Friday, August 5, 2016


Being rejected is one reason which keeps many people from achieving greatness. Actual rejection allows us to understand the emotions of being rejected, but the threat of rejection is the source of many fears. A few individuals are able to use the fear of rejection as motivation to overcome their fears as the world will likely hear many times over the next two with the commencement of the Olympic Games.

The pain of rejection is real regardless of the reason for being rejected (e.g. a deficiency in skill, in understanding, or any number of matters). But rejection can be particularly painful if it comes from a certain source. Often times those that know us best are those that may hurt us most. When a family member or a close friend rejects us for any reason, the sting can last for years. And while the pain is bad enough when the rejection results from something that is true, it is even worse when it is a matter of misunderstanding, or is completely false.

That is the case for us, and it was the case for Jesus. After His baptism, Jesus spent most of the first portion of His ministry in Galilee, mostly in the vicinity of Capernaum. The gospel writer, Mark, often mentions the crowd that followed Jesus. Their purpose in following Him was for a variety of reasons – miracle mongers, interested investigators, faithful followers, etc., but His popularity – good and bad – was not in doubt. Yet, after a string of four major miracles (calming the sea, healing of demoniac, healing of woman with issue of blood, and raising Jairus’ daughter), Mark writes that Jesus went back to His boyhood home – where He was rejected. The people there could not believe that this carpenter could be so wise, especially because of the report of how He was conceived. (Their skeptism was true before He was even born!) The rejection was from the people in His town, the people who were relatives, and even the people in His own home (Mark 6.4). Their rejection of Jesus was so complete that He could/did not perform many miracles there. The Bible says He marveled (was amazed) at their lack of faith.

Rejection was the case for Jesus then, and it still exists now. While we may not have Jesus walking around in the flesh proclaiming the news of God’s Kingdom as well as performing all sorts of miracles today, we have the stories of old, and the testimonies of many today that show He is still alive and at work in the lives of those who choose Him. And that is the essence of the matter – we must make a choice. We can choose Jesus, or we can reject Him. The choice is as simple as that, but the implications of either choice is beyond a complete understanding.

To choose against Jesus will ultimately lead to never being able to choose again.

To choose for Jesus means another choice must be made:
  • to observe His commands. And then, another choice...
  • to share His story. And then, another choice...
  • to serve. And then, another choice
  • to make disciples. And then, each of these choices must be made daily (Luke 9.23).

The easy choice seems to be to reject Jesus. This choice seems to have no further effects. To choose Jesus, on the other hand, seems to be full of demanding choices. However, it is a matter of perspective. By choosing Jesus we are really given the opportunity to make further choices. By choosing to follow Jesus, He gives us the ability to observe, share, serve, and make disciples of others who were one like so many of us – filled with helplessness and despair because of being rejected by others. And Jesus did not reject you or me; He died for you AND me so we could have hope.

Remember, we do not like to be rejected, and neither does Jesus. So, make your choice to follow Jesus. Is it easy? No. And people will reject those who follow Jesus. But the reward is worth it in the long run. And, in the short run, by choosing Jesus, each of us has a great opportunity to provide hope and encouragement to others who have faced a lifetime of rejection.

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