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Luke 3:23

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Thirty years of age - This was the age required by the law, to which the priests must arrive before they could be installed in their office: see Numbers 4:3.

Being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph - This same phrase is used by Herodotus to signify one who was only reputed to be the son of a particular person: τουτου παις νομιζεται he was Supposed to be this man's son. Much learned labor has been used to reconcile this genealogy with that in St. Matthew, Matthew 1:1-17, and there are several ways of doing it; the following, which appears to me to be the best, is also the most simple and easy. For a more elaborate discussion of the subject, the reader is referred to the additional observations at the end of the chapter. Matthew, in descending from Abraham to Joseph, the spouse of the blessed virgin, speaks of Sons properly such, by way of natural generation: Abraham begat Isaac, and Isaac begat Jacob, etc. But Luke, in ascending from the Savior of the world to God himself, speaks of sons either properly or improperly such: on this account he uses an indeterminate mode of expression, which may be applied to sons either putatively or really such. And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being, as was Supposed the son of Joseph - of Heli - of Matthat, etc. This receives considerable support from Raphelius's method of reading the original ων (ὡς ενομιζετο υἱος Ιωσηφ )του Ἡλι, being (when reputed the son of Joseph) the son of Heli, etc. That St. Luke does not always speak of sons properly such, is evident from the first and last person which he names: Jesus Christ was only the supposed son of Joseph, because Joseph was the husband of his mother Mary: and Adam, who is said to be the son of God, was such only by creation. After this observation it is next necessary to consider, that, in the genealogy described by St. Luke, there are two sons improperly such: i.e. two sons-in-law, instead of two sons. As the Hebrews never permitted women to enter into their genealogical tables, whenever a family happened to end with a daughter, instead of naming her in the genealogy, they inserted her husband, as the son of him who was, in reality, but his father-in-law. This import, bishop Pearce has fully shown, νομιζεσθαι bears, in a variety of places - Jesus was considered according to law, or allowed custom, to be the son of Joseph, as he was of Heli. The two sons-in-law who are to be noticed in this genealogy are Joseph the son-in-law of Heli, whose own father was Jacob, Matthew 1:16; and Salathiel, the son-in-law of Neri, whose own father was Jechonias: 1 Chronicles 3:17, and Matthew 1:12. This remark alone is sufficient to remove every difficulty. Thus it appears that Joseph, son of Jacob, according to St. Matthew, was son-in-law of Heli, according to St. Luke. And Salathiel, son of Jechonias, according to the former, was son-in-law of Neri, according to the latter. Mary therefore appears to have been the daughter of Heli; so called by abbreviation for Heliachim, which is the same in Hebrew with Joachim. Joseph, son of Jacob, and Mary; daughter of Heli, were of the same family: both came from Zerubbabel; Joseph from Abiud, his eldest son, Matthew 1:13, and Mary by Rhesa, the youngest. See Luke 3:27. Salathiel and Zorobabel, from whom St. Matthew and St. Luke cause Christ to proceed, were themselves descended from Solomon in a direct line: and though St. Luke says that Salathiel was son of Neri, who was descended from Nathan, Solomon's eldest brother, 1 Chronicles 3:5, this is only to be understood of his having espoused Nathan's daughter, and that Neri dying, probably, without male issues the two branches of the family of David, that of Nathan and that of Solomon, were both united in the person of Zerubbabel, by the marriage of Salathiel, chief of the regal family of Solomon, with the daughter of Neri, chief and heretrix of the family of Nathan. Thus it appears that Jesus, son of Mary, reunited in himself all the blood, privileges, and rights of the whole family of David; in consequence of which he is emphatically called, The son of David. It is worthy of being remarked that St. Matthew, who wrote principally for the Jews, extends his genealogy to Abraham through whom the promise of the Messiah was given to the Jews; but St. Luke, who wrote his history for the instruction of the Gentiles, extends his genealogy to Adam, to whom the promise of the Redeemer was given in behalf of himself and of all his posterity. See the notes on Matthew 1:1, etc.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Jesus began to be … - This was the age at which the priests entered on their office, Numbers 4:3, Numbers 4:47; but it is not evident that Jesus had any reference to that in delaying his work to his thirtieth year. He was not subjected to the Levitical law in regard to the priesthood, and it does not appear that prophets and teachers did not commence their work before that age.

As was supposed - As was commonly thought, or perhaps being legally reckoned as his son.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Matthew's list of the forefathers of Jesus showed that Christ was the son of Abraham, in whom all the families of the earth are blessed, and heir to the throne of David; but Luke shows that Jesus was the Seed of the woman that should break the serpent's head, and traces the line up to Adam, beginning with Eli, or Heli, the father, not of Joseph, but of Mary. The seeming differences between the two evangelists in these lists of names have been removed by learned men. But our salvation does not depend upon our being able to solve these difficulties, nor is the Divine authority of the Gospels at all weakened by them. The list of names ends thus, "Who was the son of Adam, the son of God;" that is, the offspring of God by creation. Christ was both the son of Adam and the Son of God, that he might be a proper Mediator between God and the sons of Adam, and might bring the sons of Adam to be, through him, the sons of God. All flesh, as descended from the first Adam, is as grass, and withers as the flower of the field; but he who partakes of the Holy Spirit of life from the Second Adam, has that eternal happiness, which by the gospel is preached unto us.
Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 410

To accept this conclusion was to renounce the former reckoning of the prophetic periods. The 2300 days had been found to begin when the commandment of Artaxerxes for the restoration and building of Jerusalem went into effect, in the autumn of 457 B.C. Taking this as the starting point, there was perfect harmony in the application of all the events foretold in the explanation of that period in Daniel 9:25-27. Sixty-nine weeks, the first 483 of the 2300 years, were to reach to the Messiah, the Anointed One; and Christ's baptism and anointing by the Holy Spirit, A.D. 27, exactly fulfilled the specification. In the midst of the seventieth week, Messiah was to be cut off. Three and a half years after His baptism, Christ was crucified, in the spring of A.D. 31. The seventy weeks, or 490 years, were to pertain especially to the Jews. At the expiration of this period the nation sealed its rejection of Christ by the persecution of His disciples, and the apostles turned to the Gentiles, A.D. 34. The first 490 years of the 2300 having then ended, 1810 years would remain. From A.D. 34, 1810 years extend to 1844. “Then,” said the angel, “shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” All the preceding specifications of the prophecy had been unquestionably fulfilled at the time appointed. GC 410.1

With this reckoning, all was clear and harmonious, except that it was not seen that any event answering to the cleansing of the sanctuary had taken place in 1844. To deny that the days ended at that time was to involve the whole question in confusion, and to renounce positions which had been established by unmistakable fulfillments of prophecy. GC 410.2

But God had led His people in the great advent movement; His power and glory had attended the work, and He would not permit it to end in darkness and disappointment, to be reproached as a false and fanatical excitement. He would not leave His word involved in doubt and uncertainty. Though many abandoned their former reckoning of the prophetic periods and denied the correctness of the movement based thereon, others were unwilling to renounce points of faith and experience that were sustained by the Scriptures and by the witness of the Spirit of God. They believed that they had adopted sound principles of interpretation in their study of the prophecies, and that it was their duty to hold fast the truths already gained, and to continue the same course of Biblical research. With earnest prayer they reviewed their position and studied the Scriptures to discover their mistake. As they could see no error in their reckoning of the prophetic periods, they were led to examine more closely the subject of the sanctuary. GC 410.3

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Ellen G. White
Child Guidance, 359

Jesus, in His thirty years of seclusion at Nazareth, toiled and rested, ate and slept, from week to week and from year to year, the same as His humble contemporaries. He called no attention to Himself as a marked personage; yet He was the world's Redeemer, the adored of angels, doing, all the time, His Father's work, living out a lesson that should remain for humanity to copy to the end of time. CG 359.1

This essential lesson of contented industry in the necessary duties of life, however humble, is yet to be learned by the greater portion of Christ's followers. If there is no human eye to criticize our work, nor voice to praise or blame, it should be done just as well as if the Infinite One Himself were personally to inspect it. We should be as faithful in the minor details of our business as we would in the larger affairs of life.12 CG 359.2

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 66

This act of cruelty was one of the last that darkened the reign of Herod. Soon after the slaughter of the innocents, he was himself compelled to yield to that doom which none can turn aside. He died a fearful death. DA 66.1

Joseph, who was still in Egypt, was now bidden by an angel of God to return to the land of Israel. Regarding Jesus as the heir of David's throne, Joseph desired to make his home in Bethlehem; but learning that Archelaus reigned in Judea in his father's stead, he feared that the father's designs against Christ might be carried out by the son. Of all the sons of Herod, Archelaus most resembled him in character. Already his succession to the government had been marked by a tumult in Jerusalem, and the slaughter of thousands of Jews by the Roman guards. DA 66.2

Again Joseph was directed to a place of safety. He returned to Nazareth, his former home, and here for nearly thirty years Jesus dwelt, “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.” Galilee was under the control of a son of Herod, but it had a much larger admixture of foreign inhabitants than Judea. Thus there was less interest in matters relating especially to the Jews, and the claims of Jesus would be less likely to excite the jealousy of those in power. DA 66.3

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 82

Jesus did not ignore His relation to His earthly parents. From Jerusalem He returned home with them, and aided them in their life of toil. He hid in His own heart the mystery of His mission, waiting submissively for the appointed time for Him to enter upon His work. For eighteen years after He had recognized that He was the Son of God, He acknowledged the tie that bound Him to the home at Nazareth, and performed the duties of a son, a brother, a friend, and a citizen. DA 82.1

As His mission had opened to Jesus in the temple, He shrank from contact with the multitude. He wished to return from Jerusalem in quietness, with those who knew the secret of His life. By the paschal service, God was seeking to call His people away from their worldly cares, and to remind them of His wonderful work in their deliverance from Egypt. In this work He desired them to see a promise of deliverance from sin. As the blood of the slain lamb sheltered the homes of Israel, so the blood of Christ was to save their souls; but they could be saved through Christ only as by faith they should make His life their own. There was virtue in the symbolic service only as it directed the worshipers to Christ as their personal Saviour. God desired that they should be led to prayerful study and meditation in regard to Christ's mission. But as the multitudes left Jerusalem, the excitement of travel and social intercourse too often absorbed their attention, and the service they had witnessed was forgotten. The Saviour was not attracted to their company. DA 82.2

As Joseph and Mary should return from Jerusalem alone with Jesus, He hoped to direct their minds to the prophecies of the suffering Saviour. Upon Calvary He sought to lighten His mother's grief. He was thinking of her now. Mary was to witness His last agony, and Jesus desired her to understand His mission, that she might be strengthened to endure, when the sword should pierce through her soul. As Jesus had been separated from her, and she had sought Him sorrowing three days, so when He should be offered up for the sins of the world, He would again be lost to her for three days. And as He should come forth from the tomb, her sorrow would again be turned to joy. But how much better she could have borne the anguish of His death if she had understood the Scriptures to which He was now trying to turn her thoughts! DA 82.3

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 133

This body was made up of members chosen from the priesthood, and from the chief rulers and teachers of the nation. The high priest was usually the president. All its members were to be men advanced in years, though not aged; men of learning, not only versed in Jewish religion and history, but in general knowledge. They were to be without physical blemish, and must be married men, and fathers, as being more likely than others to be humane and considerate. Their place of meeting was an apartment connected with the temple at Jerusalem. In the days of Jewish independence the Sanhedrin was the supreme court of the nation, possessing secular as well as ecclesiastical authority. Though now subordinated by the Roman governors, it still exercised a strong influence in civil as well as religious matters. DA 133.1

The Sanhedrin could not well defer an investigation of John's work. There were some who recalled the revelation made to Zacharias in the temple, and the father's prophecy, that had pointed to his child as the Messiah's herald. In the tumults and changes of thirty years, these things had in a great measure been lost sight of. They were now called to mind by the excitement concerning the ministry of John. DA 133.2

It was long since Israel had had a prophet, long since such a reformation as was now in progress had been witnessed. The demand for confession of sin seemed new and startling. Many among the leaders would not go to hear John's appeals and denunciations, lest they should be led to disclose the secrets of their own lives. Yet his preaching was a direct announcement of the Messiah. It was well known that the seventy weeks of Daniel's prophecy, covering the Messiah's advent, were nearly ended; and all were eager to share in that era of national glory which was then expected. Such was the popular enthusiasm that the Sanhedrin would soon be forced either to sanction or to reject John's work. Already their power over the people was waning. It was becoming a serious question how to maintain their position. In the hope of arriving at some conclusion, they dispatched to the Jordan a deputation of priests and Levites to confer with the new teacher. DA 133.3

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 752

With amazement the angels beheld the infinite love of Jesus, who, suffering the most intense agony of mind and body, thought only of others, and encouraged the penitent soul to believe. In His humiliation He as a prophet had addressed the daughters of Jerusalem; as priest and advocate He had pleaded with the Father to forgive His murderers; as a loving Saviour He had forgiven the sins of the penitent thief. DA 752.1

As the eyes of Jesus wandered over the multitude about Him, one figure arrested His attention. At the foot of the cross stood His mother, supported by the disciple John. She could not endure to remain away from her Son; and John, knowing that the end was near, had brought her again to the cross. In His dying hour, Christ remembered His mother. Looking into her grief-stricken face and then upon John, He said to her, “Woman, behold thy son!” then to John, “Behold thy mother!” John understood Christ's words, and accepted the trust. He at once took Mary to his home, and from that hour cared for her tenderly. O pitiful, loving Saviour; amid all His physical pain and mental anguish, He had a thoughtful care for His mother! He had no money with which to provide for her comfort; but He was enshrined in the heart of John, and He gave His mother to him as a precious legacy. Thus He provided for her that which she most needed,—the tender sympathy of one who loved her because she loved Jesus. And in receiving her as a sacred trust, John was receiving a great blessing. She was a constant reminder of his beloved Master. DA 752.2

The perfect example of Christ's filial love shines forth with undimmed luster from the mist of ages. For nearly thirty years Jesus by His daily toil had helped bear the burdens of the home. And now, even in His last agony, He remembers to provide for His sorrowing, widowed mother. The same spirit will be seen in every disciple of our Lord. Those who follow Christ will feel that it is a part of their religion to respect and provide for their parents. From the heart where His love is cherished, father and mother will never fail of receiving thoughtful care and tender sympathy. DA 752.3

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Ellen G. White
Evangelism, 132

Not After the World's Manner—We are not to make the world's manner of dealing ours. We are to give to the world a nobler example, showing that our faith is of a high and elevated character.... Therefore, all odd notions and individual peculiarities and narrow plans that would give false impressions of the greatness of the work, should be avoided.—Letter 14, 1887. Ev 132.1

No Misrepresentation to Gain Favor—We are not to misrepresent what we profess to believe in order to gain favor. God despises misrepresentation and prevarication. He will not tolerate the man who says and does not. The best and noblest work is done by fair, honest dealing.—Letter 232, 1899. Ev 132.2

Christ Not Called Professor—It is not the seeking to climb to eminence that will make you great in God's sight, but it is the humble life of goodness, meekness, fidelity, and purity that will make you the object of the heavenly angels’ special guardianship. The pattern Man, who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, took upon Himself our nature and lived nearly thirty years in an obscure Galilean town, hidden among the hills. All the angel host was at His command; yet He did not claim to be anything great or exalted. He did not attach “Professor” to His name to please Himself. He was a carpenter, working for wages, a servant to those for whom He labored.—Letter 1, 1880. Ev 132.3

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 142

I entreat Christian mothers to realize their responsibility, and to live, not to please themselves, but to glorify God. Christ pleased not Himself, but took upon Him the form of a servant. He left the royal courts, and clothed His divinity with humanity, that by His own example He might teach us how we may be exalted to the position of sons and daughters in the royal family, children of the heavenly King. But what are the conditions upon which we may obtain this great blessing?—“Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters.” FE 142.1

Christ humbled Himself from the position of one equal with God to that of a servant. His home was in Nazareth, a place proverbial for its wickedness. His parents were among the lowly poor. His trade was that of a carpenter, and He labored with His hands to do His part in sustaining the family. For thirty years He was subject to His parents. The life of Christ points out our duty to be diligent in labor, and to provide for those intrusted to our care. FE 142.2

In His lessons of instruction to His disciples, Jesus taught them that His kingdom is not a worldly kingdom, where all are striving for the highest position; but He gave them lessons in humility and self-sacrifice for the good of others. His humility did not consist in a low estimate of His own character and qualifications, but in adapting Himself to fallen humanity, in order to raise them up with Him to a higher life. Yet how few see anything attractive in the humility of Christ! Worldlings are constantly striving to exalt themselves one above another; but Jesus, the Son of God, humbled Himself in order to uplift man. The true disciple of Christ will follow His example. Would that the mothers of this generation might feel the sacredness of their mission, not trying to vie with their wealthy neighbors in appearance, but seeking to honor God by the faithful performance of duty. If right principles in regard to temperance were implanted in the youth who are to form and mold society, there would be little necessity for temperance crusades. Firmness of character, moral control, would prevail, and in the strength of Jesus the temptations of these last days would be resisted. FE 142.3

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Ellen G. White
Messages to Young People, 255

The Bible presents a boundless field for the imagination, as much higher and more ennobling in character than the superficial creations of the unsanctified intellect as the heavens are higher than the earth. The inspired history of our race is placed in the hands of every individual. All may now begin their research. They may become acquainted with our first parents as they stood in Eden, in holy innocency, enjoying communion with God and sinless angels. They may trace the introduction of sin and its results upon the race, and follow, step by step, down the track of sacred history, as it records the disobedience and impenitence of man and the just retribution for sin. MYP 255.1

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Ellen G. White
The Ministry of Healing, 349

The restoration and uplifting of humanity begins in the home. The work of parents underlies every other. Society is composed of families, and is what the heads of families make it. Out of the heart are “the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23); and the heart of the community, of the church, and of the nation is the household. The well-being of society, the success of the church, the prosperity of the nation, depend upon home influences. MH 349.1

The importance and the opportunities of the home life are illustrated in the life of Jesus. He who came from heaven to be our example and teacher spent thirty years as a member of the household at Nazareth. Concerning these years the Bible record is very brief. No mighty miracles attracted the attention of the multitude. No eager throngs followed His steps or listened to His words. Yet during all these years He was fulfilling His divine mission. He lived as one of us, sharing the home life, submitting to its discipline, performing its duties, bearing its burdens. In the sheltering care of a humble home, participating in the experiences of our common lot, He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52. MH 349.2

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Ellen G. White
My Life Today, 56

The Fruit of the Holy Spirit

The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. Psalm 25:9 ML 56.1

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 1, 322

Voluntarily our divine Substitute bared His soul to the sword of justice, that we might not perish but have everlasting life. Said Christ, “I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:17, 18). No man of earth or angel of heaven could have paid the penalty for sin. Jesus was the only one who could save rebellious man. In Him divinity and humanity were combined, and this was what gave efficiency to the offering on Calvary's cross. At the cross mercy and truth met together, righteousness and peace kissed each other. 1SM 322.1

As the sinner looks upon the Saviour dying on Calvary, and realizes that the sufferer is divine, he asks why this great sacrifice was made, and the cross points to the holy law of God which has been transgressed. The death of Christ is an unanswerable argument as to the immutability and righteousness of the law. In prophesying of Christ, Isaiah says, “He will magnify the law, and make it honourable” (Isaiah 42:21). The law has no power to pardon the evildoer. Its office is to point out his defects, that he may realize his need of One who is mighty to save, his need of One who will become his substitute, his surety, his righteousness. Jesus meets the need of the sinner; for He has taken upon Him the sins of the transgressor. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). The Lord could have cut off the sinner, and utterly destroyed him; but the costlier plan was chosen. In His great love He provides hope for the hopeless, giving His only-begotten Son to bear the sins of the world. And since He has poured out all heaven in that one rich gift, He will withhold from man no needed aid that he may take the cup of salvation, and become an heir of God, joint heir with Christ. 1SM 323.1

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 2, 164

Heaven and earth are no wider apart today than when common men of common occupation met angels at noonday, or when on Bethlehem's plains shepherds heard the songs of the heavenly host as they watched their flocks by night. It is not the seeking to climb to eminence that will make you great in God's sight, but it is the humble life of goodness, of fidelity, that will make you the object of the heavenly angels’ special guardianship. The Pattern Man, who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, took upon Himself our nature, and lived nearly thirty years in an obscure Galilean town, hidden away among the hills. All the angel host was at His command, yet He did not claim to be anything great or exalted. He did not attach “Professor” to His name to please Himself. He was a carpenter, working for wages, a servant to those for whom He labored, showing that heaven may be very near us in the common walks of life, and that angels from the heavenly courts will take charge of the steps of those who come and go at God's command. 2SM 164.1

Oh, that the spirit of Christ might rest upon His professed followers! We must all be willing to work and toil, for this is the lesson Christ has given us in His life. If you had lived for God in common things, doing your work purely and faithfully when there was no one to say it was well done, you would not be in your present position. Your life you could make faithful by good words wisely spoken, by kind deeds thoughtfully done, by the daily manifestation of meekness, purity, and love. In view of all the light you have had, I fear you have made your final move. You have given Satan every advantage. 2SM 164.2

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (EGW), 1132

1, 2 (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 2:51; 4:1-13). Between the Temptation of Christ and the Marriage at Cana—There was to be a marriage in Cana of Galilee. The parties were relatives of Joseph and Mary. Christ knew of this family gathering, and that many influential persons would be brought together there, so, in company with His newly made disciples, He made His way to Cana. As soon as it was known that Jesus had come to the place, a special invitation was sent to Him and His friends. This was what He had purposed, and so He graced the feast with His presence. 5BC 1132.1

He had been separated from His mother for quite a length of time. During this period He had been baptized by John and had endured the temptations in the wilderness. Rumors had reached Mary concerning her son and His sufferings. John, one of the new disciples, had searched for Christ and had found Him in His humiliation, emaciated, and bearing the marks of great physical and mental distress. Jesus, unwilling that John should witness His humiliation, had gently yet firmly dismissed him from His presence. He wished to be alone; no human eye must behold His agony, no human heart be called out in sympathy with His distress. 5BC 1132.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, 566

Christ humbled Himself from the highest authority, from the position of one equal with God, to the lowest place, that of a servant. His home was in Nazareth, which was proverbial for its wickedness. His parents were among the lowly poor. His trade was that of a carpenter, and He labored with His hands to do His part in sustaining the family. For thirty years He was subject to His parents. Here the life of Christ points us to our duty to be diligent in labor and to provide for and to train the weak and the ignorant. In His lessons of instruction to His disciples Jesus taught them that His kingdom was not a worldly kingdom, where all were striving for the highest position. 3T 566.1

Woman is to fill a more sacred and elevated position in the family than the king upon his throne. Her great work is to make her life a living example which she would wish her children to copy. By precept as well as example she is to store their minds with useful knowledge and lead them to self-sacrificing labor for the good of others. The great stimulus to the toiling, burdened mother should be that every child who is trained aright, and who has the inward adorning, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, will have a fitness for heaven and will shine in the courts of the Lord. 3T 566.2

How few see anything attractive in the true humility of Christ! His humility did not consist in a low estimate of His own character and qualifications, but in His humbling Himself to fallen humanity in order to raise them up with Him to a higher life. Worldlings try to exalt themselves to the position of those above them or to become superior to them. But Jesus, the Son of God, humbled Himself to elevate man; and the true follower of Christ will seek to meet men where they are in order to elevate them. 3T 566.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 109

He subjected himself to privation and solitude in the wilderness, where he could preserve the sacred sense of the majesty of God by studying His great book of nature and there becoming acquainted with His character as revealed in His wonderful works. It was an atmosphere calculated to perfect moral culture and to keep the fear of the Lord continually before him. John, the forerunner of Christ, did not expose himself to evil conversation and the corrupting influences of the world. He feared the effect upon his conscience, that sin might not appear to him so exceedingly sinful. He chose rather to have his home in the wilderness, where his senses would not be perverted by his surroundings. Should we not learn something from this example of one whom Christ honored and of whom He said: “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist”? 4T 109.1

The first thirty years of Christ's life were passed in retirement. Ministering angels waited upon the Lord of life as He walked side by side with the peasants and laborers among the hills of Nazareth, unrecognized and unhonored. These noble examples should teach us to avoid evil influences and to shun the society of those who do not live aright. We should not flatter ourselves that we are too strong for any such influences to affect us, but we should in humility guard ourselves from danger. 4T 109.2

Ancient Israel were especially directed by God to be and remain a people separate from all nations. They were not to be subjected to witnessing the idolatry of those about them, lest their own hearts should be corrupted, lest familiarity with ungodly practices should make them appear less wicked in their eyes. Few realize their own weakness and that the natural sinfulness of the human heart too often paralyzes their noblest endeavors. 4T 109.3

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The Birth, Childhood, and Baptism of Jesus
John the Baptist