After Satan had ended his temptations, he departed from Jesus for a season, and angels prepared him food in the wilderness, and strengthened him, and the blessing of his Father rested upon him. Satan had failed in his fiercest temptations, yet he looked forward to the period of Jesus' ministry, when he should at different times try his cunning against him. He still hoped to prevail against him by stirring up those who would not receive Jesus, to hate and seek to destroy him. Satan held a special counsel with his angels. They were disappointed and enraged that they had prevailed nothing against the Son of God. They decided that they must be more cunning, and use their power to the utmost to inspire unbelief in the minds of his own nation as to his being the Saviour of the world, and in this way discourage Jesus in his mission. No matter how exact the Jews might be in their ceremonies and sacrifices, if they could keep their eyes blinded as to the prophecies, and make them believe that it was a mighty, worldly king who was to fulfill these prophecies, they would keep their minds on the stretch for a Messiah to come.
I was then shown that Satan and his angels were very busy during Christ's ministry, inspiring men with unbelief, hate and scorn. Often when Jesus uttered some cutting truth reproving their sins, they would become enraged. Satan and his angels urged them on to take the life of the Son of God. Once they took up stones to cast at him, but angels guarded him, and bore him away from the angry multitude to a place of safety. Again as the plain truth dropped from his holy lips, the multitude laid hold of him, and led him to the brow of a hill, intending to thrust him down. A contention arose among themselves as to what they should do with him, when the angels again hid him from the sight of the multitude, and he, passing through the midst of them, went his way.
Satan still hoped the great plan of salvation would fail. He exerted all his power to make the hearts of all people hard, and their feelings bitter against Jesus. He hoped that the number who would receive him as the Son of God would be so few, that Jesus would consider his sufferings and sacrifice too great to make for so small a company. But I saw that if there had been but two who would have accepted Jesus as the Son of God, to believe in him to the saving of their souls, he would have carried out the plan.
Jesus commenced his work by breaking the power which Satan held over the suffering. He healed those who had suffered by his evil power. He restored the sick to health, healed the lame, and caused them to leap in the gladness of their hearts, and glorify God. He gave sight to the blind, restored to health by his power those who had been infirm and bound by Satan's cruel power many years. The weak, the trembling, and desponding, he comforted with gracious words. He raised the dead to life, and they glorified God for the mighty display of his power. He wrought mightily for all who believed on him. And the feeble suffering ones whom Satan held in triumph, Jesus wrenched from his grasp, and brought to them by his power, soundness of body, and great joy and happiness.
The life of Christ was full of benevolence, sympathy and love. He was ever attentive to listen to, and relieve the woes of those who came to him. Multitudes carried the evidences in their own persons of his divine power. Yet many of them soon after the work was accomplished were ashamed of the humble, yet mighty teacher. Because the rulers did not believe on him, they were not willing to suffer with Jesus. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. But few could endure to be governed by his sober, self-denying life. They wished to enjoy the honor which the world bestows. Many followed the Son of God, and listened to his instructions, feasting upon the words which fell so graciously from his lips. His words were full of meaning, yet so plain that the weakest could understand.
Satan and his angels were busy. They blinded the eyes and darkened the understanding of the Jews. Satan stirred up the chief of the people and the rulers to take his life. They sent officers to bring Jesus unto them, and as they came near where he was, they were greatly amazed. They saw Jesus stirred to sympathy and compassion, as he witnessed human woe. They saw him in love and tenderness speak encouragingly to the weak and afflicted. They also heard him, in a voice of authority, rebuke the power of Satan, and bid the captives held by him, go free. They listened to the words of wisdom that fell from his lips, and they were captivated. They could not lay hands on him. They returned to the priests and elders without Jesus. They inquired of the officers, Why have ye not brought him? They related what they had witnessed of his miracles, and the holy words of wisdom, love and knowledge which they had heard, and ended with saying, Never man spake like this man. The chief priests accused them of being also deceived. Some were ashamed that they had not brought him. The chief priests inquired in a ridiculing manner if any of the rulers had believed on him. I saw that many of the magistrates and elders did believe on Jesus. But Satan kept them from acknowledging it. They feared the reproach of the people more than they feared God.
Thus far the cunning and hatred of Satan had not broken up the plan of salvation. The time for the accomplishment of the object for which Jesus came into the world was drawing on. Satan and his angels consulted together, and decided to inspire Christ's own nation to cry eagerly for his blood, and invent cruelty and scorn to be heaped upon him. He hoped that Jesus would resent such treatment, and not maintain his humility and meekness.
While Satan was laying his plans, Jesus was carefully opening to his disciples the sufferings he must pass through. That he should be crucified, and that he would rise again the third day. But their understanding seemed dull. They could not comprehend what he told them.
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