Monday, December 10, 2012

Rejection In Nazareth

It is one thing to be rejected by strangers. However rejection by friends, relatives and family members are harder to take. Jesus had a hard time in Nazareth. After his first sermon in his own synagogue, the members tried to kill him by throwing him off the cliff at the edge of the town! Such drastic action in respond to his sermon. And these will be friends, relatives and the townspeople who knew Jesus well. They would have watched him grow up. Joseph’s son he would have been known. And some nasty gossip about his mother being pregnant before the wedding. I wondered how Jesus would have felt. I am sure it would have hurt him badly. But his mission would have sustained him. He quoted “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” (Mark 6:4) This quote showed that Jesus is aware of his role as a prophet.

Even James, his half brother, did not understand Jesus until after his death and resurrection. James went on to be a leader in the Jerusalem church. Rejection by your own family members! His own brothers, sisters and even his mother at one time thought that he was mad. In Matthew 12:46, his family came to take him home.

    MT 12:46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. 47 Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you."

Jesus used this as a teaching moment that “whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matt. 12:50). This statement did not meant that he rejected his family but that he used his mission to deal with the heartbreak he must have felt.

The betrayal kiss by Judas Iscariot must have hurt terribly. Judas who was such a trusted member of his disciples that they even appointed him to be treasurer. Yet, at the moment of this kiss in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus must have known that his friend had betrayed him to torture, humiliation and death.

Being rejected by our own parents, friends, relatives and community is very painful. We will be racked by self doubts. There is also feel a sense of betrayal. Must of all, we would be filled with agony of our rejection. Sometimes it is preferable to be rejected by strangers than by those we love. At such times we often feel lost, nursing our pain and even angry. We despair of ever be understood again. Yet someone does understand. In another garden, God’s creatures rejected their creator. Many years later, these same creatures crucified God incarnate. God’s heart must be broken with pain and sorrow. Yet he still loves us. In the pain of our rejections, let us cling onto him who will never reject us.


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