“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” [John 1:11 (NIV2011)].
Jesus knew from the very beginning that He would be rejected by the very people He came to save. He fulfilled the prophesy of Isaiah with reference to the Messiah found in Isaiah 53:3:, “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces, he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”
Mark 3:21 gives us a window to the depth of rejection Jesus must have felt: “When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” It is one thing to be rejected by people you don’t know and who don’t know you. It is rejection of the deepest sort when you are rejected by your family and closest friends. Yet, that was what happened to Jesus.
The first time he preached in the synagogue in Nazareth, the people with whom He had grown up became offended at Jesus and attempted to push Him off a steep cliff. They not only rejected Him, but they sought to rid their village of the very memory of his presence.
Why did they reject Jesus? Jesus was rejected because He didn’t fulfill their image of what the Messiah would be like. They wanted a Messiah who would outdo Rome. Jesus came manifesting self- sacrificing love to all. This wasn’t the kind of Messiah they wanted.
They wanted a Messiah who would change their circumstances, but not change them. Jesus came to change their hearts until holy love flowed from their lives; love that would change the circumstance and lives of other people.
They wanted Jesus to display power through miracles and signs to satisfy their carnal desires. How much are we like the people to whom Jesus came? Don’t we want God to change our circumstances and other people’s character? Jesus taught the reversal of this procedure. He came to change us so He could change the circumstances of others. Are you following Him?
—Written by Rev. Ivan L. Schwenn, 2019—