Isaiah 53:3 ESV - 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.
Luke 10:16a ESV - “The one who hears you hears Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me…”
One of the most painful realities a person can experience is being rejected. Depending on your personality and childhood, rejection may be the deepest pain imaginable. The pain is often rooted in one’s desire to love or befriend another who in turn rejects that love or friendship. Rejection occurs in marriages, families, workplaces, and sadly among followers of Christ even with one another. The worst thing for an organ transplant patient is rejection - where that which should be life-giving is rejected. Both the transplanted organ and the body will die when there is such rejection.
Jesus experienced deep rejection by those He loved and came to save from the penalty of their sin. But the reality is that people will reject His followers as well. Whether it is in interpersonal relationships or ministry, being rejected is unavoidable. So what do we do? Despair is not the answer.
Mark 14:42-50 NKJV - Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.” 43 And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.” 45 As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, “Rabbi, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.46 Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him. 47 And one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 48 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? 49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then they all forsook Him and fled.
One betrayer was a catalyst for eleven forsakers. The forsakers had opportunity to be reconciled, restored, and relaunched to greater kingdom work. The betrayer was not given such an opportunity to even repent. Have you ever forsaken meaningful relationships because of problems only to realize the problems were instigated by someone else (a betrayer)? Is it possible that someone has forsaken you because of the actions of another betrayer? Though both are painful, can you distinguish between the different levels of wrong perpetrated by betrayers v. forsakers? (Jesus responded to them differently.)
Have you ever been tempted to forsake a valuable relationship because of fear provoked by others (rather than anything the relationship did to deserve being forsaken)? Have you ever forsaken God or His way out of a similar fear provoked by others? What comfort can you draw from the fact that the eleven apostles were restored after forsaking Jesus? What amends and repairs did these forsakers have to do - and how does that apply to us today? Do you see from them that your best days can likewise occur after a “forsaking failure”? How will you draw strength from the truth of Hebrews 4:15-16?
Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV - For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.