Paradoxical Kingdom – Rejection & Community
Rejection hurts. There are very few ways to ease the sting. You were meant to live in community. So, when you’re rejected from it, it can affect you to the core. Fear, doubt, and shame can have a blast wreaking havoc in your mind and heart. So, you avoid it at all costs.
The world tells you that if you are rejected, you are unworthy to be a part of it. You aren’t cool, wealthy, pretty, fit, or smart enough to participate. You don’t measure up. You’re too weird. So, you’re out. Have you experienced that before?
Having a relationship with Jesus isn’t easy. It comes with a big sign that reads, “Get ready for rejection!” Jesus clearly told His disciples in Luke 10:16, “Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
Jesus, your Saviour, faced the worst rejection. He was rejected by the Jewish king since birth, having to flee to Egypt for a time. He was rejected by His hometown, by the religious leaders, and by many other Jews throughout His lifetime. Very few people accepted Him. In fact, the ones that did were mostly all people who were rejected by society too: tax collectors, prostitutes, shepherds, fishermen, mentally and physically ill, Gentiles.
“This Jesus is
the stone rejected by you builders,
which has become the cornerstone.
12 There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:11-12
Thankfully, Jesus was rejected and killed so that He could become your Saviour and free you from the bondage of sin. But with that comes a cost to all those who follow Him.
“… “It is necessary that the Son of Man suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day.”
23 Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:22-23
If you’re a follower of Jesus, that means that you’ll be rejected by the world as well. You’re too weird to fit in. You don’t accept the things the world does. You’re too much of a ‘goodie-two-shoes’.
Jesus’ story doesn’t make sense in the world’s eyes. Every other religion makes its’ followers constantly try to earn something, ignore any moral compass, or better themselves in order to obtain their gods’ favour. We know as Christians that those are unachievable pursuits. The acceptance of Jesus frees us from that because, unlike other religions, our God pursues us instead. He died for us, loves us unconditionally by the debt of sin Jesus paid on our behalf. We always want to work at doing things well for Jesus and obeying Him, but it should be out of a place of wanting to deepen that relationship, rather than feeling chained to perfectionism in order to be accepted.
Rejection is a really hard issue in most parts of the world for Christians. Many face extreme persecution for choosing Jesus. They lose family over it, are beaten, stolen from, and at times killed for it. It seems so strange when our entire message is a gospel of peace.
However, the graciousness and goodness of God shows you that you have family to turn to when you make that decision. The tax collectors, prostitutes, and others that chose to leave the world’s views behind and follow after Jesus, became each other’s family. They were adopted into the family of God, and if you follow Jesus, you are too.
“For just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all given one Spirit to drink.
Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-13,27
By choosing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you have entered into the body of Christ. Each person makes up many pieces of that body (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-27), but altogether represent the entire body of Jesus. All of our gifts fitting together to show what Jesus is like to the world.
“He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One.” Ephesians 1:5
The gospel and Jesus’ death and resurrection were not only intended for the Israelites. They were intended for anyone in the world who wanted a relationship with Jesus. By coming into a relationship with Jesus, you are officially adopted into Jesus’ family with Him. That includes people from every nation and tribe.
“For there is no favoritism with God.” Romans 2:11 – meaning it doesn’t matter where you came from or what you’ve done, He will accept you just as much as anyone else. You are incredibly special and unique in His eyes with a full measure, just as much as each of His adopted children. It’s a mysterious and wonderful thought.
“16 The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, 17 and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” Romans 8:16-17
Your community/adoption as Christ’s follower makes you His son/daughter. That means that you are now a coheir with Christ, accepting the inheritance God has granted Him. You will suffer in this life, including varying levels of rejection, but you’ll also have the support, peace, and assurance that you have a massive family around the world cheering you on towards your home in heaven, where we’ll all be together in one loud, crazy, home party!
“Just one thing: As citizens of heaven, live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, in one accord, contending together for the faith of the gospel,” Philippians 1:27 (underline added)