Derek continues looking at kinds and causes of rejection such as an orphan might experience, or the break-up of a marriage, or self-rejection. He then looks at the remedy… the cross, where Jesus experienced first rejection from His own people, the Jews, and then from His own Father God, leading to His death of a broken heart.
Oh I’ve been so blessed since God took Ruth home. I can’t count the number of people that have shared their love with me. My family has been wonderful, absolutely wonderful. Three of my daughters came, one after another, to Jerusalem to look after me. First my African daughter, Jesika. How many of you met Jesika? A few. Then my Arab daughter who’s here tonight, Kirsten. And finally one of my seven Jewish daughters, Anna, who’s here tonight, took me into her home and she and her husband, David, gave me half the upper floor of their house to live in. I tell you I’m proud of my family and when I think of how that family began...
My first wife, Lydia, in 1928 took in one little dying Jewish baby girl and everybody, all the missionaries criticized her. “What’s the good of that? Why isn’t she preaching the gospel?” Well there’s different ways to preaching the gospel. You can do it in word and you can do it in deed. But if you don’t do it in deed it’s not much good doing it in word. And out of the one little deathly sick Jewish baby, whom God raised up, there has grown up a family of more than one hundred and fifty persons tonight. If I’m boasting I’m not boasting about myself. I’m boasting about God. You see, so many people want a big impressive ministry. I think most big things start small.
I was ignorant. I mean I’d just been saved. I didn’t know that the gospel was to the Jew first. But my first congregation was Jewish. It wasn’t large and it wasn’t old, but it was Jewish. And then the Bible says, Pure and undefiled religion before God is this... What is it? How many of you can tell me? ...to care for the orphans and widows and to keep himself unspotted from the world. So I cared. I started by caring for the orphans and widows. I wasn’t spiritual. God just thrust me into it. It was the last thing I would ever have planned, but I’m oh so glad I did it.
Another common reason for rejection, all too common today, is the break-up of a marriage. A woman has given herself unreservedly to a man and like Brother Ed Cole was telling, a pastor turns up one day unannounced with divorce papers. What is such a person to experience? You’ve given yourself without reservation, you’ve done everything you can, you’ve loved, you’ve served, and suddenly you’re no longer wanted. Anybody that doesn’t feel rejection in that situation has got to have a very close walk with the Lord.
And then one other kind of rejection and I’ll come to the end of this little list, is self-rejection. And again that’s a terrible problem. You’d be amazed, or maybe you wouldn’t be, how many people reject themselves. I think especially women or girls. They’re just not the right length—too long, too short, too thin, too fat, eyes the wrong color, hair’s not straight or it’s kinky. Whatever it is you’ve made it a reason to reject yourself. You look at other people and wish you were like them. You know your problem? Self-rejection.
Now I want to tell you the remedy. It’s found at the cross. In Luke 23 verses 13 to 24, we have the scene when Jesus is before Pilate and Pilate is trying to get him let off. And the more Pilate tries, the more Jesus’ own people shout, “Let Him be crucified.” I’ll just read it quickly.
“Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, said to them, ‘You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him, no neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing worthy of death has been done by Him. I will therefore chastise Him and release Him’ (for it was necessary for him to release one to them at the feast). And they all [now this is all the Jewish leaders] they all cried out saying, ‘Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas’— Who had been thrown into prison for a certain insurrection made in the city, and for murder. Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them. But they shouted, saying, ‘Crucify Him, crucify Him!’ Then he said to them the third time, ‘Why, what evil has He done? I have found no reason for death in Him. I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go.’ But they were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And the voices of those men and the chief priests prevailed.”
How do you think Jesus felt? His own people from whom He’d come turned Him down, rejected Him in favor of a robber and a murderer. Don’t you think that you or I in that situation would have felt totally rejected? I believe He did. But that wasn’t the end. Going to Matthew 27 verses 45 and following. Now Jesus is now on the cross.
“Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?’ Some of those who stood there when they heard that, said, ‘This Man is calling for Elijah!’ Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave it to Him to drink. The rest said, ‘Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.’ Jesus, when He had cried out again with a loud voice, yielded up His spirit.”
He didn’t die of the wounds of crucifixion. People crucified could live sometimes twelve or more hours. What killed Him? Tell me in one word? Rejection. That’s right. And it was bad enough to be rejected by His people, but now He was rejected by His Father. After His agonized cry there came no answer. Because Jesus was identified with our sin God had to deal with Him as He would deal with sin. He closed His ears and averted His eyes and Jesus died of a broken heart. Not of the wounds of crucifixion. What killed Him in one word? Rejection. That’s right. That is the most terrible wound the human heart can ever experience.
But the next verse tells us why it happened.
“Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split.”
That’s the thick curtain that separated the Holy place from the Holy of Holies. And only one man could go through that, the High Priest, only once every year. But when Jesus died on the cross that thick curtain was split in two from the top to the bottom. In other words, it was God’s doing. What did that indicate? That by the death of Jesus on our behalf the way was open for us into the presence of a Holy God. Jesus endured our rejection.