Rejection-returned with grace

I get riled up when I feel like someone has wronged me.  In sinfulness, I justify my own anger and then tend to react out of that anger.  I know that’s not what being a disciple of Jesus should look like – so how should I change?

Luke 9: 51-56

51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village.

Jesus was determined.  The time had come; the time that Jesus had been trying to explain to his disciples about him returning to heaven.  He had set out for Jerusalem.  We read that he had sent a party ahead of him to make preparations in a Samaritan village.  Yet, they did not receive the welcome that they were wanting.  Rejection.  Jesus was already being rejected by the people of the day.

I do not think this passage is focusing on the act of rejection but rather on the response of the disciples.  I find this bit of the passage is rather humorous. The disciples approach Jesus and ask if they can “call fire down from heaven to destroy them?”  Like, Jesus we have faith to do this – let us do this!  I do not know how Jesus could keep it together in listening to this.

The disciples had it wrong.  Jesus did not come to judge or further reject people, but to save.  He set his face toward the cross to save all those who rejected or sinned against him.  This is radically different to what the disciples had in mind regarding the Samaritans. 

We too are like the disciples.  Maybe not declaring fire upon our city when we feel mistreated… but how often do we offer anger to those around us instead of grace and mercy?  I feel the more I live, the more and more I see of my own sin.  On the other hand, I see more and more of the work of God’s grace in my life.  How amazing that is!  Remembering these things helps when I feel like reacting out of rejection and being mistreated. It turns them into a posture of being humble and gracious. 

Head: What is your initial response to being rejected or mistreated?

Heart: How do you think Jesus would have felt being rejected?  What actions did he show to those around him?  Disciples? Samaritans? 

Hands: How can you grow your posture of being humble and gracious towards others today?

Prayer:

Gracious father,

How your mercy and grace is overflowing in our lives.  May it continue to stir within us a life that longs for others to know you and the joy and freedom we have in your name.  Help us not to react out of our emotions, but to remember the great cost that you gave in Jesus for our salvation.  To you be the praise and glory. Amen. 

A song to listen to: Love of the Father (City Alight)

Ellen Wilcox – Living Church Creek Road