The Walk Through Rejection
Sermon Summary
This message discusses various instances where Jesus faced rejection and how He dealt with that rejection. We have much to learn from Jesus and the way He dealt with rejection. Jesus expected rejection, examined the reasons behind the rejection and endured the rejection. When rejected, Jesus kept His focus on His mission and continued to reach out to people with His message. As a result, many accepted Him as their Savior and eventually some of those who had previously rejected Him, became very committed followers. James, the brother of Jesus, was one such example. When we face rejection, we must remember that God will never reject us. We must not lash out in anger, or withdraw in defeat. We must focus on our mission, keep our eyes on Jesus, and pray for those who have rejected our message.

Community Group Discussion Guide

1.Can you describe a time when you faced rejection and how you dealt with it.

2. Jesus faced rejection from religious leaders and even His own family and yet He continued to pursue His mission. Two questions on this point...Do you think Jesus’ understanding of what was behind the rejection helped Him deal with the rejection? How could an examination of what’s behind rejection help us deal with rejection?
John 12:37  Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.
John 12:38  This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: "Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"
John 12:39  For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
John 12:40  "He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn--and I would heal them."
John 12:41  Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him.
John 12:42  Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue;
John 12:43  for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.

3. Could we ever be partially to blame for the rejection we face?
Gal 5:26  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Gal 6:1  Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
2 Tim 2:24  And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
2 Tim 2:25  Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,
2 Tim 2:26  and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

4. Jesus endured rejection by focusing on His purpose and mission in this world and eventually won over some of those who had previously rejected Him. What are some ways we can endure rejection and thereby accomplish our God-given mission?
James 1:1  James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.
James 1:2  Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
James 1:3  because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
James 1:4  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:5  If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.






The Walk Through Rejection

In the last weeks we've talked about Jesus' walk of obedience, His walk through temptation, and His walk of purpose. This week we're going to deal with the very difficult subject of Jesus' walk through rejection.

We are going to begin this morning by revisiting the verses we read last week and then observing what occurred immediately following.

Every human being that has ever walked upon this planet has probably, at one time or another, felt the pain of rejection. Whether it was a child who didn't make the team, or a teen whose first love broke his or her heart.

Or maybe it was the rejection of being overlooked for a promotion, or being rejected by your peers, or maybe even being rejected by a family member, or even a spouse.
At any rate, rejection hurts and hurts deeply.

Walk long enough on this planet and you'll face rejection of one type or another. What a lot of people fail to remember is the fact that Jesus dealt with rejection on a grand scale and on more than one occasion.

You can be sure Jesus understands the emotions, the hurt, the sadness, and the heartbreak that accompany rejection. You and I need to learn from Jesus how to deal with the painful reality of rejection and how to let God make us stronger as a result!

Let's pray and ask God to teach our minds and touch our hearts today as we seek to understand how Jesus dealt with rejection…
PRAY

14Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.
Luke 4:14 (NIV)

15He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
Luke 4:15 (NIV)

16He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read.
Luke 4:16 (NIV)

17The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
Luke 4:17 (NIV)

18“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,
Luke 4:18 (NIV)

19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Luke 4:19 (NIV)

20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him,
Luke 4:20 (NIV)

21and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Luke 4:21 (NIV)

22All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.
Luke 4:22 (NIV)

23Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ ”
Luke 4:23 (NIV)

24“I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown.
Luke 4:24 (NIV)

25I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land.
Luke 4:25 (NIV)

26Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon.
Luke 4:26 (NIV)

27And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”
Luke 4:27 (NIV)

28All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this.
Luke 4:28 (NIV)

29They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff.
Luke 4:29 (NIV)

30But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
Luke 4:30 (NIV)

Is it not amazing how quickly the crowd can change it's mind. One moment they were singing His praises and the next they were dragging Him out of town.  

 One moment they were speaking well of Him and talking about the gracious words He spoke and the next minute they were going to throw Him off a cliff!

Did this catch Jesus by surprise? Absolutely not! In fact, one of the ways Jesus was able to deal with rejection was that He expected it…

Expect Rejection!

23Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ ”
Luke 4:23 (NIV)

24“I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown.
Luke 4:24 (NIV)

Jesus knew many folks would demand the proof of miracles. But here's the deal, how many times did Jesus work miracles and the people still wouldn't believe. They could always come up with a reason not to believe.

There's some folks who will tell you if you they could see some proof they would believe. Chances are they would still find some way to reject the gospel. We'll see an example of this in a moment...

Jesus knew that many would reject Him and His message. He knew they couldn't see beyond His lowly upbringing...

22... “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.
Luke 4:22 (NIV)

Mark's gospel goes a little more in depth...

2When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles!
Mark 6:2 (NIV)

3Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Mark 6:3 (NIV)

Jesus was not caught off guard when He and His message were rejected. It had to hurt and sadden Jesus, but it did not surprise Him.


We too will face rejection at times if we follow Jesus and share His message!
Jesus knew this would happen and warned His disciples and us...

18“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
John 15:18 (NIV)

19If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
John 15:19 (NIV)

20Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also…         John 15:20 (NIV)

It should not surprise us when we face rejection. Now please hear me on this. If you are obnoxious, pretentious, mean spirited, and have an "I'm better than you" attitude, your rejection may be of your own doing!

But if you, in genuine love, and in the Spirit of Christ, seek to reach out to a lost loved one, friend, co-worker, neighbor, etc, and you face ridicule and rejection, don't lose heart. Just keep praying for them and living the good news with your life and you may someday reach them.

In fact, the gracious way you handle the rejection, may actually be the very thing God uses to bring them to faith!!
At the end of the message today we will see an amazing example of this in Jesus' life.

 Young people, if you refuse to get involved in things you know would not honor God and you experience the rejection of your peers, stay strong and understand they are under a delusion. They are blinded.

 Don't allow your desire to be accepted to cause you to make poor decisions with life-long consequences!!

This actually leads us to the next way in which Jesus dealt with rejection...

Jesus not only expected rejection, He examined it!

Examine Rejection

What do I mean by examine rejection? It helps when you have insight into why rejection occurs. Jesus understood the roots of rejection. He knew the hearts of those rejecting. He knew their history of rejecting truth!

25I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land.
Luke 4:25 (NIV)

26Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon.
Luke 4:26 (NIV)

27And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”
Luke 4:27 (NIV)

28All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this.
Luke 4:28 (NIV)

 Remember, at first the people praised Him. What changed to make these people turn so quickly?
People like it when you tell them what they want to hear.

They like it as long as you don't challenge them or question their motives. Start speaking truth, and you just might find yourself in trouble!

What was the problem in our story? Jesus confronted the crowd with their hypocrisy. They claimed to follow the Scriptures, yet when Jesus reminded them of these two incidents where the prophet's of God, Elijah and Elisha, ministered to non-Jews, the crowd lost it!

Not only did they lose it, they became murderous! They rejected Jesus to the point of trying to kill Him!

Jesus knew these people had been mis-led by their teachers and also by their own ungodly motives.

When you face rejection, you too must examine the rejection. You must understand the blindness and deception which leads people to reject the good news of Christ and those who follow Him.

And sometimes rejection may come to you for other reasons than your trying to share the gospel. As I said earlier, it could be a parent being rejected by a child, or a person being rejected by their spouse, or just fill in the blank.

This rejection may come because the other person is in a condition of spiritual darkness. Pray for them and don't stop loving them.

But remember, you must examine the rejection. Make sure it's not something you've done or a wrong attitude. If it's on you, don't despair, ask God to forgive you and help you make the needed changes and then be patient. It may take a while for the other person to see the change.

So what's my point, you need to examine the rejection so you'll know better how to respond. Knowing what's behind the rejection will help you know the proper attitude and the proper actions to take.

 So we know from Jesus' life, rejection is to be expected, and we need to examine what's behind the rejection. But even knowing those things, rejection still hurts. It's not an easy thing to deal with. So we must ask the question...

 How did Jesus endure the walk through rejection?

 Endure Rejection

 You might remember, one of the temptations Jesus faced was the temptation to amaze the crowds with His abilities, or to give them what they wanted! If He did this He could have avoided much of the rejection He faced, but the resulting relationships would have been very shallow.

So, when Satan tempted Jesus to use His power to prove Himself, He refused. However, things are different in our story today. When Jesus needed the power of Almighty God to accomplish the will of Almighty God, not a problem!!

30But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
Luke 4:30 (NIV)

Now, I don't know exactly how He did this, but I will venture a couple of guesses!
First, it could have been that one of those big old Angels, came down out of glory and just wrapped Jesus up in one of his wings and they just walked through:) Just a thought!!

At this point, this crowd had already rejected Jesus and His message, so a miracle would probably not change their mind.

Maybe it wasn't an angel, but a use of supernatural power over the crowd. Do we have any examples of this in the life of Christ? Yes we do. It's fascinating. Look at John's account of the arrest of Jesus...

1When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it.
John 18:1 (NIV)

2Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.
John 18:2 (NIV)

3So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
John 18:3 (NIV)

4Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
John 18:4 (NIV)

5“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.)
John 18:5 (NIV)

6When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
John 18:6 (NIV)

7Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
John 18:7 (NIV)

8“I told you that I am he,” Jesus answered. “If you are looking for me, then let these men go.”
John 18:8 (NIV)

Wow!! When it was time for Jesus to make the ultimate sacrifice, He let the folks know He had the power and no one would take His life, He would give it!


And in our story today, it wasn't yet time for Jesus to make the sacrifice, so He walked through the crowd and went on His way!! Just how He did it, I don't know, but He did. The real question is this...

How did Jesus handle this rejection from the people of His own home town?
Did He get angry? Did He get depressed? Did He get discouraged and tell His disciples to just go home, "no ones going to listen to me anyway"?  Absolutely not!

Remember, Jesus' walk was a walk of purpose. He had a mission to accomplish. Let's look at the very next verse to see how Jesus handled rejection...

31Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the people.
Luke 4:31 (NIV)

32They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority.
Luke 4:32 (NIV)

 Wait a minute…does this sound like a repeat of the story we just read? Same scene, different town?
Let's read on...

33In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice,
Luke 4:33 (NIV)

34“Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are —the Holy One of God!”
Luke 4:34 (NIV)

35“Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.
Luke 4:35 (NIV)

36All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!”
Luke 4:36 (NIV)

37And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.
Luke 4:37 (NIV)

When rejected at Nazareth, Jesus refocused on His purpose, His mission, and His vision. He knew others were depending on Him to not give up! He knew there were the spiritually imprisoned, the spiritually oppressed, and the spiritually blind, who would have no hope if He gave up!

Jesus knew some would reject His message. The Pharisees asked for a sign, even after Jesus had cast the demons out of the man. They claimed Jesus had cast out the demons by the power of the Devil. You see, no matter the proof, there's always a way to disbelieve.  

Even His own family questioned His sanity...

20Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat.
Mark 3:20 (NIV)

21When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
Mark 3:21 (NIV)

22And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub ! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”
Mark 3:22 (NIV)

So Jesus' own family thought He was out of His mind and the religious leaders had rejected Him and claimed He was possessed by the Devil.
Jesus, knew rejection. However, He knew The Father had not rejected Him and He kept His eye on His mission.

Those who would accept kept Him going and compelled Him all the way to the Cross so He could make a way for those who would accept His grace!!

The best way to overcome rejection is to focus on your mission and keep going. Keep your eyes on Jesus, His example, His strength, His love, His determination to seek and to save that which was lost. Never stop loving and praying for the ones who have rejected you and your message!

When rejected, you may be tempted to lash out, to get angry, to get even, to get revenge, or to prove the other person wrong.  Or your temptation may be to withdraw, become despondent, discouraged, defeated. Both are wrong!

Focus on your mission
Keep your eyes on Jesus
Love and pray for those who have rejected

When you experience rejection, of this you can be sure:
God has not rejected you nor will He ever!! Jesus put it this way...


37All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
John 6:37 (NIV)

38For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.
John 6:38 (NIV)

39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.
John 6:39 (NIV)

40For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
John 6:40 (NIV)

41At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”
John 6:41 (NIV)

42They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
John 6:42 (NIV)

43“Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered.
John 6:43 (NIV)

44“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 6:44 (NIV)

I want to end today's message by sharing with you what can happen when you trust God during those times of rejection.
Remember Jesus' own family thought He had lost His mind.

However, because Jesus didn't get bitter, or hateful, or mean spirited, His family eventually realized He was not crazy, but was who He said He was. In fact, His brother James, who was not one of the two disciples named James, eventually became an apostle.

He became head of the Church in Jerusalem and according to Josephus, first century historian, was executed for his faith in Jesus by the high priest Ananus.

This is the James who gave us the book of James in the New Testament. Listen to what he says...

1James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.
James 1:1 (NIV)

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
James 1:2 (NIV)

3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
James 1:3 (NIV)

4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:4 (NIV)

End Sermon Here

ETS: Jesus speaks in the Synagogue and is at first applauded but then rejected!
ESS: Jesus faced rejection but never let it deter Him from His mission in life.
OSS: I want my hearers to learn how to deal with rejection through the example of Christ.

Probing Question: How did Jesus deal with rejection?
Unifying Word: dealt
Transitional Sentence: Let's look at how Jesus dealt with rejection.

He expected it!
He examined it!
He endured it!