They Didn’t Want Me
It is the time of year were many are in a festive mood celebrating Christmas! Yet, I want us to stop and think about a certain someone. I begin by asking, ever been rejected by someone? I’m sure we all have. Not a nice feeling is it? Yet, there is somebody in specific I want to mention. Somebody who has, and still, receives a lot of undeserved hate! Someone who has faced a lot of rejection, and yet receives all who come!
The Savior’s Birth
The government’s decree was firm, all had to go to their hometowns to register – no exceptions! Off went Joseph and Mary; nine months with child! A long journey was undertaken. At long last, we may have heard Joseph’s reassuring words to Mary, “I see the inn! We’re almost there. Just a little more! You can do it, Mary! Then you’ll be able to rest.” However, this was not be. The inn had no room, not even for a mother ready to give birth to her first child! Instead they were ushered into a stable for smelly animals!
Joseph, he must have been quite the man! For, even though Mary’s pregnancy was miraculous, the gossip about her, must have been wounding. You can just see the looks and whispers, “They’re not even married, and look, she’s pregnant.” Another cockily says, “Yeah, and I heard he’s not even the father!” Yet, Joseph stood resolutely by her side, for God had explained things well to him! Then, that long journey. He was Mary’s comforter, support, and companion. Yes, as she was thrown into the throes of birth…you guessed it, he will certainly have been the midwife!
Sadly, it seemed that Jesus having no welcome in the inn, was a sign of Him not being welcome by others as well!
Even Family Rejects Him
It seemed at every turn, Jesus was met with rejection! It all began with Herod. We read that, “An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph…and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt…for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” (Matthew 2:13) Even his “hometown” “took offense” at him! (Matthew 13:53-58) Yes, and the Jews were against Him! We read, “The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.” (John 10:31) Yes, and His own brothers and sisters gave Him the “cold shoulder”! As it is written, “For not even his brothers believed in him.” (John 7:5) Still further, we read of the disciples, “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.” (John 6:66) Moving even closer to Christ, we read, “Jesus answered them, ‘Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.’ He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelves, was going to betray him.” (John 6:70-71) Indeed, we come to the great throng, who cried, “Crucify him, crucify him!” (John 19:6) Yes, and Pilate, a man of Rome, would hand Him over to be crucified at the cruel hands of the Roman soldiers! Finally, we come to the most heartbreaking of all, “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice…My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”! (Mark 15:34)
Why Was Jesus Forsaken?
Now, Jesus didn’t come into this world to receive the accolades of the world’s prestigious society! Neither did He come to be some “Dalai Lama”! No, much rather, it is written, “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.” (John 12:27) What “hour” was Jesus talking about? We read, “And going a little farther, he [Jesus] fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him…yet not what I will, but what you will.” Then, “Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” (Mark 14:35-36, 42) With a certainty, that “hour,” was the time of His crucifixion! Yes, Jesus’s purpose for being born, was to be crucified! Yet, why?
So why was Jesus “forsaken” by His own Father? Why did He die? Did He merely fall victim to the rejecting mob? Was the jeering throng right, of whom we read, “And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!’ So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down from the cross that we may see and believe.’ Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.”? (Mark 15:29-32) No, they were wrong, and neither did they comprehend the purpose for the Messiah’s coming and His subsequent death! For Jesus said, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.” (John 10:17-18)
So then, we still have the query, why was Jesus forsaken? Why His death? We find the answer here, “And the LORD laid on him the iniquity of us all,” and “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:5-6) Yes, Jesus was forsaken, because, your and my sin was heaped upon Him! He was punished for our sins! As written, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous.” (1 Peter 3:18)
Your Response to Him?
Let me ask you a personal question, what will you do with Jesus? Will you fall down and worship Him, as did the shepherds and wise men, or will you cry out, “Crucify him, crucify him!”? Indeed, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only [uniquely born] Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe in condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only [uniquely born] Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
The choice is yours, will you place your faith in Christ alone to save you, or will you reject your only Savior? Certainly, you deserved to be punished for your own sin, that would only be fair, yet, God was gracious and provided you the Savior! He took your place! He took your sin! He took your punishment – from the Father!
Listen once more to the gospel “in a nutshell,” “The gospel…that Christ died for our sin in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
So I ask, whose righteousness are you depending on to get you into Heaven? Is it your own, by being good or keeping the ten commandments, or the righteousness of Christ given you as a gift? As we read, “For being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” (Romans 10:3) Again, it is written, “All our [my] righteousness is as filthy rags.” (~Isaiah 64:6) Let it then be known, we cannot “establish our own” “righteousness,” by our keeping the ten commandments, being good, good deeds, or our obedience! Much rather, God placed our sin on Christ and we receive the righteousness of Christ as a gift! It is indeed, “The great exchange”! Have you accepted “The free gift of righteousness,” (Romans 5:17) or are you still trying to come up with your own?
Yes, the wise men presented Jesus with gifts, but right now God is presenting you with a gift – “the free gift” of “eternal life.” Question is, will you receive this gift from God? Let me say, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Yes, the sin of your lifetime was counted to Jesus; it is why He died. He did it because He loves you! It is His righteousness that is credited to your account! It is what the Lord did for you! Do you believe it? This is the “good news” that saves! Yes, again I remind you, as per usual, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”! (Romans 10:13)
What will you do with Jesus, welcome Him as your Savior, or reject Him, as so many have and do?
Victor J Reimer
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Photo credit: “Lone Star” by Phil Shirley
*Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV), copyrighted © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.