Our Lord’s was a chequered history. Lights and shadows thickly blended in the marvelous picture of His life. The lights were but few; the shadows predominated. He did not come into the world to be joyful and happy, but to make others so. Hence the portrait, “He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief.” We have just looked upon one of the earthly lights thrown upon the picture; we are now to contemplate one of its dark shadows. From viewing Him as for the moment favored with the adulation of the multitude, we turn to behold Him the object of their bitter scorn and rejection.
“He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief.” There is much in this chapter of Jesus’ history worthy of our consideration, and not a little that may be found to reflect in no inconsiderable degree the experience of many Christians. My soul, turn to it. It is a mournful yet a holy picture of Him you love. There is a bitterness in the contemplation, and yet a sweetness indescribably sweet. It is pleasant and cheering to know that your Lord Jesus has gone before you, has trodden the path you tread, and that the sorrow which now rests upon your soul so darkly is but the shadow of the yet darker sorrow that rested upon His.
Jesus was the object of popular hate, because of the DIVINITY OF HIS PERSON. Are real Christians less so? Were we not partakers of the Divine nature, we would not drink, in some small degree, of this cup that He drank of. The world despises the image of Christ. If it hated the fair and perfect Original, it will also hate the copy, however dim and imperfect it may be. Be of good cheer, then, if a portion of the world’s hatred of Jesus comes upon you. It is a sure evidence that you are in some measure assimilated to your beloved Lord, reflecting His divine and holy image, though marred with many a blot, and shaded with many a cloud.
Jesus was despised because of the UNWORLDLINESS OF HIS LIFE. “The world hates me because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.” His whole life was one ceaseless testimony against the ungodliness of this ungodly world. It rejected Him because He was holy. In proportion as the life we live is a solemn and consistent protest against the vanities and sinfulness of the world, so will it hate and cast us out. “You are not of the world; therefore the world hates you.” In His memorable intercessory prayer, Jesus reminds His Father, “The world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” Accept, then, the world’s despisings as your glory. The farther you recede from it, the more powerful your testimony, and the more decided and consistent your unworldly walk, the more virulent will be its malignity, bitter its hate, and wide its separation.
Jesus was equally the object of offence to the world, because of HIS TESTIMONY TO THE TRUTH. On one occasion His enemies took Him to the brow of a hill to hurl Him down to His death, for the testimony which He bore to the Sovereignty of Divine Grace. And it is recorded that, on a similar occasion, many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him. The offence of the cross is not ceased. If, through the Holy Spirit’s teaching, and the Savior’s grace, you are enabled to bear a humble, loving, yet firm and uncompromising testimony to the truth as it is in Jesus, think it not strange if you are called to suffer.
The more spiritual and unadulterated, the more scriptural and unworldly your views of the gospel–its doctrines, its precepts, and its institutions–the more the world, even much of the so-called religious world, will separate from your company, hate, and despise you. But rejoice with exceeding joy if thus counted worthy to suffer shame for Jesus’ sake. Keep your eye intently upon Him, and ever remember His animating words,”Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life.”
Lord, let the world despise, and even the saints reject me–enough that I am loved and approved of You!