We’ve all been rejected by someone at one time or another. Maybe it was a cute girl in elementary school; The popular guy in high school; A co-worker, boss, spouse, mother-in-law, or lousy friend. I think you get the point. Rejection is a painful reality of life.
But Jesus understands rejection.
Not everyone received Christ when He came. The shepherds joyfully traveled to Bethlehem to see the promised Messiah (see Luke 2:15-16). The wise men came expectantly, longing to worship He who was born King of the Jews (see Matt. 2:2). Simeon welcomed the promised child as he held Him in his own arms (see Luke 2:28). Anna praised God for bringing the Redeemer into her world (see Luke 2:38). But most of the Jews rejected Him.
The Jews had been expecting their Messiah to come for hundreds of years. Old Testament prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, and Micah prophesied His future coming. But when the long-expected Jesus finally appeared in Bethlehem, He faced a great deal of rejection.
John writes, “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him” (1:11 ESV).
It amazes me how the Jews beg Samuel for a king (see 1 Samuel 8:5) only to reject their true King when He comes hundreds of years later.
Not only was Jesus rejected by the Jews, He was rejected by His own hometown.
Matthew writes, “And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?’ And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.’ And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief” (13:53-58 ESV).
Jesus understands what it’s like to be rejected because of who His family is. They’re not good enough to produce a man who teaches with such wisdom and authority. I mean, look at His dad knocking on wood. Look at His mom and siblings. The people of Nazareth can’t see Jesus for who He is because they’re stuck on what His family is not.
Have you been there? Rejected because your family has a bad reputation? Looked down upon because of what your family lacks? Take comfort in knowing that Jesus understands.
But here’s the truth: whether one receives Christ or rejects Him doesn’t diminish who He is — the perfect Son of God. And that makes all the difference.
God the Father had already affirmed Christ’s identity. After His baptism, God said, “‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’” (Matt. 3:17 ESV).
And when we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, we have our Father’s approval, too. After John mentions the Jews who reject Christ, he writes, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (1:12 ESV).
As a child of God, you’re not defined by what people think about you. You’re not stuck in some family curse. Whether people reject you, adore you, or know nothing about you, you’ve been accepted by your Father. Just like Jesus. And that’s what matters most.
Jesus understands rejection. But have you accepted Him?
No matter what kind of rejection we face, we can find acceptance in the arms of a Savior who understands. Why? Because He came as a baby on that day we call Christmas.