He wasn’t some handsome king. Nothing about the way he looked made him attractive to us.
He was hated and rejected; his life was filled with sorrow and terrible suffering.
No one wanted to look at him.
We despised him and said, “He is a nobody!” Isaiah 53:2b-3 (CEV)
Dear friends, don’t be surprised or shocked that you are going through testing that is like walking through fire. Syriana movie Be glad for the chance to suffer as Christ suffered. I will prepare you for even greater happiness when he makes his glorious return. 1 Peter 4:12-13 (CEV)
We are fast approaching the holiday season when we rejoice at the baby in the manger who came to be the Savior on a cross. This week I have been thinking about “the suffering of Christ”. That’s a ‘church-y’ phrase that seems to gloss over the reality of Jesus’ life here on earth. The characteristics that describe His life reflect well the prophetic words of Isaiah.
Jesus’ suffering was physical. God, Creator of ALL, came to earth and lived in a time of tremendous suffering. His daily mode of transportation from one town to another was barefoot with only a basic sandal as a shoe. Food was limited. The threat of Roman harassment and death was a part of life. In the end it wasn’t
Jesus was rejected by His family. Did His brothers count as one of the disciples? No. Did they even support Him; come to hear Him teach? No. We know very little about Jesus’ family. Matthew mentions His family “outside” where He was teaching and Jesus did not go to them but said that “those who do the will of my heavenly Father” are His brothers and sisters and mother.
Jesus was rejected by His faith community, His Church. And let’s not lay this all at the door of the synagogue! The twelve closest to Him, ran when the going got rough! Even Judas’ feet were washed by the Master. Jesus was entrapped. He was the topic of hours and hours of gossip! Jesus was stripped naked by accusing, viperous tongues and stripped again so to be nailed to the cross for me! His friends were looking for an avenging warrior to destroy Roman rule and set them up as princes in a new Jewish nation. Jesus’ came to bring a message of unity and reconciliation with the Father in an eternal Kingdom!
And so I follow Jesus’ steps through rejection, suffering in body and spirit but protected by the assurance that only He can give because HE has walked before me. Oh that I would ‘leak’ the gracious love that He shows to me!
In John 17, Jesus prayed that while I am still in the world I would be protected from the evil one and that I would be one with Him and the Father. I am protected NOT from pain and suffering but from believing that by being rejected by the world – I am really rejected. I AM NOT!!! Even when rejected by my church – I am never rejected by God. I will always be His beautiful daughter because He loves me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).