Friday, November 14, 2008

Stumbling at Christ

No sooner was God manifest in the flesh, than mortals began to stumble at him. “ Is not this the carpenter’s son?” was the question of those who looked for worldly pomp and imperial grandeur. “His father and his mother, we know, and his brethren and his sisters are they not all with us?” was the whispered objection of his own townsmen. In his own country the greatest of all prophets had no honor. Our Lord was rejected of all sorts of men; they looked at him from different quarters, but all with the same scornful eye. The Pharisee stumbled at him, because he was not superstitions and ostentatious; forsooth, he did not wash his hands before he ate, nor did he pray at the corner of the streets; he entered into the company of publicans and sinners; he did not make broad his phylactery; be healed the sick upon the Sabbath; he had no respect for traditions, and therefore every righteous Pharisee abhorred him. The Sadducee, on the other hand, much as he hated Pharisaic superstition, despised Christ equally as much. His objections were shot from quite another quarter. To him Christ was too superstitious; for the Sadducee would not believe in angel or spirit, or resurrection of the dead - all which beliefs the prophet of Nazareth openly avowed.

Philosophical skepticism detested Jesus, because his teaching had in it very much of the supernatural element. All his life long, in the high courts of Herod or of Pilate, or in the lowest rank of the mob of Judea, Christ was despised and rejected of men. They had long ago persecuted all the prophets whom the Lord had sent, and it was little marvel that they now assailed the Master himself.

From a sermon entitled "Unbelievers Stumbling, Believers Rejoicing," delivered May 22, 1864. Flickr photo by Jason; some rights reserved.

No comments: