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From Heaven With Love

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    Slow to Believe

    Philip was the first to whom Jesus addressed the distinct command, “Follow Me.” He had heard John the Baptist's announcement of Christ as the Lamb of God. He was a sincere seeker for truth, but was slow of heart to believe, as his announcement of Him to Nathanael shows. Though Christ had been proclaimed by the voice from heaven as the Son of God, to Philip He was “Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” John 1:45. Again, when the 5000 were fed, Philip's lack of faith was shown. It was to test him that Jesus questioned, “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” Philip's answer, on the side of unbelief, grieved Jesus: “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.” John 6:5, 7. Philip had seen Jesus’ works and felt His power, yet he had not faith.HLv 193.3

    When the Greeks inquired of Philip concerning Jesus, he did not seize the opportunity of introducing them to the Saviour, but went to tell Andrew. Again, in those last hours before the crucifixion, the words of Philip were such as to discourage faith. When Thomas said, “Lord, ... how can we know the way?” the Saviour answered, “I am the Way... . If ye had known Me, ye would have known My Father also.” From Philip came the response of unbelief: “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” John 14:5-8.HLv 194.1

    In happy contrast to Philip's unbelief was the childlike trust of Nathanael, whose faith took hold upon unseen realities. Yet Philip was a student in the school of Christ, and the divine Teacher bore patiently with his unbelief and dullness. When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples, Philip taught with an assurance that carried conviction to the hearers.HLv 194.2

    While Jesus was preparing the disciples for ordination, one who had not been summoned urged his presence among them. Judas Iscariot, a professed follower of Christ, came forward, soliciting a place in this inner circle. By joining the apostles he hoped to secure a high place in the new kingdom. He was of commanding appearance, of keen discernment and executive ability, and the disciples commended him to Jesus as one who would greatly assist Him in His work. If Jesus had repulsed Judas, they would have questioned the wisdom of their Master. However, the after-history of Judas would show the danger of allowing worldly consideration to have weight in deciding the fitness of men for the work of God.HLv 194.3

    Yet Judas felt the influence of that divine power which was drawing souls to the Saviour. Jesus would not repulse this soul while even one desire was reaching toward the light. The Saviour read the heart of Judas; He knew the depths of iniquity to which, unless delivered by the grace of God, he would sink. In connecting this man with Himself, He placed him where he might, day by day, be brought in contact with His own unselfish love. If he would open his heart to Christ, even Judas might become a subject of the kingdom of God.HLv 194.4

    God takes men as they are and trains them for His service, if they will be disciplined and learn of Him. Through the knowledge and practice of the truth, through the grace of Christ, they may become transformed into His image.HLv 195.1

    Judas had the same opportunities as had the other disciples. But the practice of the truth was at variance with his desires and purposes, and he would not yield his ideas in order to receive wisdom from Heaven.HLv 195.2

    Tenderly the Saviour dealt with him who was to be His betrayer! Jesus presented before Judas the heinous character of greed. Many a time the disciple realized that his character had been portrayed and his sin pointed out; but he would not confess and forsake his unrighteousness. He continued to follow fraudulent practices. Lesson after lesson fell unheeded on the ears of Judas.HLv 195.3

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