In my last letter, we looked at the definition of rejection. Simply defined, it is the sense of being unwanted, the feeling that although you want people to love you, it seems no one does. Or it is wanting to be a part of a group, but feeling excluded. This is common, even in Christian circles.
We went on to look at how Scripture portrays rejection. In particular, the poignant picture in Isaiah 54:6 of a brokenhearted married woman. “For the LORD has called you like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a youthful wife, when you were refused,” says your God.
There are many other ways in which rejection can arise and different ways someone may react to them. (Please request a copy of the previous letter if you don’t already have one.)
Now I want to talk to you particularly about the answer to the specific problem of rejection. I want to show you Scripture’s answer to this problem. And I will tell you something: it works! I have seen scores of lives radically changed. Not temporarily, not superficially, but radically.
Every solution God has for every problem in our life stems from the cross. The cross is where God provided the solution to all our problems, and Jesus dealt with this specific problem of rejection on the cross.
Years back (in fact, in 1943), the Lord told me through the gifts of the Spirit that I was to consider the work of Calvary—that it was a perfect work: perfect in every respect, perfect in every aspect. I have spent several decades considering the work of Calvary—what Jesus did on the cross—and every time I think I know it all, I discover something new.
Over the years, the Lord showed me one basic principle about the cross: that it was an exchange, a divinely appointed exchange. On the cross, to satisfy eternal, divine justice, God caused to meet together upon Jesus all the evil that was due by justice to the human race, so that in return, by faith, the one who repents and believes may receive all the good that is due by justice to Jesus. Jesus took the evil that we might receive the good. This is very simple, very basic, but when you once begin to understand it, it will open up endless avenues of blessing for your soul.
God made to meet together upon Jesus all the evil, so that we might receive all the good. And the longer I meditate on this, the more complete I see that the exchange was. Here are just a few aspects of the exchange:
Jesus was punished for our sin that we might be forgiven.
Jesus was wounded for our sicknesses that we might be healed.
Jesus was made sickness itself that we might have health.
Jesus became poor for our sakes that we might have His wealth.
Jesus died our death that we might have His life.
While I was meditating on this, God said to me, There’s another side to that exchange. What about rejection? In Isaiah 53:3 it says: “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”
For three and a half years Jesus gave His life totally to doing good: to forgiving sins, healing sicknesses, delivering the demon-oppressed. He did nothing but good. At the end of that period, His people to whom He belonged, the Jewish nation, were given a choice by their Roman ruler of which they would prefer to have: Jesus of Nazareth or a criminal named Barabbas, who was guilty of political insurrection, robbery and murder. By one of the most amazing and tragic decisions in all human history, the entire nation, incited by their religious leaders, rejected Jesus and instead chose Barabbas, the political rebel.
They said, “Away with Jesus. Crucify Him! We don’t want Him! We’ll have Barabbas, the thief and the robber.” How did Jesus respond? He prayed to the Father to forgive those who were crucifying Him. He was not concerned about what was happening to Him. He was concerned about what would happen to them. The marvellous example of Jesus is that though He was in agony and rejection, He was not concerned about Himself. He was concerned about those who had rejected Him. What a pattern that is!
When I examined Jesus’ exchange on the cross in terms of the problem of rejection, I realised something startling—that although He was rejected by men, the final agony of Jesus on the cross was rejection by His Father. If you read the accounts, right near the end of that awful experience He said, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46).
And there was no answer from heaven. For the first time in the history of the universe, the Father turned a deaf ear to the Son’s cry. Then Jesus knew that His Father had rejected Him. Why had He rejected Him? The Scripture says that God is “of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness [or iniquity]” (Habakkuk 1:13). When Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness, God averted His eyes and stopped His ears to the cry of His Son.
After that, there was only one more cry that came from the lips of Jesus, and then He expired. I believe it is literally correct that He died of a broken heart. What broke His heart was not rejection by His own people, but rejection by His Father.
For every person reading this article who has suffered the agonies of rejection, I want to tell you right now: Jesus experienced the deepest pangs of rejection, even being rejected by His Father, and He bore it for you that you might be saved. If ever there was good news for this generation, that is it.