Jesus Rejected!

Isaiah described how some people would react to Jesus with these words.

He was despised and rejected by others;
a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him of no account.
(Isaiah 53.3)

On the first day that Jesus announced his ministry, he experienced rejection by people who had been friends of his family since childhood.

Jesus was in the synagogue, a place of worship. There was considerable talk about Jesus in the northern regions of Israel and he was asked to read a portion of the daily scripture.

That day, the assigned passage was from Isaiah 61. After Jesus read the passage, he handed the scroll back to the attendant and said, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4.21).

Amazement, but not Faith

Luke reported how the crowd responded: “All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?'” (Luke 4.22).

The Bible and history reveal the fact that being amazed by God does not always lead to trust in God.

Josh Monk made a tremendous impact on the ministry of Maywood Baptist Church. Even though Josh has been dead for several years, his influence continues to this day.

Josh had one of the most radical conversions of any person that I know. He grew a Sunday School class from a small group to over 100 on a good Sunday.

The largest crowd to ever assemble at Maywood was the time Josh spoke a few short days before his death. Josh’s brain cancer had diminished his capacity to preach, but he prayed two of the most memorable prayers that have been prayed at the church.

Josh’s life amazed many people and many people who had past lives like his are now following Jesus.

What is sad is that another sizable portion of people have been amazed by Josh’s life, but have chosen to not place their faith in Jesus.

With Josh’s story in mind, consider what it would be like to meet Jesus in a face-to-face encounter. The people were amazed, but remained far from faith.

Jesus Never Beat a Dead Horse

One of my favorite preachers used to say, “Jesus never beat a dead horse.”

Just as it is useless to spur or whip a dead horse, Jesus never goaded the crowd just because he liked to argue. Jesus provoked people to reveal the actual condition of their hearts.

Luke records how Jesus poked the crowd with a biting message.

Luke 4.23He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’

And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’”

The people were familiar with Jesus and assumed that their privileged status gave them an advantage over other people.

If Jesus healed people in Capernaum, they expected him to do even more for the people who had known him since childhood.

Luke 4.24And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown.

When Josh Monk began teaching Sunday School at Maywood Baptist, some people visited his class just to see if his conversion was genuine.

Because of his past life, there were other people said, “I’ll never go there if he is teaching.”

Josh wasn’t a prophet, but he experienced the truth of Jesus’ saying about prophets and those familiar with them.

The message that Jesus spoke in Nazareth grew more offensive to the crowd, step-by-step.

– Luke 4.25-27 – “But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land;

“Yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon.

“There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”

Jesus ended his speech by speaking about two of Israel’s most famous prophets. The prophets did not give special benefits to the privileged.

When Jesus described the actions of the prophets, he put the crowd on notice. God’s love is not reserved for people of status and entitlement.

God’s love is for outsiders, the vulnerable, and the “rejects” of life.

Despised and Rejected

Those who had seen Jesus as a child playing in their village turned on him.

Luke described the scene. “When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage.

“They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff” (Luke 4.28-29).

Luke doesn’t explain how he did it, but “[Jesus] passed through the midst of them and went on his way” (Luke 4.30).

Luke 4 began with the resistance that the devil presented to Jesus. The devil is ultimately behind all resistance to God’s agenda through his Son.

The devil was the one who stirred up the crowd against Jesus. The people probably justified their actions with these beliefs.

(1) Jesus is leading the people astray by using magic. They saw healing and deliverance as magic. According to Deuteronomy 13, Jesus should be punished with death.

(2) The idea that God cared more for Gentiles, lepers, and widows more than good Jews was difficult to accept.

The Devil is Still At Work

The devil continues to cause people to reject life with Jesus. There are many excuses people have for rejecting a life with Jesus. Unfortunately, some of their excuses have merit.

— Hypocrites in the church

— The church’s involvement in politics

— Abuse of people by the clergy

— A heavy emphasis on what people can do for the church, but not what the church will do for them.

These are a few excuses I have heard, and I’m sure there are many more.

The big question is whether we will take the side of the devil and reject Jesus and God’s purposes through him, or not.

Let’s make the right choice.

About This Blog

Rudy Ross and I have a 11 minute video that corresponds to this Bible passage. Rudy will add a considerable about of insight to this episode in Jesus’ life. The video can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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