Sunday School Lessons


Commentary by Walter Albritton


March 23


Jesus Refused to let Rejection Deter Him from His Mission

Mark 6:1-13

Key Verse: Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.

 – Mark 6:4


            Rejection is a terrible thing. It can handcuff us. It can lead to disappointment and self-pity. It can demoralize us. It may even cause us to give up our Christian walk.

            God knows this about us. He knows our weaknesses. He knows what grievous influence rejection can have upon our lives.

            Knowing our nature, God has gloriously provided all we need to win our personal battles with rejection. God’s provision is clearly the example of our Lord Jesus! When his own family and the people of his hometown rudely rejected him, Jesus refused to allow their rejection to deter him from his mission.

            Jesus must have been hurt to have his own family turn their backs on him. Any of us would have been deeply disappointed not to have the support of our family for a godly mission.  The best of us would have tempted to have a pity party. But not Jesus! “Give up” was not in his vocabulary. Self-pity was out of the question.

            Our Lord’s reason for coming back to Nazareth was not to win the approval of his family and friends. He had all he needed -- the approval of his Father. He came home to teach, and to give those who were dear to him the opportunity to hear and respond to the good news. The Kingdom was at hand, and Jesus wanted everyone to have a chance to repent and enter into a new relationship with God.

            The sober reality of this event is that when the people rejected Jesus, he moved on to other villages. Had the people expressed faith in Jesus, he would have done “mighty works” among them. Refusing to recognize that Jesus was the Son of God, the people denied themselves the blessings that were available to them for the asking.

            This remains true to this hour. God requires faith if we are to experience the transforming power of Jesus in our lives. The Bible teaches us: “without faith, it is impossible to please God.” Moreover, without our faith the living Christ is unable to do the mighty works of grace that we need to live life to the fullest.

            In our pride, we like to think that we can live as we choose, and finally turn to God when it is convenient. It is true that God is patient and always merciful to those who call upon him. There is, however, another side to this coin, which Isaiah alludes to in his haunting words:

            “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near” (55:6).

            On that day in Nazareth long ago, salvation was “near” the family and friends of Jesus. They demonstrated great foolishness by refusing to “seek the Lord” while he was available to them. And there is a lesson here for us!

            A second lesson may be drawn from this scripture. We too are often rejected by others who oppose our efforts to fulfill the mission of God in our lives. Indeed, rejection comes with the territory, like fleas on the dog.

            Peter and John were rejected, to the point of being beaten and jailed. But they refused to quit. Saint Paul was rejected everywhere he went, and like Jesus, Paul moved on to preach the gospel in other places.

            Down through the ages, the great saints of God have been rejected. They too are examples that can encourage us to keep on keeping on when we are tempted to give up.

            John Wesley faced constant opposition to his ministry, to the extent that, denied access to preach in some churches, he resorted to proclaiming the gospel in the open fields.

            In every age, God has called people to be his witnesses. He has sent them out to share the good news with others. The plan has not changed. Jesus sent his disciples out two by two back then. He still sends out those who will go, who have the backbone to be faithful even without the support of family and friends.

            The scriptures teach us that not everyone who hears will receive the gospel in faith. Some will respond with hostility, refusing to believe. Still, our mission is clear. Despite rejection, we must offer Christ to the world. By the grace of God, we can do so faithfully, without caving in to disappointment and self-pity.

            Remembering his example will help steady us in this solemn resolve. + + +