There is a scientific study that shows rejection hurts like physical pain. Scientists have examined the brains through MRI scans when someone is rejected and they can see that the brain reacts to the rejection like it would a physical assault.
I wonder if the NBA star Shaq felt that way:
Some doors, like the front gate of the White House, are tough to walk through. The White House has one phalanx of security after another, and you simply don’t get in unless you are wanted, unless you have clearance, unless you have an appointment.
Some people do get into the White House based on who they are. Some get in based on who they know.
On Sunday July 26, 2009, one of the biggest and most famous men in the world—NBA star Shaquille O’Neil—tried to get into the White House without an appointment. At 7-1 and 325 pounds, with a winning smile, and NBA championship rings on his fingers from years of playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, Shaq has what it takes to walk into most places he wants to go. Doors open for Shaq.
And so, Shaq decided to put his celebrity, and President Obama’s love of basketball, to the test. He was on a D.C. sports radio show on Friday July 24th, and he put this question to the listeners: “Check this out, I got on a nice suit, I’m in D.C. paying a visit, I jump out of a cab in front of the White House, I don’t use none of my political or law enforcement connections. If I go to the gate and say, ‘Hey, I’m in town, I would like to see the President,’ do I get in, or do I not get in?”
Two days later, Shaq gave it a try, and just as Shaq has rejected those who would drive past him to the hoop, so the security guards at the White House gate rejected him.
Later that day, Shaq tweeted, “The White House wouldn’t let me in, whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.”
The funny thing about that is that in the last year there have been multiple occurrences of people getting into the White House uninvited and without clearance. But clearly, some places we will be rejected.
Think about a time you faced rejection, how did it feel?
Watch this video clip from the movie, The Village
This woman was in love and she was rejected and it hurt.
Did you hear the choir anthem? The anthem was about the blood of Jesus for our forgiveness, but you know what else? Jesus suffered physical pain, but also emotional and spiritual pain.
Listen to the anthem:
Mar. 1 Anthem: O The Blood
O the blood, crimson love, price of life’s demand.
Shameful sin placed on Him, the hope of every man.
O the blood of Jesus washes me.
O the blood of Jesus shed for me.
What a sacrifice that saved my life.
Yes, the blood, it is my victory.
Savior, Son, Holy One slain so I can live.
See the Lamb, the great I AM, who takes away my sin.
O the blood of the Lamb, the precious blood of the Lamb.
What a sacrifice that saved my life.
O what love, no greater love. Grace how can it be?
That in my sin, yes, even then, He shed His blood for me.
Yes, the blood, it is my victory.
Let’s look at what Jesus went through in His rejection and notice:
Jesus was rejected for our salvation.
The application: Be willing to be rejected for Him and for others.
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.
Now: John 1:11:
He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
But the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!”
I. As I look at this I notice Jesus was rejected for us.
a. The passage says that He was despised and rejected. We can look at this to mean that it was as if He was no longer a man.
b. He was rejected. Think about rejection. Think once again about being rejected. Jesus was rejected by the people He created.
c. Jesus created us. Jesus created the nails that pierced His hands. Jesus created the wood for the cross He was crucified on. Jesus created all people and all things, yet His creation rejected Him. Furthermore, He came to save us, yet we rejected Him. He was on the cross alone, rejected by the people He came to save.
d. I have thought about this a lot lately. Throughout the Old Testament we have examples of the holiness of God and the holiness of God is not to be trifled with. People who messed with the holiness of God were killed. (The people offering strange fire before the Lord, Lev. 10:1-2; the people made a Golden Calf, Exodus 32) In the Old Testament accounts the people trifled with the Holiness of God and they died. There was intense punishment. Here is the application: We have all messed with the holiness of God. We have all missed God’s standard and so Jesus on the cross took the punishment for our idols and every other way we miss God’s standards. Jesus was rejected in our place. Jesus was despised in my place.
e. Then the passage gives a metaphor. He was like one from whom people would hide their faces.
f. There are quotes of people covering up their children’s faces when people were being crucified. Rome rarely crucified women but when they did they would crucify them backwards so that the executioners did not have to look at them that way.
g. It must be very lonely when people hide their faces from you.
h. Even God the Father turned His back on the Son as Jesus said, “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34)
Author Henri Nouwen tells the story of a family he knew in Paraguay. The father, a doctor, spoke out against the military regime there and its human rights abuses. Local police took their revenge on him by arresting his teenage son and torturing him to death. Enraged townsfolk wanted to turn the boy’s funeral into a huge protest march, but the doctor chose another means of protest. At the funeral, the father displayed his son’s body as he had found it in the jail—naked, scarred from electric shocks and cigarette burns, and beatings. All the villagers filed past the corpse, which lay not in a coffin but on the blood-soaked mattress from the prison. It was the strongest protest imaginable, for it put injustice on grotesque display.
Isn’t that what God did at Calvary? … The cross that held Jesus’ body, naked and marked with scars, exposed all the violence and injustice of this world. At once, the cross revealed what kind of world we have and what kind of God we have: a world of gross unfairness, a God of sacrificial love.
i. An application right now is that I will understand that rejection hurts and so I must worship Jesus all the more knowing what He went through.
II. Since Jesus went through rejection for me, I must be willing to go through rejection for Him.
a. I think about this and think even Jesus was rejected. So, when I am rejected for doing something good or innocent, big deal. Even the King of Kings and Lord of Lords was rejected and is still rejected.
b. Jesus said:
Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
(from New International Version)
c. Jesus was rejected so that Barabbas could live, Jesus was rejected so that we all can live. Let’s break this down with some more applications: (I made them personal to me)
i. Since Jesus went through rejection for me, I must be willing to go through rejection for Him.
ii. I must be willing to strive for a pure life for Him, even if that means rejection.
iii. I must be willing to accept and love those who are not accepted even if that means that I will face rejection.
iv. I must be willing to step out of my comfort zone, facing social rejection for Jesus.
v. I must be willing to serve in low places, knowing that may mean rejection for Jesus.
vi. I must be willing to live with a Philippians 2:3-4 attitude for Jesus. This is to love others.
d. Jesus was not esteemed, He was not accepted. I will love knowing that I will lose respect because of Jesus.
e. People hid their faces from Jesus, I must be willing to go through that much rejection.
One fine day in 1941, Violet Bailey and her fiancé Samuel Booth were strolling through the English countryside, deeply in love and engaged to be married. A diamond engagement ring sparkled on Violet’s finger—her most treasured possession.
Their romantic bliss suddenly ended. One of them said something that hurt the other. An argument ensued, then escalated. At its worst point, Violet became so angry she pulled the diamond engagement ring from her finger, drew back her arm, and hurled the treasured possession with all her might into the field.
The ring sailed through the air, fell to the ground, and nestled under the grass in such a way that it was impossible to see. Violet and Samuel kissed and made up. Then they walked and walked through that field hunting for the lost ring. They never found it.
They were married two months later. They had a child and eventually a grandson. Part of their family lore was the story of the lost engagement ring.
Violet and Samuel grew old together, and in 1993 Samuel died. Fifteen years passed, but the ring was not forgotten. One day Violet’s grandson got an idea. Perhaps he could find his grandmother’s ring with a metal detector. He bought one and went to the field where Violet had hurled her treasured possession 67 years earlier. He turned on his metal detector and began to crisscross the field, waving the detector over the grass. After two hours of searching, he found what he was looking for. Later, filled with joy and pride, he placed the diamond ring into the hand of his astonished grandmother Violet. The treasured possession had come home.
There was a rejection in that account, yet things worked out. You know what? There was a rejection with Jesus, yet there was also, and is also, acceptance. There is a free gift today. There is a free prize today. Jesus’ gift is still there. We can still be united with Jesus.
Jesus was rejected for our salvation, Amazing Grace.
Are we willing to face rejection for Him and for others?
Do you know Jesus?
God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)