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Some notes on
Isaiah 53:3 This is the basis of being lost
He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.
Church rituals get in the way
Christ's mission was not understood by the people of His time because the manner of His coming was not in accordance with their expectations. The Lord Jesus was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy, and its imposing services were of divine appointment, designed to teach the people that at the time set out in their rituals One would come to redeem them. But the Jews had exalted the forms and ceremonies and had lost sight of their object. The picture became the reality to them. The traditions, maxims, and rituals of men hid from them the lessons which God intended to convey.
These sayings and traditions became an obstacle to their understanding and practice of true religion. And when the Reality came, in the person of Christ, they did not recognize in Him the fulfillment of all their types, the substance of all their shadows. They rejected the antitype, and clung to their types and useless ceremonies. The Son of God had come, but they continued to ask for a sign. The message, "Repent you; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand," they answered by demands for a miracle. Matthew 3:2; 16:1.
The gospel of Christ was a stumbling block to them because they demanded signs instead of a Saviour. They expected the Messiah to prove His claims by mighty deeds of conquest, to establish His empire on the ruins of earthly kingdoms.
This expectation Christ answered in the parable of the sower.
The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And He spoke many things to them in parables, saying,
Behold, a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:
But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
Who has ears to hear, let him hear.
And the disciples came, and said to Him, Why speak You to them in parables? He answered and said to them, Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever has [the life of God], to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that he has. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which says,
By hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive: for this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say to you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which you see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which you hear, and have not heard them.
Hear you therefore the [explanation of the] parable of the sower.
When any one hears the word of the kingdom [by listening to the words of the Bible], and understands it not [by refusing to allow the Spirit to explain it], then comes the wicked one [by request, because to turn from God is to turn to Satan], and catches away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that hears the word, and anon [immediately] with joy receives it; yet has he not root in himself, but endures for a while: for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, by and by he is offended.
He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hears the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful [and ceases to practise the word].
But he that received seed into the good ground is he that hears the word, and understands it; which also bears fruit, and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Not by force of arms, not by violent interfering, does the kingdom of God prevail, but by the implanting of a new principle in the hearts of men.
None are too far gone to be saved
If the servants of God will walk with Him in faith, He will give power to their message. They will be enabled so to present His love and the danger of rejecting the grace of God that men will be constrained to accept the gospel. Christ will perform wonderful miracles if men will but do their God-given part.
In human hearts today as great a transformation may be wrought as has ever been in generations past. John Bunyan was redeemed from profanity and revelling, John Newton from slave dealing, to proclaim an uplifted Saviour. A Bunyan and a Newton may be redeemed from among men today. Through human agents who co-operate with the divine, many a poor outcast will be reclaimed, and in his or her turn will seek to restore the image of God in man. There are those who have had very meager opportunities, who have walked in ways of error because they knew no better way, to whom beams of light will come. As the word of Christ came to Zacchaeus, "Today I must abide at your house" Luke 19:5, so the word will come to them; and those who were supposed to be hardened sinners will be found to have hearts as tender as a child's because Christ has deigned to notice them. Many will come from the grossest error and sin, and will take the place of others who have had opportunities and privileges but have not prized them. They will be accounted the chosen of God, elect, precious; and when Christ shall come into His kingdom, they will stand next His throne.
But "see that you refuse not Him that speaks." Hebrews 12:25. Jesus said, "None of those men which were bidden shall taste of My supper." Luke 14:24. They had rejected the invitation twice, and none of them were to be invited again. In rejecting Christ, the Jews were hardening their hearts, and giving themselves into the power of Satan so that it would be impossible for them to accept His grace.
So it is now. If the love of God is not appreciated and does not become an abiding principle to soften and subdue the soul, we are utterly lost. The Lord can give no greater manifestation of His love than He has given. If the love of Jesus does not subdue the heart, there are no means by which we can be reached.
Every time you refuse to listen to the message of mercy, you strengthen yourself in unbelief. Every time you fail to open the door of your heart to Christ, you become more and more unwilling to listen to the voice of Him that speaks. Revelation 3:20. By continuing to do this, you diminish your chance of responding to the last appeal of mercy. Let it not be written of you, as of ancient/ Israel, "Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone." Hosea 4:17. Let not Christ weep over you as He wept over Jerusalem, saying, "How often would I have gathered your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is left to you desolate." Luke 13:34, 35.
We are living in a time when the last message of mercy, the last invitation, is sounding to the children of men. The command, "Go out into the highways and hedges," is reaching its final fulfillment. Luke 14:23. To every soul Christ's invitation will be given. The messengers are saying, "Come; for all things are now ready." Heavenly angels are still working in co-operation with human agencies. The Holy Spirit is presenting every inducement to persuade you to come. Christ is watching for some sign that will tell Him of the removing of the bolts and the opening of the door of your heart for His entrance. Angels are waiting to bear the tidings to heaven that another lost sinner has been found. The hosts of heaven are waiting, ready to strike their harps and to sing a song of rejoicing that another sinner has accepted the invitation to the gospel feast.
Parents often teach their children to reject
Many of those who have so long rejected divine guidance and guardianship are rushing on in the path of levity and selfish pleasure, yes, and more, into baser acts and defilement of the body. Romans 1:24-28. As a consequence their minds are polluted, and religion is distasteful to them. Many have gone so far in this downward course, and followed so earnestly in the path of the Sodomites, that they are today near to cursing, and the voice of reproof and warning lost upon them. They will never be redeemed, and the parents are guilty of their ruin. The debasing enjoyments for which they have made such an enormous sacrifice - health, peace of mind, and eternal life - will be bitterness in the end.
The Stone of stumbling
"To them which stumble at the word, being disobedient," Christ is a rock of offence. But "the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner." Like the rejected stone, Christ in His earthly mission had borne neglect and abuse. He was "despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: . . . He was despised, and we esteemed Him not." Isaiah 53:3. But the time was coming when He would be glorified. By the resurrection from the dead He would be declared "the Son of God with power." Romans 1:4. At His second coming He would be revealed as Lord of heaven and earth. Those who were now about to crucify Him would recognize His greatness. Before the universe the rejected Stone would become the Head of the corner.
And on "whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder." The people who rejected Christ while He was on earth were soon to see their city and their nation destroyed. Their glory would be broken, and scattered as the dust before the wind. And what was it that destroyed the Jews? It was the Rock which, had they built upon it, would have been their security. It was the goodness of God despised, the righteousness spurned, the mercy slighted. Men set themselves in opposition to God, and all that would have been their salvation was turned to their destruction. All that God ordained to life they found to be to death. In the Jews' crucifixion of Christ was involved the destruction of Jerusalem. The blood shed upon Calvary was the weight that sank them to ruin for this world and for the world to come.
So it will be in the great final day, when judgment shall fall upon the rejecters of God's grace. Christ, their rock of offence, will then appear to them as an avenging mountain. The glory of His countenance, which to the righteous is life, will be to the wicked a consuming fire. Because of love rejected, grace despised, the sinner will be destroyed.
By many illustrations and repeated warnings, Jesus showed what would be the result to the Jews of rejecting the Son of God. In these words He was addressing all in every age who refuse to receive Him as their Redeemer. Every warning is for them. The desecrated temple, the disobedient son, the false husbandmen, the contemptuous builders, have their counterpart in the experience of every sinner. Unless he or she repent, the doom which they foreshadowed will be theirs.
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