Summary: We continue our study of walking in the footsteps of Jesus. These footsteps lead us to a time when Jesus was rejected. This is of course just the first time; there would be many. In this meesage I deal with how to handle rejection.
“Dealing with Rejection”
If we are honest, every one of us have felt rejection at one time or another. Rejection comes in a variety of forms. Sometimes it sounds like this ...
* from a job interview... you know have great qualifications. I’m sure someone will hire you, but you’re not a good fit for us.
* from a parent ... these grades are fine as long as you want to make minimum wage for the rest of your life.
* or from a coach ... see how he hits the ball. Why can’t you hit the ball that way?
Rejection starts in life at an early age. So get used to it. But somehow we can’t. Mother Teresa said we have drugs for people with diseases like leprosy. But these drugs do not treat the main problem-the disease of being unwanted; rejected. Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible kind of poverty.
The OT tells us that even Jesus, God Himself would be rejected.
Isaiah 53:3 NLT
We continue our study of walking in the footsteps of Jesus. These footsteps lead us to a time when Jesus was rejected. This is of course just the first time; there would be many.
At the beginning of this passage we find that Jesus has just returned to Galilee. The news about Him is spreading rapidly. He taught in their synagogues and the scripture says that everyone praised Him. Then He went to Nazareth “where He had been brought up.” It was His habit/custom to go to the synagogue...it was the Sabbath Day so that is exactly what He did. Someone said, Jesus would you come and read the scripture today? Can you imagine? They handed Him the scroll of Isaiah. He unrolls it and He reads these powerful words.
The Bible then tells us that the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on Jesus and He then says to them...today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. This brings me to my first point this morning. (1) Rejection is not exclusive. All of us get to participate. So don’t be surprised when it happens. You’ve felt it before. So have I. Rejection can be very painful. And no one likes it. We learn in this passage that it even happened to Jesus . Look at v. 22.
There is perhaps something that is difficult about ministering to people who have watched you grow up. The problem is they never seem to be sure that you have ... grown up. They remember you only as a child and they don’t always give you a chance as an adult. This is what was happening to Jesus. Notice the question .... isn’t this Joseph’s son? Jesus obviously overheard them and He says to them in v. 23 “surely you will quote this proverb to me” Physician heal thyself!” Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum. Jesus knew their hearts-He knew their every thought. He also knew their tradition and a part of their tradition was to quote proverbs. These are not from the book of Proverbs in the OT; they were simply sayings that they had preserved orally-not in writing. And Jesus had heard them so many times, He had them memorized and He even knew when to expect them. It’s like Jesus was saying OK I know what you’re going to say so I will just say it for you...Physician heal thyself.
What they were saying was this, Jesus we will believe and follow you...if you will just do things our way. Jesus if you have a calling from God, prove it. Put up or shut up.
As I said rejection is not exclusive. It’s like death and taxes. We all have to face it at some point in life-usually more than once.
(2) Our response to being rejected says volumes about our integrity and our personal witness. Our ability to share Christ effectively. Do not be surprised when you are rejected. Jesus was as well. Look at His response with me. V. 24. No prophet is accepted in his hometown. In other words, it’s that way everywhere. And it is. People tend to look for a word of wisdom, an answer or a solution in outside places. Jesus had the solution-He was right in front of them but they couldn’t see it. So Jesus says let me share a couple of examples with you.
1st example: Elijah. Elijah was known as one of the greatest prophets in all of the OT. Even today when the jews celebrate the Passover meal, they place an empty chair at the table hoping Elijah will return that day. When the Jews celebrate the Passover meal, they place an empty chair at the table hoping Elijah will return and take his place at the table.