Rejection is painful and can affect our lives deeply. But God has a powerful solution…discover God’s Remedy for Rejection today.
It’s good to be with you once more as I continue to share with you on the theme of Rejection. Today it’s my privilege to share with you God’s healing remedy for this wound of rejection.
In my talk yesterday, I explained three main ways in which people commonly react to the problem of rejection. The first is the person who gives in, who just gives up. And out of that giving up, there’s a sequence of negative emotions and attitudes that evolve. I outlines it like this:
Rejection leads to Loneliness
Loneliness to Misery
Misery to Self-pity
Self-pity to Depression
Depression to Despair
Despair to either Death or Suicide.
The second reaction is the person who holds out. The descriptive word there is “indifference”, a kind of superficial, glittering, but phony happiness. The inner attitude is expressed in the phrase, “No one will ever come close enough to me again to hurt me. I’ve been hurt once. I’ll never let anyone come close enough to hurt me like that again.” So there’s this barrier of indifference that’s raised up.
The third reaction is the person who fights back. Here the evolution of negative emotions and attitudes is something like this:
Rejection leads to Resentment
Resentment to Hatred
Hatred to Rebellion
Rebellion to Witchcraft or to the Occult generally.
And I spoke about a young man who became a gang leader but later came to Christ in whom that whole order was fully worked out, resentment, hatred, rebellion, the occult.
Everyone of these three ways of reacting to rejection has one thing in common. They are essentially defensive, a way to cover up the hurt. None of them is a positive solution, but God has a positive solution. In Isaiah 61 verse 1 there is a promise that was to be fulfilled through the coming of Jesus, the Messiah. This is the promise:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners...” (NASB)
Notice that phrase particularly, “...to bind up the brokenhearted.” In fulfillment of this promise, God has provided a remedy for rejection. It comes to us through Jesus and the cross. I’m going to turn not to that famous 53rd chapter of Isaiah which is a preview of the cross, the picture of the unnamed, sinless, suffering servant of the Lord. Although no person is actually mentioned by name in this chapter, all the writers of the New Testament unanimously identified this unnamed servant as Jesus of Nazareth. I’m going to read verses 4 through 6 of Isaiah 53:
“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; and the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (NIV)
Time does not permit me to give a detailed analysis of that, but I want to make one simple, comprehensive statement, at the cross in fulfillment of that prophesy, there was a divinely ordained exchange. Jesus took upon Him all the evil that was due to us that we might receive in turn, by faith, all the good that was due to Him. Here are some aspects of this exchange:
1. Jesus was punished for our sins that we might receive forgiveness
2. He was wounded for our sickness that we might receive healing
3. He was made sin that we might be made righteousness
4. He was made a curse that we might receive the blessing
5. He died our death that we might share His life.
But beyond all that, Jesus also bore our rejection on the cross. He was rejected by men and finally by God. Here’s the picture of His rejection by men given so vividly in that 53rd chapter of Isaiah verse 3:
“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.” (NIV)
What a vivid picture of rejection and the suffering that goes with it. Bear in mind that Jesus bore all that in our place. He was rejected by His fellowmen. They turned away from Him and He became familiar with our suffering of rejection and yet that was not all. The worst was yet to come. The ultimate was His rejection by God. This is so vividly portrayed in Matthew 27 verses 45 through 51:
“From the sixth hour [that’s midday] until the ninth hour [three o’clock in the afternoon] darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice [and these words are in Aramaic] ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’, which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ When some of those standing there heard this, they said, ‘He’s calling Elijah.’ [Being ignorant of Aramaic they thought the word Eloi was ‘Elijah.’] Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. But the rest said, ‘Leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.’ And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up His spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (NIV)
See, for the first time Jesus prayed and God, the Father, did not answer His prayer. God averted His eyes from His Son. God stopped His ears at His cry. Why? Because Jesus at that time was identified with our sin. And the attitude of God, The Father, toward Jesus was the attitude of God’s righteousness toward our sin, the refusal of fellowship, a complete and absolute rejection. Jesus did not endure that for His own sake, but because His soul had become the sin offering for us. Therefore the righteous attitude of God toward sin found expression in the attitude toward Jesus.
It means a lot to me that at that moment from the cross, Jesus spoke Aramaic. You know what I’ve observed in visiting hospital rooms and so on? That when people are under real pressure, desperately sick, maybe at death’s door, normally their mind goes back to the language they first learned in childhood. I’ve experienced this many times. To me that gives such a vivid picture of the humanity of Jesus, that His mind went back to the language he had spoken in His home. He cried out in Aramaic. Think of that awful darkness. Think of the loneliness, the sense of being absolutely abandoned. First by man, then by God. You and I may have experienced rejection in some measure, but never in that measure. And then, look a the consequence, so dramatic, so immediate. “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” What does that mean? That the barrier between God and man had been removed. The way was opened for man to come to God without shame, without guilt, without fear. Jesus bore our rejection that we might experience His acceptance. That’s the meaning of the rent curtain. Jesus died of a broken heart. The rejection of His Father was more than He could stand. But thank God, the result was that torn curtain representing our access to God. Let’s look in closing at the outworking of our acceptance by God.
In Ephesians 1:3 through 6, Paul says this:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will, to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One he loves.” (NIV)
What was God’s eternal purpose even before creation? That we might become His children, His sons and His daughters. The only way that could be achieved was through the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross. When Jesus bore our sins and suffered our rejection, He opened the way for our acceptance. For just that period He lost His status as God’s Son that we might gain that status as God’s sons and daughters. I love that sixth verse, “To the praise of His glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One He loves.” That word translated “freely given us” is a very powerful word. It’s the word that the angel used in saluting the Virgin Mary, “Thou that art highly favored.” It means we become the object of God’s special favor. The King James version says, “God has made us accepted in the Beloved.” That’s the solution to rejection, it’s to realize that Jesus bore your rejection that you might have His acceptance.
Well our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. Tomorrow I’ll be explaining in practical terms how to apply God’s remedy for rejection in our own lives. How we can actually pass from rejection to acceptance.