High School graduates all over the world are receiving letters of acceptance or rejection for college. Every day they sift through the mail in hopes of finding that one letter that says “ACCEPTED”. No one likes to hear “We reviewed your application, but…” While rejection is a part of life, it doesn’t make it easier to hear. Today we look at a moment in Jesus’ life where He faced rejection from those who knew Him through His life. As you live your life following Jesus, not everyone will accept what you believe. However, we must walk tall and stay strong!
Jesus claimed to be the Spirit-Filled Messiah promised by Isaiah. (Luke 4:14-22)
From the viewpoint of the Pharisees Jesus was making a claim they felt He was unworthy to make: He was the Messiah! The reference is from Isaiah and was understood to point to the Messiah. When Jesus said that the scripture had been fulfilled in their sight, the Pharisees could not believe it! This was the carpenter’s son from Nazareth. Philip had asked what good could come from Nazareth. Yet, here stands this man making a claim of Messiah.
From the perspective of the people, they were excited! Living under Roman physical oppression and Pharisaic religious oppression, the people were ready to be set free. They were ready to find relief as Jesus was describing. But that would soon end because Jesus continued to speak truth, which they did not like so much!
Jesus faced rejection from His people, just like the prophets. (Luke 4:23-27)
There are really only 2 dominate views in this world: God/Bible and anything else. For some that will read that statement, you experienced a twinge of agitation. I believe that even those who AGREE with it face that fractional moment of hesitation because everything around us is expressing a different view. While some will, like us, say that theirs is the only way, most today give room for all faiths and beliefs to find their way to Heaven. The bumper stickers of “COEXIST” are far more accepted than those that state Jesus is the only way!
As long as Jesus was talking about economic, political, and even spiritual freedom the people were favorable. When he narrowed the view that HE was the fulfillment they were furious. As long as we talk about generic good deeds and thoughts we can all get along. However, when we begin to speak scripture and narrow the view to the point that Jesus is not just the way, but the ONLY way we will not be favored any longer. It is critical that followers of Jesus understand and accept this as normal. Too often Christians have not taken root in the soil of scripture deep enough to withstand drought and heat. They wither and die off because they are not prepared for such harsh conditions. It is the church’s responsibility to nourish and prepare them.
There is a story about a landscaper that noticed one of the bushes was not growing they way it should in comparison to the others. One day the workers came to him about it and he did something they could not believe. He went and beat that bush with a stick. He absolutely got after it. Winded he sat down while the workers came and inquired. Some bushes need a difficult moment to wake up and begin to dig down for the water and life.
So it is with us, too. We pray for the peace. We pray for the positive. We pray for the absence of conflict. However, you will never grow in those conditions. The difficult times develop you.
Jesus continued His ministry despite His people’s rejection. (Luke 4:28-30)
Sometimes those who know us best are the hardest to believe in our transformation. They know our history. They may have shared in our history of which we are not proud. For them, a simple statement of change will not be enough. We must be patient and show ourselves true to the cause.
We cannot get down just because those closest to us don’t want to hear. We cannot quit just because those closest to us bring up our past problems and failures. Don’t revel in them, but live in the forgiveness of God! We can shock them when we simply accept what responsibility is ours to own. Through the difficulty, God can shine.