A judge - Without some judgment given in the case, no division could be made; therefore Jesus added the word judge. Pearce. A minister of Christ ought not to concern himself with secular affairs, any farther than charity and the order of discipline require it. Our Lord could have decided this difference in a moment; but the example of a perfect disengagement from worldly things was more necessary for the ministers of his Church than that of a charity applying itself to temporal concerns. He who preaches salvation to all should never make himself a party man; otherwise he loses the confidence, and consequently the opportunity of doing good to the party against whom he decides. Better to leave all these things to the civil magistrate, unless where a lawsuit may be prevented, and the matter decided to the satisfaction or acquiescence of both parties.
Who made me a judge? - It is not my business to settle controversies of this kind. They are to be settled by the magistrate. Jesus came for another purpose - to preach the gospel, and so to bring people to “a willingness to do” right. Civil affairs are to be left to the magistrate. There is no doubt that Jesus “could” have told him what was right in this case, but then it would have been interfering with the proper office of the magistrates; it might have led him into controversy with the Jews; and it was, besides, evidently apart from the proper business of his life. We may remark, also, that the appropriate business of ministers of the gospel is to attend to spiritual concerns. They should have little to do with the temporal matters of the people. If they can “persuade men” who are at variance to be reconciled, it is right; but they have no power to take the place of a magistrate, and to settle contentions in a legal way.
This chapter is based on Luke 12:13-21.
Christ was teaching, and, as usual, others besides His disciples had gathered about Him. He had been speaking to the disciples of the scenes in which they were soon to act a part. They were to publish abroad the truths He had committed to them, and they would be brought in conflict with the rulers of this world. For His sake they would be called into courts, and before magistrates and kings. He had assured them of wisdom which none could gainsay. His own words, that moved the hearts of the multitude, and brought to confusion His wily adversaries, witnessed to the power of that indwelling Spirit which He had promised to His followers. COL 252.1Read in context »
Let us individually seek the Lord. Let those whose religious experience in the past has been only a surface work, draw near to God. Repent, repent, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. 9T 216.1
When we are prepared to take hold of the work in earnest we shall be better able than we are now to deal with the questions involved in this work. Let every believer do his best to prepare the way for the gospel missionary work that is to be done. But let no one enter into controversy. It is Satan's object to keep Christians occupied in controversies among themselves. He knows that if they do not watch, the day of the Lord will come on them as a thief in the night. We have no time now to give place to the spirit of the enemy and to cherish prejudices that confuse the judgment and lead us away from Christ. 9T 216.2
It will take money and earnest, persevering effort to do that which needs to be done among the colored people. Every man needs now to stand in his lot and place, confessing and forsaking his sins, and working in harmony with his brethren. God's workers are to be of one mind and one heart, praying for the impartation of the Spirit and believing that God will fulfill His word. 9T 216.3Read in context »