Think of how many people in the first century had the opportunity to become children of God. For the four hundred years prior to the coming of John the Baptist, God had said nothing to anyone on the earth. The silence must have been deafening! Every man needs God, yet He said nothing to them. Then in the wilderness of Judea appeared a man dressed in the skin of camels. His voice cried out and the people knew that God had broken His silence. Men were about to be given the chance to be brought even closer to God.
The response was remarkable. “Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins” (Matt. 3:5-6). When Jesus began His public teaching the impact was truly amazing. “The Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John” (John 4:2). The multitudes flocked to Him so that the only way one man of short stature could even get a glimpse of Him was to climb a tree, hoping Jesus would come that way.
When the Lord sent out the apostles and the seventy on their limited journey, even more could learn about Him in their own villages. Could anyone ever say they had not heard?
Yet they crucified Him! They saw His miracles; they sat at His feet; they heard His words! But that time came in their lives when life’s circumstances changed and all they knew of Him meant nothing. They saw His miracles, yet they killed Him. We are so perplexed how this could ever happen.
It is still happening! Every sermon has those who hear about Him and turn away. They know the words being spoken are the words of truth, but they ignore them. Every church has been amazed when those who once were leaders in the church—elders, deacons, preachers, teachers—leave it all behind and go back to the world! It is still happening.
The words of Solomon seem to sum it all up. “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, ‘See, this is new’? It has already been in ancient times before us” (Ecc. 1:9-10). Truth does not change. The nature of man does not change. The way men respond to truth does not change!
What does that have to do with us? We must not forget how easily we could be like them. We must nurture and feed our faith every day. “Let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall!”