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Summary: It’s only when I come to Him that I find the strength to deal with the events & crises of my life.

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MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER

CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX

A. In last week’s sermon we opened the Book of Revelation to that verse where Jesus is called the Root & bright Morning Star. This morning we’re going to look at a very tender & moving passage in the Gospel of Matthew that shows Jesus as a rejected lover.

Have you ever been rejected by someone you loved? Have you ever felt the pain & emptiness of unrequited love?

ILL. Dennis Slaughter, minister of Valley View Christian Church in Dallas, once told about the first great love of his life. And I am sure that he told it with a smile on his face & a twinkle in his eye. Listen to his story.

"It was the summer of 1949, & as a 8th-grade boy I had fallen hopelessly in love with Nancy, one of my classmates. Somehow I had managed to get a picture of her & I took that picture with me to Boy Scout Camp. At camp most of the guys had girlfriends & we spent a lot of time looking at our pictures & daydreaming. I daydreamed what it would be like to hold Nancy in my arms & to whisper sweet little nothings in her ears. My love for her was deep, oh so deep.

"Then I came home from camp & again & again invited Nancy to go with me to various activities. She did go a few times, but not all that often. And by time school started again in the fall, I knew the pain of rejected love.

"But it wasn’t long until another classmate, Violet, became the real love of my life. She & I dated all through high school, & after we graduated, Violet & I were married. But Nancy didn’t get married for a long time. She remained single, & I thought probably it was because she had finally realized her great mistake in losing me.

"The years passed, & from some of our classmates I learned that Nancy had finally married & was living in Boston. Since Violet & I were planning on a trip to New England I wrote her, & the end result was that we made arrangements for a stopover in Boston to visit Nancy & her new husband.

"I hadn’t seen Nancy for well over 20 years. We flew to Boston & Nancy was to meet us at the airport. I thought about what our meeting would be like. I imagined how Nancy, down deep in her heart, might want to come running to me & throw her arms around me saying, `Oh, Dennis, I made a terrible mistake. I should have loved you. But now it’s too late, & my life is ruined.’ And I wondered if she would be able to control her emotions.

"`But,’ Dennis says, `nothing like that happened at all. In fact it was a little awkward at first as we became reacquainted. Then we went to a restaurant & soon were reminiscing about our childhood & school experiences. Finally, my curiosity got the best of me, so I asked her, `Nancy, do you remember the summer of 1949?’ And she said, `What?’ "I said, `The summer of 1949.’ `Not really,’ she said. `What happened in the summer of 1949?’

"I said, `That’s the summer after we were in the 8th grade & everybody was talking about what an item we were & how we were just made for each other, & all that kind of stuff.’ `Really?’ she said. `In the summer of 1949?’

Dennis finished his story by saying, "That summer had lived in my memory all these years, but she had no memory of it at all. For her it was just a blank spot. She couldn’t even remember it."

Oh, the pain of unrequited love. Have you ever experienced it?

B. Perhaps one of the tenderest passages in all the Bible is Matthew 23:37-39 where Jesus is standing outside Jerusalem with His arms extended in a loving invitation, saying,

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets & stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, `Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’"

It’s a very emotional scene. Jesus is looking at people who really need what He has to give. They’re caught up in a stressful world, filled with anxiety & despair, searching for meaning & purpose in life.

And Jesus stands there, offering them everything they need. But they’re not willing to come to Him. They reject His love. John writes in John 1:11 that Jesus "came unto His own & His own received Him not."

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