1 1 Selected Messages p279.
2 Ibid p279.
3 Ibid p302.
4 Review and Herald. 03.26.1901.
5 Matthew 4:4.
6 1 Selected Messages p275.
7 Ibid p276.
8 The Desire of Ages p72.
9 Review and Herald. 04.01.1875.
10 From the completion of his twelfth year, when young Jewish boys were regarded as adults.
11 Review and Herald. 04.01.1875.
12 The Desire of Ages p686.
13 Review and Herald. 04.01.1875.
15 3 Spirit of Prophecy p136.
16 Youth’s Instructor. 02.08.1900.
17 Matthew 26:53.
18 The Desire of Ages p734.
19 Ibid p700.
20 Ibid p734.
21 Ibid p700.
22 Ibid p700. 703.
23 Review and Herald. 09.21.1896.
24 2 Testimonies p214.
25 Ibid p209.214.
26 The Desire of Ages p753.
28 Review and Herald. 09.21.1886.
Immanuel -- God with Us
When Christ came to this earth to seek and save the lost, He humbled Himself to take man’s nature, but He did not relinquish His divine power. Instead it was “combined with the human”, that He might reach man where He was. 1
Fallen man could not overcome Satan with his human strength, therefore, “Christ came from the royal courts of heaven to help him with His human and divine strength combined. Christ knew that Adam in Eden with his superior advantages might have withstood the temptations of Satan and conquered him. He also knew that it was not possible for man out of Eden, separated from the light and love of God since the Fall, to resist the temptations of Satan in his own strength.
In order to bring hope to man, and save him from complete ruin, He humbled Himself to take man's nature, that with His divine power combined with the human, He might reach man where he is. He obtained for the fallen sons and daughters of Adam that strength which it is impossible for them to gain for themselves, that in His name they might overcome the temptations of Satan.” 2
It was Christ’s divinity that enabled Him to fulfil the covenant pledge made with His Father. “He could suffer, because sustained by divinity. He could endure, because He was without one taint of disloyalty or sin.” 3
If Christ’s humanity had not been united with divinity, “He would have failed and become discouraged.” 4 There could be no salvation and no hope for mankind.
When the devil tempted Christ to turn the stones into bread, he knew He possessed the power to do so. The Saviour replied, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word of God”, and refused to obey the Satanic suggestion. 5
“Christ could have worked a miracle on His own account, but this would not have been in accordance with the plan of salvation… Satan hoped… He would exert his miraculous power in His own behalf, and take Himself out of the hands of His heavenly Father. This was indeed a temptation to Christ. But He cherished it not for a moment.” 6
He was “not provoked to give proof of His power” 7, or use it “to lessen His burdens or to lighten His toil.” 8
It was the devil’s plan to have Jesus perform a miracle for His own purposes. “Satan thought that by his temptations, he could delude the world’s Redeemer to make one bold move in manifesting His divine power, to create a sensation, and to surprise all by the wonderful display of the power of His Father in preserving Him from injury.
He suggested that Christ should appear in His real character, and to this masterpiece of power, establish His right to the confidence and faith of the people, that He was indeed the Saviour of the world.
If Christ had been deceived by Satan’s temptations and had exercised His miraculous power to relieve Himself from difficulty, He would have broken the contract made with His Father, to be a probationer in behalf of the race.” 9
All through Christ’s adult life, from the time He understood His identity, He refused to contemplate using His divine power for His personal needs. 10 It was not an easy task.
“He had received honor in the heavenly courts, and was familiar with absolute power. It was as difficult for Him to keep the level of humanity as it is for men to rise above the low level of their depraved nature, and be partakers of the divine nature.” 11
Never think that because Christ was God, possessing omnipotent power, His temptations were easy.
In Gethsemane, the Saviour “felt that by sin He was being separated from His Father. The gulf was so broad, so black, so deep, that His spirit shuddered before it. This agony He must not exert His divine power to escape. As man He must suffer the consequences of man's sin. As man he must endure the wrath of God against transgression.” 12
Christ was “put to the closest test, requiring the strength of all His faculties to resist the inclination when in danger, to use His power to deliver Himself from peril, and triumph over the prince of darkness.” 13
Satan showed his knowledge of the weak points of the human heart, and “put forth his utmost power to take advantage of the weakness of the humanity which Christ had assumed in order to overcome his temptations on man's account.” 14
When Jesus was taken to Herod, the tetrarch urged Him to save His life by working a miracle. He was told this would give evidence of His divine power. “But the Saviour had no such work to do. He had taken upon Himself the nature of man, and was not to perform a miracle to gratify the curiosity of wicked men, nor to save Himself one jot of the pain and humiliation that man would suffer under similar circumstances.” 15
At His trial, “Satan led the cruel soldiery in their abuse of the Saviour. It was his purpose to provoke Him to retaliation, if possible, or to drive Him to perform a miracle to release Himself, and thus break up the plan of salvation.
One stain upon His human life, one failure of His humanity to bear the terrible test, and the Lamb of God would have been an imperfect offering, and the redemption of man a failure.” 16
Jesus told His enemies, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” 17 Jesus also knew He could, “by a command… bring the heavenly host to His aid…” 18
When treated with contempt, there came over Christ “a strong temptation to manifest His divine character. By a word, by a look, He could compel His persecutors to confess that He was Lord above kings and rulers, priests and temple. But it was His difficult task to keep to the position He had chosen as one with humanity.” 19
When Christ’s enemies demanded a miracle to prove His divinity, He “who by a command could have driven that mob in terror from His sight by the flashing forth of His divine majesty -- submitted with perfect calmness to the coarsest insult and outrage.” 20 Here was far greater evidence than they had sought.
“Christ suffered keenly under abuse and insult. At the hands of the beings whom He had created, and for whom He was making an infinite sacrifice, He received every indignity. And He suffered in proportion to the perfection of His holiness and His hatred of sin. His trial by men who acted as fiends was to Him a perpetual sacrifice. To be surrounded by human beings under the control of Satan was revolting to Him. And He knew that in a moment, by the flashing forth of His divine power, He could lay His cruel tormentors in the dust. This made the trial the harder to bear.” 21
“He who could have doomed His enemies to death, bore with their cruelty.
His love for His Father, and His pledge, made from the foundation of the world to become the Sin-Bearer, led Him to endure uncomplainingly the coarse treatment of those He came to save. It was a part of His mission to bear, in His humanity, all the taunts and abuse that men could heap upon Him.
The only hope of humanity was in this submission of Christ to all that He could endure from the hands and hearts of men.” 22
The suffering of Christ Jesus was far greater than we can imagine. It was “in correspondence with His spotless purity; His depth of agony, proportionate to the dignity and grandeur of His character.” 23
But it was not physical suffering alone. Then His death would be “no more painful than that of some of the martyrs.” 24 The sins of the world were upon Christ, and bodily pain was but a small part of His suffering.
Instead it was the “crushing weight of the sins of the world, and the sense of His Father’s wrath…. that crushed His divine soul.” 25
The suffering of Christ was so intense, He felt His death would be the end of His existence. He understood the plan of redemption, having planned it with His Father, and He had Himself predicted His resurrection, but “Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus.” 26
“The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father's acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that their separation was to be eternal.
Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father's wrath upon Him as man's substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God. “ 27
“Never can we comprehend the intense anguish of the spotless Lamb of God, until we realize how deep is the pit from which we have been rescued, how grievous is the sin of which mankind is guilty, and by faith grasp the full and entire pardon.” 28