Into The Mountains Apart

Reading Time: 4 minutes“He went up into a mountain apart.” (Mat 14:23)

Mountains: Psalms 72:3
Mountains: Psalms 72:3

One of the blessings, for Jesus and His followers of the Sabbath was its calm, it’s restfulness, its holy peace. There is a new strength conceived in such solitude. Crows go in flocks and wolves in packs, but the lion and the eagle are solitaires.

Strength is not in bluster and noise. Strength is in quietness. The lake must be calm if the heavens are to be reflected on its surface. Our Lord loved the people, but how often we read of his going away from them for a brief season. He tried every little while to withdraw from the crowd. He was always stealing away at evening to the hills. Most of His ministry was carried on in the towns and cities by the seaside, but He loved the hills the best, and oftentimes when night fell He would plunge into their peaceful depths.

The one thing needed above all others today is that we shall be apart with our Lord, and sit at His feet in the sacred privacy of His blessed presence. Oh, for the lost art of meditation! Oh, for the culture of the secret place! Oh, for the tonic of waiting upon God? — Selected

“It is well to live in the valley sweet,
Where the work of the world is done,
“Where the reapers sing in the fields of wheat,
As they toil till the set of sun.
But beyond the meadows, the hills I see
Where the noise of traffic cease,
And I follow a Voice that calleth to me
From the hilltop regions of peace.

“Aye, to live is sweet in the valley fair,
And to toil to the set of sun;
But my spirit yearns for the hilltop’s air
When the day and it’s work is done.
For a Presence breathes o’er the silent hills,
And its sweetness is living yet;
The same deep calm all the hillside fills,
As breathed over Olivet.”
“Every life that would be strong must have its Holy
of Holies into which only God enters.”

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Full of Grace and Truth

This is what profoundly impressed people in the life and walk of our Lord Himself. “We beheld his glory,” says the great apostle, “full of grace and truth.” Now grace, whatever else it may be, is charm. Meaning things such as attractiveness that interests, pleases, or inspires. It may be more; it never can be less. Grace is something exquisitely beautiful whether on the lips or in the life.

And what moved people who had companied with Jesus, and what filled them with adoring wonder, was that always and in every circumstance they had found Him full of grace and truth. The “fulness” of life dwells in Him, and He is the source of all life physical and spiritual. He is light through life. Life comes to us through Christ; and the result of that life in renewed hearts is light—the light of goodness, truth, holiness.

There is a kind of truth that is not charming. It has nothing attractive, only repulsive. It is harsh, uninviting, and repellent. It may be the very opposite of falsehood and yet the very antithesis of love. But the truth in Jesus is always a charming thing; it had all the attractiveness of beauty; and people, remembering it, said,

“We beheld his glory, full of grace and truth.”

All the truth He uttered, He uttered beautifully. People still wonder at the words of grace upon His lips. All the truth He did, He did beautifully. He was the truth—yet “altogether lovely.”

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And so Peter, writing to these early Christians, says, “Friends, do you want to be a witness of Christ among the unbelievers? Then whatever you do, be sure you do it beautifully.”

It is obvious that in order to maintain His matchless charm, Jesus Himself “…went up into a mountain apart.” (Mat 14:23) and today, all those who aspire to be His people must do the same or we will give a very sour witness of Christ and WHO He really is.

“…of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16)

In the interview with Nicodemus, Jesus unfolded the plan of salvation, and His mission to the world. In none of His subsequent discourses did He explain so fully, step by step, the work necessary to be done in the hearts of all who would inherit the kingdom of heaven. At the very beginning of His ministry He opened the truth to a member of the Sanhedrin, to the mind that was most receptive, and to an appointed teacher of the people. But the leaders of Israel did not welcome the light. Nicodemus hid the truth in his heart, and for three years there was little apparent fruit. {DA 176.1}

But Jesus was acquainted with the soil into which He cast the seed. The words spoken at night to one listener in the lonely mountain were not lost. For a time Nicodemus did not publicly acknowledge Christ, but he watched His life, and pondered His teachings. In the Sanhedrin council he repeatedly thwarted the schemes of the priests to destroy Him. When at last Jesus was lifted up on the cross, Nicodemus remembered the teaching upon Olivet: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” The light from that secret interview illumined the cross upon Calvary, and Nicodemus saw in Jesus the world’s Redeemer. {DA 176.2}

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After the Lord’s ascension, when the disciples were scattered by persecution, Nicodemus came boldly to the front. He employed his wealth in sustaining the infant church that the Jews had expected to be blotted out at the death of Christ. In the time of peril he who had been so cautious and questioning was firm as a rock, encouraging the faith of the disciples, and furnishing means to carry forward the work of the gospel. He was scorned and persecuted by those who had paid him reverence in other days. He became poor in this world’s goods; yet he faltered not in the faith which had its beginning in that night conference with Jesus. {DA 177.1}

Nicodemus related to John the story of that interview, and by his pen it was recorded for the instruction of millions. The truths there taught are as important today as they were on that solemn night in the shadowy mountain, when the Jewish ruler came to learn the way of life from the lowly Teacher of Galilee. {DA 177.2}

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“If I say, “My foot is slipping,” Your faithful love will support me, LORD. When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy.” — Psalm 94:18-19 Listen to chapter . Powered by BibleGateway.com.
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