Nobody likes the idea of being rejected or having to face rejection. Rejection is one of those things that affects us deeply and the fear of it often has a bearing on what we do and how much effort we devote to whatever we decide to do. To our encouragement, rejection was something Jesus dealt with every day. On a particular occasion when He returned to His hometown of Nazareth, He was rejected and ridiculed by His own people. The bible says of this occasion:
“Jesus went out from there and *came into His hometown; and His disciples *followed Him. When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household” (Mk. 6:1-4).
Jesus was rejected because of His teachings and His wisdom which was from above. They rejected Him because He did not meet their expectations and they were offended because of this. Jesus, however, was not bothered by such rejection given that there were much more important things on His mind. Those who follow Jesus will undoubtedly face ridicule and rejection as well. There is really no way to prepare for the way someone ridicules our rejects us but what we can control is how we respond to that and how we move on. We learn what to do from Jesus. Even though He faced strong opposition from His own people, He continued to love them and He continued to do God’s work ultimately offering His life on the cross for our sins and the sins of all man.
If Jesus became overly concerned about rejection or if He gave in to the fear of being rejected again, would He have gone through with His mission? And if He didn’t, where would we be? The bible tells us in Heb. 12:2 what kind of attitude our Lord had: “…who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”Jesus persevered and He endured knowing what the execution of His mission would bring about. We need focus more on the goal and the end result instead of getting bogged down in the temporary and false expectations of man. There is no doubt that rejection hurts and it can be extremely painful. But what will we gain by wallowing in such things? We will waste our time and give our enemies the upper hand. We must instead look to Jesus and run the race with perseverance and optimism.
We need to also consider that ultimately when one of God’s little ones is rejected, it is ultimately Him that they are rejecting. When Jesus was rejected, He proclaimed that they were rejecting the One who sent Him speaking of God. We are called to be lights in a dark world and the salt of the earth. We are God’s messengers and He will hold everyone accountable for the way they treat us and the manner they treat His word and His name. Jesus considered it a privilege and great esteem to suffer for the sake of salvation. Rejection was just a small part of that. We will be rejected and everyone faces rejection at some point in their lives. The greatest rejection, however, is the one that can come from God. That is the rejection everyone should fear the most! When we choose to reject the offer to obey God’s gospel, we are one step closer to being turned away by Him. May we accept the gospel and its power to save and may we all strive to be like Jesus. May we seek the approval of God and not man.