Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 1: Teaching in Parables
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In Christ's parable teaching the same principle is
seen as in His own mission to the world. That we might
become acquainted with His divine character and life,
Christ took our nature and dwelt among us. Divinity was
revealed in humanity; the invisible glory in the visible
human form. Men could learn of the unknown through
the known; heavenly things were revealed through the
earthly; God was made manifest in the likeness of men.
So it was in Christ's teaching: the unknown was illustrated
by the known; divine truths by earthly things with which
the people were most familiar.
The Scripture says, "All these things spake Jesus unto
the multitude in parables; . . . that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open My
mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept
secret from the foundation of the world." Matt. 13:34, 35.
Natural things were the medium for the spiritual; the things
of nature and the life-experience of His hearers were
connected with the truths of the written word. Leading thus
from the natural to the spiritual kingdom, Christ's parables [p. 18] are links in the chain of truth that unites man with God,
and earth with heaven.
In His teaching from nature, Christ was speaking of
the things which His own hands had made, and which
had qualities and powers that He Himself had imparted.
In their original perfection all created things were an
expression of the thought of God. To Adam and Eve in
their Eden home nature was full of the knowledge of God,
teeming with divine instruction. Wisdom spoke to the
eye and was received into the heart; for they communed
with God in His created works. As soon as the holy pair
transgressed the law of the Most High, the brightness
from the face of God departed from the face of nature.
The earth is now marred and defiled by sin. Yet even
in its blighted state much that is beautiful remains. God's
object lessons are not obliterated; rightly understood,
nature speaks of her Creator.
In the days of Christ these lessons had been lost sight
of. Men had well-nigh ceased to discern God in His
works. The sinfulness of humanity had cast a pall over the
fair face of creation; and instead of manifesting God, His
works became a barrier that concealed Him. Men
"worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator."
Thus the heathen "became vain in their imaginations, and
their foolish heart was darkened." Rom. 1:25, 21. So in
Israel, man's teaching had been put in the place of God's.
Not only the things of nature, but the sacrificial service and
the Scriptures themselves—all given to reveal God—were
so perverted that they became the means of concealing
|"Consider the Lillies."—Davis Collection.|
Christ sought to remove that which obscured the truth.
The veil that sin has cast over the face of nature, He came [p. 19] to draw aside, bringing to view the spiritual glory that all
things were created to reflect. His words placed the
teachings of nature as well as of the Bible in a new
aspect, and made them a new revelation.
Jesus plucked the beautiful lily, and placed it in the
hands of children and youth; and as they looked into His
own youthful face, fresh with the sunlight of His Father's
countenance, He gave the lesson, "Consider the lilies of
the field, how they grow [in the simplicity of natural
beauty]; they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I
say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was
not arrayed like one of these." Then followed the sweet
assurance and the important lesson, "Wherefore, if God so
clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow
is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you,
O ye of little faith?"
In the sermon on the mount these words were spoken
to others besides children and youth. They were spoken to
the multitude, among whom were men and women full of
worries and perplexities, and sore with disappointment and
sorrow. Jesus continued: "Therefore take no thought,
saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or,
Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (for after all these things
do the Gentiles seek:) for your Heavenly Father knoweth
that ye have need of all these things." Then spreading
out His hands to the surrounding multitude, He said, "But
seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you." Matt.
Thus Christ interpreted the message which He Himself
had given to the lilies and the grass of the field. He
desires us to read it in every lily and every spire of grass.
His words are full of assurance, and tend to confirm trust
in God. [p. 20]
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