J. Wilfred Johnson
Sabbath School Lesson Feb. 12, 1989
Transcribed Jan. 19, 2014
This meeting is actually a small Sabbath School lesson given by Mr.
Johnson at the College Heights Church Alberta, Canada. There are other
groups meeting in the sanctuary at the same time as well as individuals
talking among themselves. All of this background noise makes it nearly
impossible to hear individuals addressing Mr. Johnson with their
comments or questions.
(Wilfred) We have so many wonderful things
that we really should be spending some time on in these lessons and
what I had planned to do for today I doubt if I should even begin to
attempt it because I wouldn't get more than half way through. So
perhaps we should start in where we left off last week. The question
arose as to what power was it that Jesus used in performing his
miracles and his work and that zeros right in on our lesson today. So
let's settle that point right now.
If you want to turn to your Lesson Quarterly. Those of you who have
studied your lesson will have already read this and those unfortunate
ones who may not have studied it you will be fortunate at least at this
point to get one statement that contains a very clear distinct piece of
information. It's in Monday's section right in the middle of the page.
The first sentence or two was written by the author of the lesson but I'm
going to read the whole statement and the last part of it is a
quotation from God's servant. "Jesus did not perform a miracle for
himself to meet either hunger or danger." Do you get the
significance there? "He submitted himself to the same situation
that you or I are in, we cannot perform a miracle for ourselves. He
voluntarily put himself in that position, but now He had supplied a
miracle to save the disciples who were fearful that they might perish
in the storm." See, this is when they were out on the lake and a
storm came up and Jesus was sound asleep in the back and the disciples
were panicking they thought they were going to go down. Now Jesus did
nothing here for his own sake, He did it for the disciple's sake. So
here it says, "But now" Here comes the quotation, now this is
the mouth of God speaking through his servant. "He rested not in
the possession of all mighty power." He was not sound asleep back
there free from anxiety in the sense of his all mighty power. That
wasn't what made him peaceful that's what it's saying. "It was not
as the master of earth, and sea, and sky, that He reposed in quiet." Is that clear? "That power." What power? "His own
divine power as master of earth and sea and sky." That power, now
listen, He had laid, where? Down. And He says, I can of mine own self do
nothing, what a tremendous thought, just think of it. "It was in
faith, faith in God's love and care that Jesus rested."
see what He's trying to do here? Do you remember He came to this world
primarily to be an example to us so that we would know the way to
eternal life? And He voluntarily stripped himself of his inherent power
in himself so that he could demonstrate in person, in humanity, how you
and I can make the grade. Isn't that a wonderful thing? Wonderful
thing. It was faith in God's love and care that Jesus rested. How about
you, can you rest secure, free from all anxiety in Jesus' love and
care? You can see, it's possible but if you don't, whose fault is it?
Your own. There is no excuse for anxiety if you really believe what God
says, is there, is there? Did you know that lack of trust in God a sin?
Shall I come a little closer? Did you know that anxiety is a sin?
(A woman) Unintelligible
(Wilfred) You are talking about something I think we call guilt. When
we realize our failure we get that little sensation, Oh, I did
something wrong, I am guilty. Now what did Jesus come to do for us? To
take away our guilt. Did you never get that out of the plan of
salvation, did that never dawn on you? You don't need to have any guilt
if you trust God because He said; If you confess your sin He is
faithful and just to forgive you your sin and to cleanse you from all
unrighteousness. So how do you stand before God when that happens?
Without fault. And what are you guilty about?
Now look, do you realize
the tremendous thing that Jesus has done for you? Oh, we could spend an
hour or two explaining how He did that and what's it all about. But He
did it. He took your guilt, He took your sin and He cleaned the slate
and you stand before God without fault. Now why are you anxious? Come
on, be fair why are you anxious? Oh, we are so frail, we are so frail,
and our faith is so feeble. What is God's ambition for you and me? Why
is He giving us all these experiences and trials, sufferings,
difficulties and we can't see through the tunnel, why does He do this
to us? Is He an unfair God? Can't you see what He's doing it for? He
gave us a big illustration back there with the Israelites coming out of
Egypt and it's explained to us in the Spirit of Prophecy that
He lead them into difficulties where it was impossible, there was no
way out and then what did He do? Why, He came through and saved them.
And she tells us specifically that God did that to build up their
faith. And that's what God is doing it to you for, listen; count it all
joy when you enter into divers temptations. The highest honor that God
could bestow upon you, it says in my books, is fellowship with Christ
in his sufferings. Well now why is that the highest honor? Because it
is only as you're going through those trials and tribulations that you
gain a confidence in God as you see how He finds a way out and you
begin to trust him and then you get peace of mind, peace of heart. You
can rest secure in the back of the boat in the storm, trusting in God.
Oh you're feeble just as feeble as you ever were but your faith, your
faith is strong.
You had a question back there I think and I just kept right on going?
(Another Woman) Unintelligible
(Wilfred) What is guilt? It's a realization of your failure and you
feel badly about it, perplexed.
(Same woman) Unintelligible
(Wilfred) I don't suppose you all heard that. How does a child trust
his parent? Does he have to go through the details as to how to do it
or is it a spontaneous thing? How does a parent gain the trust of his
child? By being on the level, by being there when he is needed, by
coming to the rescue at the right moment, that's how God does it. I
suppose we could become involved in the technicalities of the terms;
what is guilt, what is faith, and all the rest of it but we really
don't have time to go into all those things if we want to cover the
essence of the lesson here. When it's all boiled down it's just a
matter of making a decision, after all that's all you have to do
anything with on your own. It's your choice. You can choose to trust
God or you can choose not to trust him. And if you choose to trust him
you still have to cope with you fallen weak humanity. There is no doubt
about it. There isn't a one of us that hasn't experienced anxiety and
we probably have a pretty good dose of it right now of some sort.
Because we have not yet attained to the type of faith that Jesus had in
his Father when he slept in the back of that boat. Whose power did He
use to still that storm?
Alright, here is something I would like to get across to you because I
think it will help you to understand this business about the divine
power, human power, and how it functions. I don't have all the answers
but my Bible tells me that the invisible things of God can be
understood or seen by the things that are made. God has made these
physical things, it's sort of a little model of how the invisible
work and that statement goes right on to say; Even his eternal power,
and that is what we are talking about, and Godhead, and that's also
what we are talking about, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
that's just what this is all about. Did you realize that that statement
is in God's book? That we may understand about these things by looking
at the things that are made, the created things. And where could you
look to find out a little bit about how God works and functions if it
isn't that you look towards something that He calls "made in his image"
that is like him? Don't you see? God has patterned us more or less
after himself so we understand then that God can see, God can hear, God
can move, God can think, God can reason, God can feel, is that right or
is that wrong? I think that it is right. And when God took upon himself
humanity and lived a life on this earth He literally showed us right in
front of our faces how God works, didn't He? And how He expects us to
Now I can't say to this book here; Book come into my hands and then it
comes into my hands I cannot do that. I do not have a contact with the
forces that operate in nature to that extent. But God has given me a
pattern of how this can work. Because up in this skull here some place
He has put about twelve billion brain cells and some little chemical
factories and I don't know what all else He had put in there, an
extremely complicated thing whereby when it is energized by his Spirit
of Life there arises a consciousness and a realization that I am a
person and I can think about myself. I am there somewhere and signals
can come in from my environment through my eyes and ears and feeling
and the rest of it. Which give messages to my consciousness and I am
aware of where I am and the people that are out there in front of me
and the whole bit. And I can think, reason, and I can decide that I
want that book to come up so that I can read from it. And all I have to
do is just make that decision and don't ask me how I implement it, it's
a mystery to me but it's through the power of God that I can put these
hands down there, little electric forces are generated up there by my
decision, at least they tap into them, and they direct them to certain
nerves that control certain muscles in my arms and those impulses that
go to the nerves because of my decision cause metabolism to take place
some kind of a process similar to the burning of wood in the fireplace
and that causes those muscles to contract and they pull just the right
amount. All of them coordinated together so that I lift that book up I
open those pages and I direct my eyes and I can see the electrical
impulses coming from the page of that book in the form of light waves.
They affect the retina of my eye sending impulses up to my brain and
there they interpret as certain things that I have been familiar with
before and certain ideas come to my mind, what a process. What a
Now look, with Jesus, let's go back to the time before He came here as
Christ the Son of God. He had an additional level of life and I could
read you statements to verify this type of thing. We have a form of
life, God breathed into Adam's nostrils, and that is a symbolic thing
you know. He planted his life principle into Adam and that body that
was already formed became a living soul and could move and function and
became conscious, it could function. In The Desire of Ages there is
a statement that indicates that there is a higher form of life, which
incidentally He offers to give to you and me, but Christ had it, it was
the life of his life so to speak. It was a form of life that He had
inherent existence, life in himself. Now Christ could make a decision,
first of all He could observe things in his total universe and be aware
of them directly. It says in the Bible that the hairs of our head are
numbered and the Father is aware of how many hairs you have on your
head. And there is not a sparrow that drops to the ground but what He
is aware of it. Now that input is available to divinity. A decision can
be made as Christ made it at the creation of this world and He said;
Let there be light just as I said let that book come into my hand so I
can read it. He said let there be light and what happened? There was
light. He had a level of power that connected with the basic forces of
the universe and He could control those He could even create those.
When He came down to this world in the form of Jesus and He was a
little baby in Bethlehem answer me truly did He have that connection?
(A man) Unintelligible
(Wilfred) Thank you. What have I just read to you here? How many were
awake here? He said; I have power to lay down my life and I have power
to take it up again. When He was here on earth it was very obvious then
that he voluntarily had relinquished this particular personal contact
with this divine life so to speak. Then what power did He use when He
was in that boat when He said to the storm "be still"? God's power. Now
look, do you think that that book there could jump up and come into my
hands and open up all by its self? If I prayed to the heavenly Father
and said, Father please have that book come up and do that. Do you
think that God could do that?
(Another man) Unintelligible
(Wilfred) Then why doesn't He do it?
(Same man) Unintelligible
(Wilfred) Well I could give you other reasons too.
(A woman) It's not necessary.
(Wilfred) It's not necessary, right.
(Same man) Unintelligible
(Wilfred) Had there been men in this world at one time or another who
were able to say certain things by asking God for it and they did
happen outside of their own realm of control? Why sure. Now if you
realize that in Jesus' life He had voluntarily put himself in your
position and that everything He did in the way of performing miracles
He was depending on his Father to implement it. Do you realize that? I
could read it, it's in there and in actual fact it even says that it is
through the angels that the power of God accomplishes it. It's in the Desire of Ages. Who
rolled that stone away from the grave? An angel. I better not ask this
one but I'll ask it anyway. You don't have to answer. Who brought
Lazarus out of the tomb? Who brought Jesus out of the tomb?
(A woman) Unintelligible
(Wilfred) I think we have a little confusion on Jesus. On Lazarus it
doesn't really matter but the
Spirit of Prophecy does say that the miracles of Christ,
presumably that includes Lazarus, the miracles of Christ were performed
by the power of God working through the angels. However, who brought
Jesus out of the tomb? Now it says that God called him forth. There are
statements that indicate that it was done by the power of God. You see
when Jesus was sound asleep in the tomb there how could He even hear
the voice of God if He was asleep, calling Him from the tomb? Be
realistic. How could He decide to raise himself from the dead unless He
had preprogrammed it before He died? But it was the power of God that
raised Jesus from the dead. And it says that He came forth to life in himself. He came forth to life in himself so that when He
came forth out of the tomb what kind of life did He have? He was back
where He was before. He had divine life in himself. That's how when He
walked with those disciples to Emmaus He could come incognito and He
could all of a sudden vanish, He had power to do that.
Well, there are so many things in here. The last two paragraphs on the
very last page of your lesson I classify those two paragraphs as among
the classics in religious literature. I really think that there is a
wealth of thought in those paragraphs. But I think I'll just read the
last one. This is the author of the lesson speaking at this point; "Even
in his descent into human history Jesus could not come in his own right
through his own power." Isn't that something?
Don't neglect your study. You know that God can reveal to you
personally in your own private study things that you never dreamed of
and it will come together and fit and you'll just shout with joy and
gratitude to God for helping you understand what this is all about.
Stay with it and God bless you.