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From Heaven With Love

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    Satan Was Trying to Get at Christ

    Satan was trying to discourage Jesus and turn Him from His mission, and Peter was giving voice to the temptation. The prince of evil, the author of the thought, was behind that impulsive appeal. Satan had offered Christ the dominion of the world on condition of forsaking the path of humiliation and sacrifice. Now he was seeking to fix Peter's gaze on earthly glory, that he might not behold the cross. Through Peter, he was again pressing the temptation on Jesus.HLv 281.2

    But the Saviour heeded it not; His thought was for His disciple. Satan had interposed between Peter and his Master. The words of Christ were spoken to the one trying to separate him from his Redeemer: “Get behind Me, Satan.” Let Me come face to face with Peter, that I may reveal to him the mystery of My love.HLv 281.3

    It was a bitter lesson, which Peter learned but slowly: the path of Christ lay through agony and humiliation. But in the heat of the furnace fire the disciple was to learn its blessing. Long afterward he wrote, “Rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:13, RSV.HLv 281.4

    Jesus now explained to His disciples that His own life of self-abnegation was an example of what theirs should be: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” The cross, associated with the power of Rome, was the most cruel and humiliating form of death. Criminals were required to bear the cross to the place of execution. Often as it was laid on their shoulders, they resisted with desperate violence, until they were overpowered. To the disciples Jesus’ words, though dimly comprehended, pointed to their submission to death for the sake of Christ.HLv 282.1

    No more complete self-surrender could the Saviour's words have pictured. But all this He had accepted for them. He left the heavenly courts for a life of reproach and insult, and a death of shame. He who was rich in heaven's priceless treasure, became poor, that through His poverty we might be rich. We are to follow in the path He trod.HLv 282.2

    Love for souls means crucifixion of self. He who is a child of God should look on himself as a link in the chain let down to save the world, one with Christ, going forth with Him to seek and save the lost. The Christian has consecrated himself to God, and in character he is to reveal Christ to the world.HLv 282.3

    “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.” Selfishness is death. The heart, failing to send its lifeblood to the hand and the head, would quickly lose its power. So is the love of Christ diffused through every part of His mystical body. We are members one of another, and the soul that refuses to impart will perish. “What is a man profited,” said Jesus, “if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”HLv 282.4

    Christ pointed the disciples to His coming in glory with the hosts of heaven. Then He said, “He shall reward every man according to his works.” And for their encouragement He promised, “Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom.”HLv 282.5

    But the disciples did not comprehend His words. Their eyes were fixed on the poverty, humiliation, and suffering. Were they not to see their Lord exalted to the throne of David? Could it be that Christ was to be despised, rejected, and put to death? Sadness oppressed their hearts, for it seemed incomprehensible that the Son of God should be subjected to such cruel humiliation. Why should He voluntarily go to Jerusalem to meet the treatment He was there to receive? How could He resign Himself to such a fate, and leave them in greater darkness than they were groping in before He revealed Himself to them?HLv 283.1

    In the region of Caesarea Philippi, the disciples reasoned that Christ had nothing to fear from the hatred of the Jews or from the power of the Romans. Why not work there? Why give Himself up to death? If He was to die, how could His kingdom be established so firmly that the gates of hell should not prevail against it? This was indeed a mystery.HLv 283.2

    They were even now journeying toward the city where all their hopes were to be crushed. They talked together in low, sorrowful tones in regard to the future. Perhaps some unforeseen circumstance might avert the doom which seemed to await their Lord. Thus they doubted, hoped, and feared for six long, gloomy days.HLv 283.3

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