Ministry of Patience

Perhaps no characteristic of Jesus of Nazareth was more beautiful than his sublime patience. The gospels are replete with instances wherein he turned with tenderest compassion from his own high view-point of spiritual vision to meet on its own plane some frail, outreaching blossom of thought just struggling into the light. We remember how obediently he left the temple at Jerusalem, where he was "sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions," and at his mother's bidding went home with his parents, and "was subject" unto them. Even at the age of twelve years he knew more of God and His law than his parents did; but he was willing to wait until they found that out. That they soon understood this fact is evidenced by the words of his mother on the occasion of his first public appearance after that, at the marriage-feast at Cana of Galilee, when she whispered to the servants to do whatever he should bid them.

Jesus never forced an issue. His faith in the omnipotence of good was such that he knew he could well afford to stand aside and await the ultimate adjustment effected by his Father's perfect and unalterable law. He knew that the divine activities were already in operation, even though unseen and unacknowledged by blind material sense for the time being. Yet the deadly dulness of those around him must oftentimes have taxed his patience to the utmost.

Perhaps no incident in the earthly record of the Master is more touching than the scene in the "upper room" when he and his disciples talked together for the last time. For three years they had been his constant companions, listening daily to that dear voice, admonishing, encouraging, rebuking, explaining,—teaching both by example and precept "the deep things of God;" yet the very trend of their questions on this memorable occasion showed how utterly they had failed to understand him. Judas regarded his Master's life of less value than thirty pieces of silver; Peter wondered where he was going; Thomas complained that they could not follow, because they knew not the way; while Philip stupidly demanded, as a final proof of his Messiahship, that he show them the Father. It seemed indeed a sad commentary on those three years of patient ministry among them! One can almost fancy that a little note of wistfulness might have crept into that gentle voice as he replied to the last demand, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?" Yet a moment later we find him praying for them in words of such ineffable tenderness that all aspiring men still listen to them in wonder and amaze.

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True Coin
April 3, 1915

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