Christmas Rejected

It was supposed to be a big deal. At least according to the experts. Someone said that it would do to the car what the car did to the horse and buggy. Others said that it would end up being more important than the Internet and more common than the PC.

The experts turned out to be wrong.

In the end, American consumers saw past the hype and rejected the Segway scooter. Well, everyone except for Paul Blart.

For a while, the arrival of Jesus must have seemed like it was suffering an early version of the same fate.

The strange man and young pregnant mother hardly looked like the means by which a mighty warrior would come to save his people. That’s why rejection was such a big part of Jesus’ life, even before he was born. You might find a way to make some room in your inn for a king but not for a pregnant lady and her husband.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:7 (ESV)

As the child grew, rejection became more common. Even from the most unlikely of sources.

And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” Mark 3:21 (ESV)

It’s one thing for a hotel manager to reject you before you’re even born. It’s quite another to be rejected by your own family.

It would get worse.

People would kick him out of their region because he had the audacity to cast demons out of the town lunatic (Mark 5:17). Religious leaders would say that he was the one with the demons (John 8:48-49). During the most difficult stretch of his life, one of his own followers would sell him out (John 18:1-11) while another would pretend to never even know him (John 18:15-18).

So much for the good news about a Savior who would bring deliverance to his people.

At the time of his death, Jesus looked nothing like a savior. He was alone. But the loneliness he experienced was unlike any his people would ever know. He wasn’t just being rejected by family, friends and religious leaders. He was being rejected by his Heavenly Father.

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:45-46 (ESV)

And that’s when we finally start to grasp the powerful story behind this Savior. He didn’t come to be accepted. Rejection was his mission. Rejection from strangers. Rejection from family. Rejection from friends. Finally and more importantly, he would experience a Divine rejection so that his people never would.

A few years ago, the owner of the company that makes Segway scooters died. His body was found at the bottom of a cliff after he drove his Segway over it. It was a tragic end to a story that never quite lived up to the hype.

Two thousand years later, we do not speak of Jesus as a man who never quite lived up to the hype of angel choirs announcing his birth. Instead, we speak of a man who conquered the grave on behalf of his people. We speak of a man who humbled himself and was obedient, even to the point of death.

You may know what it’s like to be rejected by a church, a friend and even a parent or spouse. But Christian, you will never know God’s rejection. All because Jesus came to be rejected for you.

Thank you Jesus, for being rejected.

Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
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.

Isaiah 53:1-3 (ESV)

Merry Christmas!