Dealing with Rejection Luke 4:16-29
October 10, 2018 St. Paul, MN
I’m headed to 8:30 a.m. yoga today—which I am hoping is NOT cancelled like Monday’s class—so my early morning prayer and studies are right at my dining room table. Welcome to my home!
In my Gospel studies, I am now at Luke 4. Yesterday I was at verse 16 and when I realized the story, I put it off until this morning because it is a Biblical message I think of often when I am feeling rejected, out of sorts—like I just don’t fit in. You’ll find this in Luke 4:16-29. Similar versions are in Matthew 13:54-58 and Mark 6:1-6. If you compare the three, you’ll find the one in Luke to be the most impactful—or at least I found it the most interesting.
Let me set this up—after His baptism, Jesus begins His ministry. He just returned from the desert where He fasted for 40 days and the devil tempted Him. He started teaching in Galilee “in the Power of the Spirit” and the people there loved Him. He went back to His home in Nazareth and on the Sabbath, he went to the synagogue. This was nothing unusual for Jesus to go to worship on the Sabbath, but this day He did something out of the ordinary. He stood to read. Opening the scroll to Isaiah, he chose to read the verses that tell of His coming. When done, He rolled up the scroll, returned it, and sat back down, but all eyes are upon Him and then He says, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Bam. He said it. He put it out there. It could not be clearer. The crowd, according to Luke, responds with amazement and then they say, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” Now, that doesn’t seem bad, and it’s not, but what they are really saying and doing is putting down the message and minimizing Him. The message is, “You can’t be the Christ.”
After all, they’d seen this man as a boy probably doing boyish things. If they’d been around any length of time, they’d also seen Him fully dependent on adults for care. Unable to speak, walk, or care for Himself, and they could not take this in. In Matthew and Mark, the reaction isn’t so strong. Jesus basically said, “Prophets are without honor in their hometowns…” He then left, I imagine feeling rejected, but in Luke, MAN-O-MAN, does it get crazy.
Jesus boldly stands there talking of how Elijah was rejected, and they could have used Elijah’s teachings and healings. This stirs the crowd. Luke 4:29 says they tried to move Jesus to a high area to throw Him off the cliff. WHAT? Whoa. But then Jesus just walks through them in the middle of town. This little trick of escape is something you’ll find Jesus does in future chapters too.
This is what I find so inspirational in this story—whenever I feel rejected, like I can’t fit in—when I don’t belong and the value I think God wants me to offer isn’t accepted, I think of Jesus in this story. The people he’d counted on most of His life to love and nurture Him wouldn’t, or maybe couldn’t, hear the power of what He shared. His own brother James didn’t believe Him until after the resurrection.
There are two things I take away from this—one, if people in my current group are not embracing the message I know God has placed on my heart, if they are not supporting and encouraging me, it’s okay. It just means that it’s time to move on. I need not be angry at them for what they can’t accept or embrace. God uses these changes in attitude to move us where we need to be.
Which brings me to point two—this rejection got Jesus moving all over the countryside to spread the Word. Had He been accepted at home and stayed there, the impact of His ministry would have been diminished. This reaction, mentioned in three of the four Gospels, is testament to the fact that God will even use rejection to help guide us to the people and places where we can be of maximum use.
If you have a calling on your life, if you feel a passion in your heart, do NOT let rejection get in your way. God placed it there because you, and only you, can do that work. Let Jesus be your guide. Just walk right through it to where He needs you to be, and don’t worry. There are many of us out there just like you that were NOT embraced in our hometown. It’s all part of the process. It’s all part of the miracle.
Dearest Heavenly Father, You are the Creator of good. In each of our hearts You have placed a passion, a dream, a vision—please guide us on how to get there and should obstacles arise, please help us to walk right through it, unencumbered with anger, resentment, and fear. We will accomplish much in and through You. In Your Holy and Mighty name….
I hope that one touched you. I know I need that reminder often. I love you and if you have prayer requests, please bring them forward.