Jesus had said to the Pharisees: “This is your condemnation, that light has come into the world; and men choose darkness rather than light.” In every age of the world, the majority have rejected the light that has shone forth to illuminate the darkness of error. According to the unbelief and prejudice with which men, in spite of convincing evidence, oppose the truth, is the intensity of their hatred of those who cherish it. In proportion to the light given will be the condemnation of those who reject it. Said Jesus:
“If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin; but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.” The friends of Christ’s truth will ever be persecuted by a time-serving generation. They will be termed enthusiasts and fanatics by the enemies of reform. The burning truths of God’s word, condemning sin, and admonishing to righteousness are not palatable to the wrong-doer. Every true follower of Christ should have the spirit of a martyr, being ready to sacrifice any and everything rather than forfeit the favor of God.
The life of Christ was the embodiment of purity; and for this very reason he was hated. His righteousness stood forth in such marked contrast with that of the Pharisees that he was a continual reproach to them. Jesus said to his disciples: “But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.”
Many in this age may say that if they had lived when Christ was upon earth they would not have insulted and rejected him, but would have gladly accepted of his salvation. Yet those very persons doubt the power of the Saviour, and hesitate to believe his truth. The evidences that Jesus of Nazareth is the Saviour of men have increased with every successive generation, and yet millions refuse to believe on him, and accept the relief he offers their guilty souls. Jesus comes to those who are groaning under affliction, and offers to bear their grief, but they turn from him and hug their cankering cares to their hearts. He comes to those who are disappointed, whose hopes of this world have been crushed, and promises to give them peace and happiness if they will put their trust in him; but they shut their hearts against his sympathy and refuse to be comforted. Sad indeed will be the fate of those who reject the Redeemer notwithstanding the accumulated evidence in his favor.
The sin of the Jews was very great; but those in our day who have before them the history of Christ upon earth, and his rejection by the Jews sin in a far greater degree. They have the testimony of the followers of Jesus through the period of nearly two thousand years. They have far greater light than had the Jews. All other errors are trifling compared with the sin of rejecting Christ. To turn from him is to reject infinite truth, love and righteousness, and to close the door of the heart to all heavenly illumination, and to welcome darkness and despair. To accept him is light, peace and joy.