JESUS KNOWS REJECTION: Especially From Religious People

Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem as the people sang His praises. A week later some of these same people demanded His crucifixion. One week they proclaimed Jesus their King and the following week they considered Him an outlaw. What happened in between?
Letter from the Editor

Have you ever been rejected and hurt by the very people who once loved you? Jesus knows how fickle people can be. Some of those who worshiped Jesus by publicly shouting 'Hosanna' as He triumphantly entered Jerusalem were the very same people who were motivated by hypocritical religious people to demand His death a week later.

There was even one of His very chosen disciples who turned against Him by accepting financial gain from the religious leaders who were against Jesus. Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him but Jesus chose him in spite of this.

It's obvious through the study of scripture that Judas rejected Jesus because he loved the gain of this world more than a heavenly reward, but why did others reject Jesus?

First, it's important to understand that most of the religious leaders, called Scribes and Pharisees, were envious of Jesus because of His popularity with the people. They were also offended at His ability to do miracles and to heal everyone who had faith.

Jesus didn't have a problem ministering truth to sinners because they weren't trying to pretend to be something they weren't. They openly listened to Jesus and many accepted His words. All the while, the blind religious leaders were secretly plotting Jesus' downfall.

Jesus was gentle and kind with sinners, yet He was very hard with those who were self righteous and blinded by false religion. He would correct them by pronouncing judgment against them and even calling them names such as 'blind guides', 'brood of vipers', 'white-washed tombs' and 'hypocrites'. Unfortunately for them, many became more offended with Him and His words of rebuke and correction rather than repent.

Now, after Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem, He paid a visit to the temple. Then, with a whip of cords that He personally made, Jesus over-turned tables and drove out all of the moneychangers who were using His house for gain. He openly rebuked them saying, "Do not make My Fathers house a house of merchandise," and He quoted scripture saying, "My house shall be called a house of prayer but you have made it a den of thieves."

The scribes and chief priests heard what He said and sought how they might destroy Him. For fear of the people, they couldn't arrest Jesus publicly so they decided to bribe one of His disciples so they could do it secretly. After Judas betrayed Jesus by revealing His position, the religious leaders had Jesus arrested and handed over to Pilate, the Roman governor. False witnesses then rose against Him and the chief priests accused Him of many things.

Pilate, finding no fault with Jesus, wanted to release Him. However, he offered the crowds a choice of either the release of a murderer named Barabbas, or the release of Jesus. The chief priests and elders successfully incited the people against Jesus, so the people chose Barabbas. A week after singing Jesus' praise they publicly shouted, 'crucify Him'. Why did they have a change of heart?

Remember, Jesus was so angry with the sin in God's house that He brought correction and open rebuke to those who used His temple for financial gain. Jesus brought correction to the chief priests and elders who loved to be seen and honored by men more than God. Jesus angrily brought, correction and open rebuke to leaders and to those who used His church for selfish gain, and for this He was rejected.

Why did Jesus bring correction and sometimes in a seemingly harsh way? Didn't He love them?

God's word proclaims in Proverbs 3:12, "For whom the Lord loves, He corrects". And Revelation 3:19 says, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous and repent." Jesus confirms God's love for us by correcting us. According to Hebrews 12:5-8, if you reject God's words of rebuke and correction you are illegitimate.

And what of those willing to declare God's word even when it's a word of rebuke? "But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them."

2 Timothy 4:1-5 says, "In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep you head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

Today, many Christians are afraid to stand up for the truth because they understand, too well, how fickle people can be and to avoid conflict or rejection, they conveniently refuse to make a stand for God's word. Thankfully, God has a Christ-like people who love others more than themselves. They recognize that the truth they share can set souls free and to them, saving souls from hell is more important than self-preservation. They understand the call to spread the gospel and they're obedient to do it.

Have you been rejected for your faith? Do you know the fellowship of Christ's suffering? Be encouraged! "You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin." Heb. 12:4

Not yet! Jesus loves everybody! Those who walk in the true love of Jesus will walk as He walked. Those who have genuine love will imitate Christ, even when it may not be the politically correct thing to do, and even when it means being falsely accused and rejected.

If you have or if you're now ready to stand up for Jesus and the judgments of God, then this promise is for you: "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Isaiah 41.10

It's time to make a stand.

In Christ's Love, Jon Hanna

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