If you want to feel rejected, just try offering carrots to a first-grade class. I was recently given this task at an Easter party. When confronted with the choice between a carrot and a cupcake, which do you think most first graders will choose? If you said cupcake then you are correct (and if you said carrot then I would like to know where you are finding these first graders). If the carrot is offered with enough high-fat Ranch dressing, then you might have a shot at persuasion. But even then, it is quite likely that the question, “Would you like carrots?” will be met with a perplexed look and a side-to-side movement of the head.
All of us have had times in our lives when we’ve been rejected. To be rejected is to extend an offer but to be left holding the offer. I can hold out a carrot in hopes that another hand will take the carrot. But if it is my hand which ultimately ends up holding the carrot, then I have been rejected.
We know the feeling of rejection. At times the rejection we face is over things that are rather insignificant. Other times, it might be over something very significant.
Jesus came into the world and experienced the gamut of emotions which we have in life. One of those is the feeling of rejection. In the Gospel of John, we read, “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him” (John 1:11 ESV). John 1:1-18 is the prologue to the Gospel of John. In other words, it introduces the events which will take place throughout the Gospel. Jesus lived a life of rejection. Jesus is rejected by family. He is rejected by the religious and political leaders. And He is even at times rejected by His disciples.
But long before the first chapter of the Gospel of John, we discover that God’s Servant will be one who suffers. The poetry of Isaiah 53:3 expresses the following:
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
The rejection of Jesus did not cease at the cross. The rejection of Jesus continued through the rest of the 1 st century. In fact, the rejection of Jesus continues through to the 21 st century. Still today, Jesus is rejected. And I’m not just talking about the people “out there.” I’m talking about those of us “in here” including myself. When we choose sin over the Savior, we have “esteemed him not” as it says in Isaiah.
But there is good news. God offers forgiveness. For-give-ness is something which is given. It’s a gift. Jesus’ hands were stretched out on the cross. Those outstretched hands present to us a gift. It is the gift of “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Don’t reject it for something which seems sweeter and tempting in the present moment. Accept what is being offered. It is the best thing you can do for your spiritual health (Romans 6:1-4).