Murmured - They affected to suppose that if Jesus treated sinners kindly he must be fond of their society, and be a man of similar character. “They” considered it disgraceful to be with them or to eat with them, and they, therefore, brought a charge against him for it. They “would” not suppose that he admitted them to his society for the purpose of doing them good; nor did they remember that the very object of his coming was to call the wicked from their ways and to save them from death.
Receiveth sinners - Receives them in a tender manner; treats them with kindness; does not drive them from his presence.
And eateth with them - Contrary to the received maxims of the scribes. By eating with them he showed that he did not despise or overlook them.
Receiveth sinners - Προσδεχεται . He receives them cordially, affectionately - takes them to his bosom; for so the word implies. What mercy! Jesus receives sinners in the most loving, affectionate manner, and saves them unto eternal life! Reader, give glory to God for ever!
Youthful talent, well organized and well trained, is needed in our churches. The youth will do something with their overflowing energies. Unless these energies are directed into right channels, they will be used by the youth in a way that will hurt their own spirituality, and prove an injury to those with whom they associate. GW 211.1
Let the heart of the instructor be linked with the hearts of those under his charge. Let him remember that they have many temptations to meet. We little realize the objectionable traits of character given to the youth as a birthright, and how often temptation comes to them as a result of this birthright. GW 211.2
The guarding care that the under-shepherd will give the lambs of his flock is well illustrated by a picture I have seen representing the Good Shepherd. The shepherd is leading the way, while the flock follow close behind. Carried in his arms is a helpless lamb, while the mother walks trustingly by his side. Of the work of Christ, Isaiah says, “He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom.” [Isaiah 40:11.] The lambs need more than daily food. They need protection, and must constantly be guarded with tender care. If one goes astray, it must be searched for. The figure is a beautiful one, and well represents the loving service that the under-shepherd of the flock of Christ is to give to those under his protection and care. GW 211.3Read in context »
“Feed the flock of God, ... taking the oversight thereof.”Read in context »
His impressive parable of the good shepherd represents the responsibility of every minister and of every Christian who has accepted a position as teacher of children and youth and a teacher of old and young, in opening to them the Scriptures. If one strays from the fold, he is not followed with harsh words and with a whip, but with winning invitations to return. The ninety and nine that had not strayed do not call for the sympathy and tender, pitying love of the shepherd. But the shepherd follows the sheep and lambs that have caused him the greatest anxiety and have engrossed his sympathies. The disinterested, faithful shepherd leaves all the rest of the sheep, and his whole heart and soul and energies are taxed to seek the one that is lost. And then the figure—praise God—the shepherd returns with the sheep, carrying him in his arms, rejoicing at every step; he says, “Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.” I am so thankful we have in the parable, the sheep found. And this is the very lesson the shepherd is to learn,—success in bringing the sheep and lambs back. FE 273.1
There is no picture presented before our imagination of a sorrowful shepherd returning without the sheep. And the Lord Jesus declares the pleasure of the shepherd and his joy in finding the sheep causes pleasure and rejoicing in heaven among the angels. The wisdom of God, His power and His love, are without a parallel. It is the divine guarantee that not one, even, of the straying sheep and lambs is overlooked and not one left unsuccored. A golden chain—the mercy and compassion of divine power—is passed around every one of these imperiled souls. Then shall not the human agent cooperate with God? Shall he be sinful, failing, defective in character himself, regardless of the soul ready to perish? Christ has linked him to His eternal throne by offering His own life. FE 274.1
Zechariah's description of Joshua, the high priest, is a striking representation of the sinner for whom Christ is mediating that he may be brought to repentance. Satan is standing at the right hand of the Advocate, resisting the work of Christ, and pleading against Him that man is his property, since he has chosen him as his ruler. But the Defender of man, the Restorer, mightier than the mightiest, hears the demands and claims of Satan, and answers him: “The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and stood before the angel. And He answered and spake unto those that stood before Him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him He said, Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair miter upon his head. So they set a fair miter upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by.” FE 274.2Read in context »
We found that we could do nothing for the scattered sheep near us until we had first corrected the wrongs in many of the members of the church. They had let these poor souls wander. They felt no burden for them. In fact, they seemed shut up to themselves, and were dying a spiritual death for want of spiritual exercise. They still loved the general cause, and were ready to help sustain it. They would take good care of the servants of God. But there was a decided want of care for widows, orphans, and the feeble of the flock. Besides some interest for the cause in general, there was but little apparent interest for any only their own families. With so narrow a religion they were dying a spiritual death. 2T 19.1
There were some who kept the Sabbath, attended meeting, and paid systematic benevolence, yet were out of the church. And it is true that they were not fit to belong to any church. But while leading church members stood as some in that church did, giving them little or no encouragement, it was almost impossible for them to arise in the strength of God and do better. As we began to labor with the church, and teach them that they must have a spirit of labor for the erring, much that I had seen relative to the cause in that place, opened before me, and I wrote out pointed testimonies not only for those who had erred greatly and were out of the church, but for those members in the church who had erred greatly in not going in search of the lost sheep. And I was never more disappointed in the manner in which these testimonies were received. When those who had been greatly in fault were reproved by most pointed testimonies, read to them publicly, they received them, and confessed with tears. But some of those in the church, who claimed to be the fast friends of the cause and the Testimonies, could hardly think it possible that they had been as wrong as the testimonies declared them to be. When told that they were self-caring, shut up to themselves and families; that they had failed to care for others, had been exclusive, and had left precious souls to perish; that they were in danger of being overbearing and self-righteous, they were brought into a state of great agitation and trial. 2T 19.2
But this experience was just what they needed to teach them forbearance toward others in a similar state of trial. There are many who feel sure that they will have no trial respecting the Testimonies, and continue to feel so till they are tested. They think it strange that any can doubt. They are severe with those who manifest doubts, and cut and slash, to show their zeal for the Testimonies, manifesting more self-righteousness than humility. But when the Lord reproves them for their wrongs, they find themselves as weak as water. Then they can hardly endure the trial. These things should teach them humility, self-abasement, tenderness, and undying love for the erring. 2T 20.1Read in context »
I entreat you whom God has favored with a knowledge of the truth, Go to work; there is work to do everywhere. The fields are all white unto the harvest. Sowers and reapers are needed just now. The time you devote to imparting constantly to those who understand the message of warning will not give one tithe of the strength which they would receive in taking hold of the work to communicate life to save perishing souls. Angels are waiting to bless the consecrated workers. The parable of the lost sheep should be a lesson to every soul who has been rescued from the snare of Satan. We are not to hover over the ninety and nine, but to go forth to save the lost, hunting them up in the wilderness of the large cities and towns. In this work the laborers will be led to feel their weakness and they will flee to the stronghold. The divine presence will be with them to give strength and courage and faith and hope. The truehearted workers will be laborers together with God. TM 232.1
The warnings that Christ gave to Jerusalem were not to end with them. The judgments upon Jerusalem were a symbol of the events of Christ's coming to judgment in the last day, when before Him shall be gathered all nations. “He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” TM 232.2Read in context »