The Danger of Rejection

The Danger of Rejection

Life & Light Community Church

Message from 1/14/2023

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family, and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

“So, they were seeking to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. But many of the crowd believed in Him; and they were saying, “When the Christ comes, He will not perform more signs than those which this man has, will He?” The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about Him, and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to seize Him. Therefore, Jesus said, “For a little while longer I am with you, then I go to Him who sent Me. “You will seek Me and will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come.” The Jews then said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find Him? He is not intending to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks, is He? “What is this statement that He said, ‘You will seek Me, and will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come’?”

                                                                                 John 7:30–36 (NASB95)

Last week we studied The Danger of Judging by Appearances, seeing how the Pharisees viewed two deeds through the same point of Law and applied their already developed methods differently. Yeshua has challenged the Pharisees to apply these methods consistently. The Pharisees have judged two deeds by their appearance, one seen as a responsibility, the other seen as a way to enhance a person’s station or status in life. The people in the crowd exhibit the same tendency to judge by appearance as some begin to believe Yeshua is the Christ, while others say it is not possible because they know this man.

In today’s passage we encounter the second danger Yeshua is warning the crowds and the Pharisees about – The Danger of Rejection. The teachers of Israel have long taught that they, the Jewish people, are the chosen of God, and this is true. What they have missed is the mission of the Messiah to make God known to the entire world – all people, not just the Jews. The danger here is that rejecting the Messiah means they are rejecting the One who sent Him, and in this rejection, they make the place where God can be found an unapproachable destination.

While some in the crowd began to believe in Jesus as the Christ, the Pharisees hear them muttering and see a troublemaker. So, the Pharisees and the chief priests, in a power play of authority, send officers to capture Him. However, Jesus is clear, He is with them for a short time, but The Danger of Rejection means they will seek Him but not find Him, because they cannot come where He is.

As Christ followers, we must be prepared for the time when the world will see those who follow Christ as troublemakers. We will be wanted, hunted, and put in jail, because we remain obedient to a higher authority. As time grows short, we must warn others of The Dangers of Rejection, for the end result is eternal separation from the Father and the Son.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “Why should the Christ follower be aware of The Dangers of Rejection?”

As Christ followers, we are called to obedience to a higher authority – an Authority which the world has rejected, which only leads to eternal separation from the Father.

1). The Christ follower must be aware of The Dangers of Rejection because one day we will be seen as troublemakers.

Yeshua has warned us to be prepared to be hated by a world that hated Him first.

The Pharisees continue their pursuit of Yeshua after He has challenged them to apply their already developed methods to the Law consistently. Once again, John tells us that “His hour has not yet come.” We see the people in the crowd once again begin to believe in Him, this time pointing out the numerous signs He has performed. And once again, we find the Pharisees at the fringe of the crowd, listening to the mutterings of the crowd, and then, in a power play displaying their authority, they send officers, yet again, to capture Him. It is becoming increasingly clear that the ruling authorities, particularly the Pharisees, have rejected Yeshua outright, as the Messiah.

At the heart of the matter is the fact that Yeshua refused to come to the ruling council and seek their permission for His ministry. The Pharisees believe they are the gateway to God the Father, not some carpenter from Nazareth, and they have every intention of putting His ministry to rest, once and for all! While the Pharisees have taken the lead in opposing Yeshua, they are working closely with the chief priests. After standing at the fringe of the crowd and listening to the mutterings of the crowd, they have had enough and have, apparently, persuaded them to send officers for His arrest. The tipping point comes as those in the crowd begin to believe in Yeshua as the Messiah, even mentioning His numerous signs. They are fully opposed to Him and reject Him as the Messiah.

Emotions are at a fever pitch, and at one point, the Pharisees thought they had enough popular support to make a public move against Yeshua. They have miscalculated the division within the crowd and the impression Yeshua was making on those in attendance. There appears to be much confusion about Messiah and the crowds have moved from questioning the education of Yeshua to the number of signs He has performed, many saying the Messiah will not do more than He has already performed. And yet, the Pharisees and the chief priests, those who make up the Sanhedrin, are clearly opposed to Yeshua and have branded Him as a troublemaker, to be rejected as the Messiah.

Throughout the gospel accounts, Yeshua prepares His disciples for His death and the trouble they will find because they have believed in His name. Two of these times occur in John, and we will examine them more closely when we get to them, but for now they add confirmation to what we find in our passage today. In chapter 15 and 16, Yeshua and the disciples are walking to Mount Olive and the Garden of Gethsemane. As they walk Yeshua tells them plainly that should they find hate in the world, it is because the world first hated Him (18-19). Then in chapter 16, Yeshua again speaks plainly in telling His disciples, “In this world you have tribulation.” But Yeshua goes on to say He has overcome the world.

It is clear that Yeshua wanted those who follow Him to know that this is not an easy life. He never promised us that it would be easy, but He does promise to be with us until the end of the age and He has promised to send us the Helper, the Holy Spirit, also known as the Spirit of Truth, to lead us into all truth and to remind us of the teachings of Yeshua. We will not find peace in this world. Never. The world has no idea what true peace is, and it certainly cannot provide what it does not know. We are to be prepared to be hated because this same world that hated Yeshua, will, indeed, hate us for believing in Hs name. Because the world has rejected Yeshua, they will reject those who follow Him and the message they bring.

Questions for discussion/Reflection:

How do you sense the world opposing Yeshua today? If you do not, why is this?

How do you sense the world, or at least the people you are associated with, opposing the message you bring? If not, what have you done to prevent this?

Where are you beginning to get a feeling of being hated because you are a Christ follower? If not, why do you think this is?

As Christ followers, we are called to obedience to a higher authority – an Authority which the world has rejected, which only leads to eternal separation from the Father.

2). The Christ follower must be aware of The Dangers of Rejection because rejection makes eternal life an unapproachable destination.

When the world rejects the Christ follower, it rejects our message and our God.

The Pharisees make a power play and send officers to seize Yeshua. Sensing this to be the case, Yeshua makes a statement that only adds to the confusion of the people. “You will seek Me, and you will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come.” What in the world is this man talking about?! Where can He possibly go that we cannot go? Many thought He was going to the Greeks, but this is not simply the Greeks by nationality, the people thought He was going to Jews who acted like Greeks, the Hellenized Jews. This is what they meant when they said the Dispersion among the Greeks. But Yeshua has something entirely different in mind. Yeshua has just told the crowds and the Pharisees on the fringe, that He answers to a Higher Authority, the God of Israel.

We see this rejection of Yeshua and His disciples elsewhere in the gospel accounts as well. In Luke’s account of Yeshua returning to Jerusalem for the last time, the crowds greet Him with the shout of Hosanna, the Pharisees take issue with this and demand that Yeshua rebuke His disciples. There are numerous times we read of the Pharisees condemning Yeshua for healing on the Sabbath, for eating with tax collectors and sinners, or for allowing a known prostitute to clean His feet with her tears, wiping them clean with her hair. It is plainly clear that Yeshua does not fit the expectations the Pharisees have of the Messiah. Yeshua has been clearly branded as a troublemaker.

Going back to the power play by the Pharisees, this is not the first time they have made such a play. Back in chapter 1 of John we see the Pharisees have sent priests to John the Baptist to interrogate him to find out his identity. Again, they want to know who has given him authority to begin a ministry without getting their permission. In both cases, it is the priestly authorities, the Pharisees, and the chief priests, who are involved. These authorities do not really wish to know the Authority that has sent Yeshua, for time and again when He states, “My Father,” or “the Father and I,” these same men accuse Him of blasphemy. The real issue remains He has not gotten their permission and they will not stop until He submits or ceases His ministry.

The answer provided by Yeshua is no ordinary answer, for if you listen and look closely, Yeshua tells them He is returning to the Father, and more importantly, they cannot come where He is! Think about this implication for a moment. To be Jewish and told that you cannot come to the place where God is to be found would simply be earth shaking news. Remember, the teachers of Israel taught they were God’s chosen people, and so they were and are, but they misunderstood their mission as a light to the nations, and further misunderstand the mission of Yeshua as Messiah to the world. It was understood that those who were not Jewish were completely separated from God. Now they hear that because they reject Him, God has become an unapproachable destination!

There is a warning here for both the world and the Christ follower. The warning for the world is rather obvious, reject Yeshua and you risk the promise of eternal life. There is only one way to the Father, one way to receive eternal life, one way to enter the Kingdom of God, one way to overcome sin, death, and the grave…Yeshua, the Son of God, the Messiah. That message is and has been clear for many for a very long time, it is, in fact, the main reason so many reject Christ and Christianity, for the belief that He is the ONLY way to the Father. The world today wants things the way they want them, when they want them and on the terms they want them, end of story. No one will tell us how to get to heaven and see God. But what about the Christ follower?

The warning here comes in the plural, warnings. First, there is coming a time when we will be seen as troublemakers. The examples I mentioned make this clear. I know it is hard to believe while living in this country, the greatest country the world has ever seen, but it is true. We are already seeing the changes starting to happen and, as we read in the Scriptures, it is only going to get worse. In Matthew 10:34. Yeshua Himself says, “Do not think I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace but to bring a sword.” Simply put, the mission of Yeshua is to be filled with tension, persecution, and even death. The second warning has to do with how we handle our faith. We still face the danger of rejecting Yeshua at the end of our lifetime, under the stress and strain of persecution, facing our own death. We must remain strong and firm in our faith, even as we face persecution and possible death, for we must remain obedient to a Higher Authority – God the Father, Almighty Creator and Maker of Heaven and Earth.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

How have you sensed rejection because you remain faithful to Yeshua? If not, why do you think this is?

Where do you sense confusion over your mission for Yeshua? If none, how have you gained clarity?

Where do you sense tension or persecution as you try to remain faithful to a Higher Authority?

As Christ followers, we are called to obedience to a higher authority – an Authority which the world has rejected, which only leads to eternal separation from the Father.

As Christ followers, what do we do with this information? How can this help prepare us for what the future holds? First, we must remember that, when you find opposition, it is not the person who opposes you, it is the spirit behind that person who opposes you. Paul taught us that we do not fight against flesh and blood, rather we are fighting against the powers of darkness (Eph. 6:12). Second, remember the message you take with you is counter cultural, it goes against the flow so it will naturally create tension. Thirdly, remember it is hard to be hated, but hatred cannot harm you or kill you. Our suffering does not match the suffering Yeshua experience on our behalf. So, take courage for Yeshua has overcome the world.

Fourth, remember this is not a personal rejection of you but a rejection of the One you represent. If you believed exactly as the world believes you would be readily accepted, but you are different, you have been called into the Light of the Christ and it is this Light that is being rejected. Fifth, if you are finding confusion concerning your mission, seek clarity through prayer, reading and studying the word, talking to other trusted Christ followers, and then pray some more! Finally, we are never to be subject to an evil or immoral authority – at any level. We always answer to a Higher Authority – it is His will we seek; it is His will we obey.

We do all things for the glory of God, through Christ our Lord,

Amen and amen.

Next Week: John 7:37-53

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