He was in the world and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. John 1: 10 – 13
When our children were growing up, one of the hardest things for me to deal with as a parent were the times when they felt rejected by others. It was painful to know that they were being tossed aside, ignored, mocked, or teased by their friends and classmates – even if it was for just a short time.
We, as parents, hurt for them because we have experienced it ourselves – as children and as adults – and we understand how they feel. It’s human nature for all of us to want to be accepted, valued, and appreciated by those around us, and when we aren’t, it can cause distress.
With age, thankfully, we’ve gained a little more wisdom and realize that sometimes we just have to accept that life isn’t always just and fair. But that doesn’t make it any easier to watch our children going through these painful situations. We want to take their hurt and insecurities away and make them feel better, but sometimes we just can’t.
As we remember His time on earth, I can’t help but think of how Jesus must have felt. Even though He was God’s Son, He came in human form with all the emotions that we experience. He knew how He would be received, but I wonder if we are ever prepared for the pain of rejection.
It was prophesied in Isaiah 53: 3-4 almost 500 years earlier: “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering, like one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrow. . .”
For centuries God’s people had been told that He would send them a Messiah, a King who would set up His kingdom and make all the wrongs in the world right. John the Baptist prepared the way for him, and yet when Jesus came, despite His marvelous signs, His authoritative teaching, even His death and resurrection, many of His people did not recognize or receive Him. He was not what they had expected or wanted – not a lowly child born in a manger. They wanted a Messiah, a royal king who would come and deliver them from their Roman bondage and set up an earthly kingdom of peace and freedom, in which they would be permitted to help rule.
When Jesus made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, many began to believe that He was the One, but then when He allowed Himself to be arrested, tried, and crucified on a cross, some of those same followers stopped believing that He was the promised Messiah. He felt the pain of their rejection, and He felt the pain of the cross for us.
Yet, He came with faith in His Father that He would do what He was sent to do. As His own people rejected him, God made it possible for the Gentiles to receive the message, and we too became His people.
We know this Savior. We acknowledge this Messiah and welcome Him into our hearts. We are His children because of our faith in Him.
So many in the world still reject Him, after all his miraculous signs, after all His wise teachings, after He gave His life for us on the cross, after His resurrection and entry into heaven with His Father, and after all His love and blessings to us, they still fail to recognize Him as our Savior and eternal King.
How painful that rejection must feel – not so much for Himself, but for those He longs to save! How sad for so many to miss out on His loving presence and the life only He can give. If they only knew that what His people once hoped for and wanted will someday come about – a kingdom in which He will reign with peace, freedom, justice, and everlasting life.
Our eternal God and Creator of heaven and earth, thank you for sending your Son to us, to give us the gift of your grace and love. Help those who don’t recognize Him to open their hearts to Him and receive His redeeming love. May our hearts recognize the significance of our Savior’s life and death in our own lives as the Easter season approaches. Thank you for the gift of life and its many blessings. Amen