Luk_19:12; Luk_19:14. A certain nobleman went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return—But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
THERE is scarcely any one to be found who does not imagine he loves God. Men form erroneous notions of the Deity, and then approve of him as corresponding with their views of his character. But, if all his attributes were faithfully set before them, they would rather turn from him with hatred and disgust. The Jews conceived, that, when their Messiah should come, they should all be ready to welcome his arrival. But, when he really did come, and declared that his kingdom was not of this world, they poured contempt upon him, and persecuted him unto death. To shew them this conduct of theirs was foreseen, our blessed Lord advertised them of it before it came to pass. And, to rectify their views, spake to them the parable before us.
“The nobleman who went into a far country to receive a kingdom,” represented our Lord Jesus Christ—
[We are not to look for any hidden meaning in the title here given him: but it was well suited to the Lord Jesus as the only- begotten Son of God [Note:
.]. His journey “to a far country to receive a kingdom,” to us appears dark; but to a Jew, it would be exceeding clear and apposite. The ecclesiastical and civil governors were at that time appointed by the Roman emperor; and were frequently sent for, either to be confirmed in their authority, or to answer for their abuse of it. This was well known to the Jewish nation; so that, as applied to the Messiah, the allusion would appear both obvious and elegant. The Lord Jesus, though he was a king from the very hour of his birth (for he was “born King of the Jews”), never assumed any thing of royal dignity, but lived in so mean a condition, that sometimes “he had not even where to lay his head.” But on his ascension to heaven, he was “exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour [Note: Act_5:31.],” and was invested with authority over all the powers of heaven, earth, and hell [Note: Eph_1:20-22.].”]
The conduct of the citizens towards this nobleman marks the conduct which would be observed towards the Lord Jesus both by Jews and Gentiles—
[They “hated him,” we are told, “and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.” Thus the Jews treated our blessed Lord whilst he was yet in the midst of them; for they even put him to death for making himself a king, and declared, that they “had no king but Csesar.” And after his ascension they strove to the uttermost to prevent the establishment of his kingdom upon earth, persecuting to imprisonment and death all who called themselves his subjects.
And what is the treatment which he receives from us at this day? The conduct of those citizens, as expressed in their message, marked deliberation, union, virulence: and with these is our conduct very clearly stamped. Our rejection of Christ is not sudden or occasional, but constant and uniform — — — Nor is it peculiar to any one description of persons, but is found in all of every rank and every age — — — Nor is there any other thing under heaven which so kindles the wrath of men, or instigates them to such implacable animosity, as this; “Ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake,” and “whosoever killeth you, shall think he doeth God service”— — —]
The recompence awarded to them by him, shews what all the enemies of Christ must expect at his hands—
[He said to his attendants, “Bring hither those that were mine enemies, and would not that I should reign over them, and slay them before me [Note: ver. 27.].” So when our blessed Lord shall come to judge the world, will he say to his attendant angels. He bore long with the Jews before he destroyed them: and so he may do with us. But he inflicted on them at last a judgment heavier far than ever befell any nation under heaven. And on us also at last, when the day of grace has terminated, shall wrath come to the very uttermost. Now every repenting sinner shall be spared and made partaker of his mercy: but then no pity shall be shewn to any impenitent transgressor; but all without exception shall have the cup of God’s indignation put into their hands, and shall drink of it to all eternity. If the sword that smites his rebellious subjects were to put an end to their existence, it were well: but the death which it inflicts will be attended with an agony of which no conception can be formed, and of which there shall be no mitigation or end so long as God himself shall endure.]
And now let me make my appeal to you:
Has not this been your conduct?
[The kingdom of Christ has been set up amongst you, and you have all been repeatedly called upon to submit to his sceptre. But who amongst you have thrown away the weapons of your rebellion? Who have renounced “the lords which have hitherto had dominion over them, and determined henceforth to make no mention of any other name than that of Christ [Note: Isa_26:13.]?” Who account “his yoke light and easy,” and desire to have every thought of their hearts subjected to the obedience of Christ? You cannot but know that from your very earliest days, your own will, rather than his, has been the rule of your action; and that, instead of humbling yourselves before him, and seeking mercy through his atoning blood, you have maintained a stoutness of heart, most of you, at least, even to the present hour. I am well aware, that all have not equally avowed their independence on him, or proceeded to the same extremities in their rebellion against him: but whether you have rejected him with Pharisaic pride or with Sadducean indifference, the effect has been the same; you have equally in your hearts said, “Who is Lord over us?” “I know not the Lord, neither will I obey his voice.” I warn you then, that though he has with astonishing patience and long-suffering borne with you hitherto, the time is shortly coming when he will call you to account; and when, if you persist in your rebellion, he will say, “Bring hither those that were mine enemies, who would not that I should reign over them, and slay them before me.”]
Is not this your desert?
[We are apt to wonder at the Jews, that they could treat with such envenomed hostility a man like our blessed Saviour, so mild, so benevolent, so blameless. But their guilt is not to be compared with ours, whose views of his character are incomparably more enlarged. They saw him but as a man. We know him to be God as well as man, even “Emmanuel, God with us.” They knew not the true end of his coming into the world: we know that he came “to give his life a ransom for us,” and by his own obedience unto death to make reconciliation for us with our offended God. We even profess to believe in him, and to be his obedient followers: and yet, in our conduct, we shew ourselves “enemies to him in our minds by wicked works,” even as they. What then can we expect but that the sword of vengeance shall be drawn forth against us, and that, when we shall stand before him in the last day, he will bid us to “depart accursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Dear brethren, I pray God you may not, by persisting in your rebellion, reduce yourselves to this awful condition. Now, if you will submit yourselves to him, he will be gracious and merciful unto you, and will “blot out your iniquities as a morning cloud;” but if you suffer this day of grace and salvation to pass unimproved, you will deplore it to all eternity: for “how can ye escape, if ye neglect so great salvation?”]