Rejection takes many forms. Get fired from a job. Get dumped from a relationship. Get passed over for promotion. You’re told, “You’re no good, get out of here, no one wants you, hit the road, pack your bags.” Prom is coming and no one asks you out. You don’t get the bid for the job. You’re picked last for the team. Your friends go out for a night on the town and don’t call you. Rejection hurts.
Jesus was rejected. He came to His home town and on the Sabbath He began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. He was rejected by those who knew Him. It was their arrogance and lack of faith that held Christ in a low light. “He’s just a blue-collar low-life, with no father to speak of, and his siblings are nothing to brag about.” 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. He went on to be rejected by the religious leaders and his close friend Peter. The crowds cried, “Crucify!” Eventually, it ended up in His rejection on the cross and being forsaken by His Father.
Rejection is a stinging and lingering pain, to be cast out, unwanted. It is exhausting, lonely, and hurtful, wanting acceptance and belonging. Without Christ, we are rejected before God, because of our sin. You have no right to stand before Him. You are an enemy of God, and it is our sin that rejects Him. We commit two evils, to reject God and the fountain of living waters, and to carve out broken jars for ourselves that can hold no water. We rebel against God, by nature and by choice. We reject Him and we deserve His rejection, His punishment, His wrath.
But the good news is Christ was rejected for your sin, taking on your sin, so that you may live. He went to the cross to pay the price, so you would not be rejected by God. Christ is rejected in your place. He bears the pain of rejection so that you may be accepted. You have new life with God in and through Christ, if you believe. You are not rejected. He calls you, “Friend.” He faced rejection for you, because of you. You are accepted and you can confidently face rejection. The gospel gives you hope when you are suffering pain and rejection.
As long as you live in this world, you will face rejection, even from friends and loved ones. Jesus does not promise a life free from pain, but He understands. He is with you and for you if you are His. He will deliver you and receive you as His own.