Rejection is Not the EndPosted: March 22, 2011
As I prepared to preach from Isaiah 53 to launch the Christ Alone series, God spoke clearly to my heart and challenged me in an area that is a constant battle for me. It might even be my thorn in the flesh.
I have an unhealthy fear of rejection. Sometimes, it’s very unhealthy. Other times, it’s sort of dormant. But, it’s a constant battle.
Isaiah 53:3 says of Jesus that “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief…” The rejection started from early on in His life and carried all the way through to the Cross.
He was rejected by His own family. He was rejected in His hometown. He was rejected by the religious community. He was rejected by the ones He came to save.
How many accounts are there in the gospels of people walking away from Jesus’ invitation to follow Him? One that stands out is John 6 when after His teaching, nearly the entire crowd walked away.
And of course, the ultimate rejection when Peter denies Him, Judas betrays Him, the crowd chants, “Crucify,” and He is mocked and spat upon while He hangs bleeding on a criminal’s Cross. It seems that the earlier rejection was preparation for this ultimate rejection.
For Jesus, rejection was not the end. Yet for me, so many times it is.
Ideas, dreams, plans, goals, etc. seem to fall by the wayside way too easily just because someone walked away, someone said “No,” or something didn’t come through like I thought it would.
Yet, the author of Hebrews encourages us to keep “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrew 12:2). The joy set before Him was pleasing the Father and accomplishing God’s mission for Him, no matter what.
There is no “rejection free” way to please God and accomplish His mission. The question is not, “Will you/I face rejection?” The question is, “Will you/I press through rejection like Jesus did?”
Jesus’ worth was not driven by people’s acceptance or approval of Him. If that were the case, He would have gone stir crazy. His worth came from His Father, who never leaves and never forsakes.
Jesus’ mission was not tied to things being “gee whiz and Hallelujah” all the time. If that were the case, He would have skipped the whole crucifixion event. Just because it gets hard doesn’t mean God’s not in it.
When you’re doing what God has called you to do, rejection doesn’t have to be the end. It wasn’t for Jesus and it doesn’t have to be for you and me either.