28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They 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 off the cliff. Luke 4:28-29
This is as early as Luke Chapter 4 and very early in the ministry life of Jesus. He came to his own home town of Nazareth where he had grown up and was known in the community. When he starts speaking they are alarmed and ask: “isn’t this Joseph’s son?” He speaks a little bit more and then things escalate and this time they are furious; they seize him and take him to the edge of town so they can throw him off a cliff! What? His own people? Those he grew up with?
Things didn’t get better for Jesus. At the end of his life, it was one of his closest friends, Judas, that turned his back on Jesus and betrayed him by accepting a bribe to hand him over to be killed. He was paraded through the streets with scores of people declaring angry chants of “crucify him!” In this context, another of his closest friends, Peter, who was within Jesus’s inner circle of three, denies that he knew Jesus, also turning his back on him.
Isaiah 53:3 says of Jesus, “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”
I am sure that you know what it is like to suffer rejection, to be pushed away by those you love, to be told that you are not wanted. Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, relatives, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, colleagues, bosses. Rejection can come from anywhere. Here’s the problem: normally our first port of call when rejection comes is “I am useless” or “I am worthless” and it really affects us. Let’s try this one: “I am like Jesus”. Why don’t you start from there and ask Him to help you to handle it like he did. He remained silent. He prayed for those who afflicted him. He forgave them in his heart and asked his Father in Heaven to forgive them. He remained very secure on who He was and and what the Father thought of Him; that’s all that really mattered.
Remember, people will often say and do horrible things; in some respect, we can expect it. But God will always say what we need to build us up and keep us strong in Him, in character and in personality. He speaks words that give us identity and strength! He speaks words of acceptance and love. Words that tell us we belong! I can imagine that as Jesus was led to the cross, His Father’s words from when he began his ministry did not leave his mind: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased”. Take these for yourself because no doubt God is declaring them to you today!