And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with you, Jesus, you Son of the most high God? I adjure you by God…
Universally we judge of instincts, or the qualities and dispositions which make up natural character, as we see the creature brought into relation or juxtaposition with something else, and observe, "What it will do with it." Especially is this true of man. This is just what makes up his probation. God has placed him in this world that he may show forth his character, and work out his own future condition, as he rightly uses or abuses it. Different men use the same material, or implement, or opportunity either for good or for evil. From the same forest and quarry one man builds a hospital, and another a gambling hell. Out of the grain from the same harvest field one man leavens wholesome bread, and another distils a destroying beverage. With the same ink and type and press, one prints Huxley's blasphemies, and another God's Bibles. And while in all this perhaps few men are conscious that they are achieving their probation, yet verily they are. God has brought them into these conditions that the universe may see what the man "will do with them." And according as he does evil or good, he displays his character and decides his own destiny.
I. NOW THIS, IN REGARD OF ALL THINGS, EVEN SECULAR AND SOCIAL, IS THE GREAT LAW OF LIFE. BUT HOW MUCH MORE IS ITS SOLEMNITY INCREASED WHEN IT HAS TO DO WITH MATTERS RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL? The question, in its first connection, was addressed to Christ; and its must significant application is to the case of impenitent and ungodly men who, with a like question, turn away from the gospel. "Oh," say some men, "I have nothing to do with it! I am not a professing Christian! I never joined any Church! What, then, is all this to me? What have I to do with the gospel of Christ?" But, alas, for their false logic! they have something to do with it. Their indifference cannot alter their relations to the gospel. Those relations grow out of character and condition. I can imagine a foolish man cherishing a settled dislike to the great law of gravitation, overlooking its beneficent results as working out, from the rounding of a dew drop to the rounding of a star — from the graceful equipoise of a lily's leaf to the harmonies of the stupendous systems of the universe — all the grand and gracious processes and phenomena of creation — overlooking all this, and thinking that but for its restraining power he might spring up as a pure spirit into the boundless expanse of heaven, and wander at will from star to star through immensity. I can conceive of such an one as disliking that great law, and in his insane hate blaspheming the Omnipotence which devised it. But what of that? Can the man escape from it? Will God have respect to his perverted taste, and annihilate that glorious force whereon depend all the beauties and harmonies of the universe? Oh, surely not. And just so it is of religion. It is that irresistible law of God under which all immortal creatures live. In the very nature of things, retribution must follow every act and experience of probation. Its solemn elements are two fold. First, there is a loss of all the unspeakable blessings which the gospel offers. Consider again these natural analogies. Take the law of gravitation. And the foolish man says: — "I do not like that law; it is the law of falling bodies; it dashes men down precipices; it brings the destroying avalanche upon human habitations; I will let it alone!" But not so a wise man. He says, I will have something to do with it; it makes the pendulum vibrate; I will set it to keep time for me; it gives momentum to the watercourses, it shall grind for me as a mill. And so of all the natural forces of the universe: by diligently working with them we secure immense benefits. What if a child, lost in a dangerous forest in the stormy night, amid ravening beasts and howling tempests, catching through the darkness the gleam of torches and the accents of gentle voices, and beholding the face of the father who, in agonizing love, had come forth to seek and save him, instead of springing joyfully into those outstretched arms, should turn away with the despising cry, "What have I to do with thee?" What would you call it but madness? And yet immeasurably greater is the madness of the impenitent man who rejects the precious Saviour; for the sinner's danger is more terrible, and the Saviour's love more tender.
II. IN THIS REJECTION OF THE GOSPEL YOU INCUR TERRIBLE GUILT. That gospel is not merely an invitation, but as well a sovereign mandate. The gospel is a law, and no law of God is ever violated with impunity. You may not believe in God's ordinances of health; but if you make your bed in a lazar house you will be stricken with pestilence. You may laugh to scorn God's law of great forces; but if you launch your bark above Niagara, it will sweep you to destruction. Alas! for this folly of infidelity and atheism! It may be effectual in persuading its abettor to have nothing to do with God, but is utterly powerless in persuading God to have nothing to do with him. Retribution is an awful thought, and an awful truth. But the aspect in which our text sets forth the neglect of the gospel is that of the utter folly of rejecting a great blessing.
(C. Wadsworth, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.