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The Why of Rejection

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Maybe You Can’t Go Home Again

The text for this week is Mark 6:1-13.  This is a passage containing two short tales.  The first is about Jesus being rejected as a prophet in His hometown.  The second is about Jesus commissioning the mission of the twelve apostles.  They are seemingly disparate, but I think there is an important link here.

The first passage sees the traveling preacher Jesus arrive at His hometown of Nazareth.  He begins to preach, and the assembled crowd takes offence at Him and rejects His teaching.  So much so, that even Jesus Himself is shocked at their level of unbelief (Verse 6).  Their faith was so weak that He only cured a few sick people.

The Lesson of the Rejection

The reason that the crowd rejected Jesus is fairly clear and can teach us a great deal about ourselves.  They reject Jesus not because of something He says or that He is controversial.  No, the crowd rejects Jesus simply because of where He is from.  Verse 2-3 are very clear: “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing?  Isn’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.”. 

Before we judge the crowd too harshly, we should ask ourselves how often we do the same thing.  We make these kind of snap judgements all the time.  We base our opinion, before, we even hear what someone has to say.  We base this on what they look like, the clothes they wear, the wealth they exhibit, or like the crowd before Jesus, on where someone comes from.  If we look honestly at ourselves, we can see ourselves in the crowd in this text.  Our response should be better than this.  We must try to be as gracious, and open to others as we would want them to be toward us…Hey that rule sounds familiar.

Then Go Forth

The second part of the text is linked to the first.  Jesus sends the twelve out to proclaim the Kingdom of God.  But He warns them, that like Jesus, they will be rejected by some.  They should not become discouraged.  Go forth in faith with nothing necessary for the journey, and trust that you will be shown enough hospitality to continue on.  If you are rejected by some, then move on.  In the end Jesus is advising that we play with those who want to play with us.  It is not that we don’t care and love those who reject us, it’s just that time is short.  Be gracious, and testify against them by simply shaking the dust off your feet as you leave (Verse 11). 

No condemnations or other drama containing fire and brimstone.  This calmness in the face of rejection just might plant a seed of faith that will sprout later.  As this occurs remember the lesson form the first part of the passage.  Don’t assume people are bad, just because they rejected you.  You do not know what they have going on.  Just remember to not act like the crowd in rejecting people because of outward appearances.  This should form a key part of our witness.

Some will reject us, and some will trust in God’s good and gracious word, this is the reality of the world.  Our task is simply to trust in God and live out the faith He gave us as best we can, wherever we can.  If you get discouraged, just remember that as fine a preacher as Jesus of Nazareth even got rejected from time to time.  Just keep believing, and obeying.

Praise Be to God

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