“Learn of Me”

HOW MUCH IS told in the few words respecting Peter and John, and what their opponents thought of them, in the expression, “Now when they saw the boldness [courage] of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”—Acts 4:13

One of the remarkable things connected with ‘present truth’ is its effect upon those who receive it—its transforming effect—its renewing effect. As the Lord foreknew and foretold, the Gospel message had not specially appealed to the wise, the learned, or the great. As Jesus prayed, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” (Matt. 11:25) The ‘wise and prudent’ feel themselves ‘above’ the Master’s teachings, and are comparatively satisfied with their condition. They are led to believe that God would give them preference any day over the ignorant, slow of mind, the ignoble. They do not feel their need of spiritual healing from the Good Physician.—Mark 2:17

The Gospel message takes hold chiefly upon those less favored in the present life. And this is true as well of the special features of present truth as of the general features of the Gospel message. In every case, however, the marked effect of the Gospel of Christ is manifested where it is received into a good and honest heart. It lifts up. It gives courage instead of fear. It gives hope instead of despondency. It gives an aim and object in life, instead of aimless futility. It cultivates the will, and manifests itself in the intelligent expression, and loosing of the tongue to speak of the Lord and his grace.

The Christian’s enemies take’ note of all these things, and frequently marvel at those who understand the Bible, and of their perceptive minds on almost every subject. This is good. Yet there is a danger here. If the spirit of self-satisfaction, or pride of knowledge of the Scriptures, or of abilities to present the divine plan to others, be cultivated, it may lead to spiritual injury.

With us, as well as with the apostles, our adversaries should take note of our courage—that we have the courage of our convictions, that we fear the Lord only, and that our highest aim is to herald forth the good tidings of great joy to all who have a hearing ear.

Here, however, we wish to call attention more particularly to the importance of the second feature mentioned in the scripture first quoted, namely, that they ‘took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus’, and that they were his disciples, or learners in his school. This, truly, is the important thing for us. We should ‘learn of Jesus’ to become like him.

While the followers of Jesus should bear witness of their doctrinal knowledge of the divine character and plan as set forth in the Holy Word, when emphasizing this and contending for its absolute necessity for growth in grace, it is necessary that they continually urge all to be aware of the Master’s teachings which constitute more particularly his spirit—his disposition. The sum of all grace is called Love. As the Apostle John said of our Heavenly Father, “God is love” (I John 4:8), so love is also the special characteristic of our Redeemer who was the image, the very reflection, of the Father.

The analysis of love given by the Apostle Paul, may be understood to be an analysis of the divine character as exemplified in our Lord Jesus—meekness, gentleness, patience, longsuffering, brotherly kindness: love. And since all his followers are invited to become disciples or learners under him as their teacher, it follows that all who ‘learn of him’ will gradually attain to these same elements of his character.

How could we better proclaim our relationship to him? How could we better recommend to others the School of Christ? How could we better show forth the praises of our Master than by living out his example, representing his character before men? Is not this ‘the significance of his injunction, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”? (Matt. 5:16) It is proper, indeed, that we let our doctrines ‘shine out before men, but it is particularly important that the doctrines spoken and the character of the speaker shall correspond and co-attest to each other.

We remember our Lord’s words, ‘By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:35) This was the new commandment, that we should love one another as he has loved us, with a pure, unselfish love which thinketh no evil, vaunteth not itself, is not easily offended, and seeketh not its own selfishly—the love that lays down time, energy, and even life itself, for the brethren.

We may never become entirely satisfactory to ourselves in thought, word, and deed while in the flesh; and we may never, therefore, be entirely satisfactory to others, either. But we can, we should, we must, and—by the grace of God let us each resolve—we will attain to all of this so far as our hearts are concerned. Nothing short of this will be satisfactory to our Lord, to whom we are ‘betrothed’ as members of the chaste virgin church. If we fail to come up to this reasonable, possible. standard, we will fail to make our calling and election sure, and fail to find a place in the bride company.

If we do these things—if, at heart, we do what we can as we have ability—the heavenly bridegroom will rejoice to own us as members of his elect. Oh, how much depends upon our learning this lesson! “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.”—John 13:17

Dawn Bible Students Association
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