By Retired Seventh-day Adventist Pastor, Ian Cotton
The Lord, through Moses, had set before Israel the result of unfaithfulness. “Beware,” said Moses, “that you do not forget the Lord your God, in not keeping His commandments, which I command thee this day: lest when you become rich and increased with goods; then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God. And you say in your heart, My power and abilities have earned me this wealth. And it shall be, if you forget the Lord thy God, and worship other gods, I testify against you this day that you shall perish because you would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 8
The warning was not heeded then, nor by people today. They forgot God, and lost sight of their high privilege as His representatives. All their advantages were appropriated for their own glorification. They robbed God of the service He required of them, and they robbed their fellow men of a holy example. They made sacred things appear a farce, and misrepresented God’s character and dishonored His name.
The Lord had said that all their possessions were given them in trust to be used for Him. But people were robbing God of the means entrusted to them for the advancement of His work. Their covetousness and greed caused them to be despised. Thus the Gentile world was given occasion to misinterpret the character of God and the laws of His kingdom.
God pleaded with them, patiently He set their sins before them, and waited for their repentance. Prophets and messengers were sent to urge God’s claim upon them; but instead of being welcomed, they were persecuted and killed.
As a last resource, God sent His Son, saying, “They will reverence My Son.” But their resistance had made them vindictive, and they said among themselves, “This is the heir; come, let us kill Him.”
Jesus came to assert the claims of the Owner of the vineyard; but He was treated with contempt, saying, We will not have this man to rule over us. They envied Christ’s beauty of character. His manner of teaching was far superior to theirs, and they dreaded His success. He unveiled their hypocrisy, and showed them the sure results of their course of action.
They hated the high standard of righteousness which Christ continually presented. They hated His example of truthfulness and piety and the elevated spirituality revealed in all He did. His whole life was a reproof to their selfishness, and when the final test came, the test which meant obedience unto eternal life or disobedience unto eternal death, they rejected the Holy One of Israel.
When they were asked to choose between Christ and Barabbas, they cried out, “Release unto us Barabbas!” Luke 23:18. And when Pilate asked, “What shall I do then with Jesus?” they cried, “Let Him be crucified.” Matthew 27:22. “Shall I crucify your King?” Pilate asked, and from the priests and rulers came the answer, “We have no king but Caesar.” John 19:15. When Pilate washed his hands, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just person,” the priests joined with the ignorant mob in declaring passionately, “His blood be on us, and on our children.” Matthew 27:24, 25.
- Adapted from Christ Object Lessons