creation to stand out in new light. Upon the face of nature once more rested gleaming’s of that brightness which sin had banished.
Four thousands years ago God visited this planet and communicated with Adam and Eve.
When they choose obey the Serpent rather than their loving heavenly Father, direct communication ceased.
In all the facts and experiences of life were revealed a divine lesson and the possibility of divine companionship. Again, God dwelt on earth; human hearts became conscious of His presence; the world was encompassed with His love. Heaven came down to men. In Christ their hearts acknowledged Him who opened to them the science of eternity—
“Immanuel, … God with us.”
In the Teacher sent from God, all true educational work finds its center. Of this work today as verily as of the work He established eighteen hundred years ago, the Saviour speaks in the words—
“I am the First and the Last, and the Living One.”
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” Revelation 1:17, 18, R.V.; 21:6, R.V.
In the presence of such a Teacher, of such opportunity for divine education, what worse than folly is it to seek an education apart from Him—to seek to be wise apart from Wisdom; to be true while rejecting Truth; to seek illumination apart from the Light, and existence without the Life; to turn from the Fountain of living waters, and hew out broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
Behold, He is still inviting: “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said,” out of him “shall flow rivers of living water.” “The water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life.” John 7:37, 38; 4:14, R.V.
WHAT TECHNIQUE DID JESUS USE TO DISPELL DARKNESS?