4 As you come to him, the living stone who was rejected by people but was chosen and precious in God’s sight, – 1 Peter 2:4 ISV
Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was rejected by His own people. He could do very few miracles in His own hometown because the people there thought of Him as just a carpenter, the son of Joseph and Mary. We can expect to be rejected as well, the created should not expect better treatment than the Creator received. Just as Jesus was ridiculed and rejected by those who knew Him only as a human, so can we expect to be treated the same way. This rejection did not keep Jesus from loving and ministering to those around Him who accepted the words that He spoke. Neither should ridicule or offensive remarks keep us from loving and witnessing to those around us. Jesus was chosen by God to give up everything, come to earth and live among humans who would not welcome Him as the Son of the Creator. We are chosen by God to give up nothing to receive everything and live among humans as holy priests. Our sacrifice is spiritual, we speak the words that the Holy Spirit gives us. This is acceptable to God. The ultimate end of the earthly ministry of Jesus was not shame but glory. If we trust in Him and remain faithful, our ultimate end will not be shame but an eternity in heaven praising Jesus because He was faithful and was chosen to rule the universe.
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” — Rev 5:13 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
5 I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him.
I have put my hope in his word. — Psalm 130:5
Psalm 130 NLT
Our hope as Christians is that when we leave this world we will be with Jesus for eternity. This hope is not only built on the Word of God, it is guaranteed by the death and resurrection of His gift to us, His Son. We receive assurances that this hope is true in our own life experiences. As a child, my Mom told me “Son, you are going to have problems in life because you don’t take other people’s word for things, you have to experience them all yourself”. That prophecy came true, much to her regret in a lot of cases. And looking back on my life much to my regret in a lot of cases. But looking back also gives me confidence that my hope is built on Jesus and His Word because of the many times He has rescued me and brought me safe this far.
12 Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!” — 1 Samuel 7:12
My life is strewn with Ebenezer stones and the remembrance of those times assures me that God’s word is true and that He is faithful all the time. What a great hope we have because our salvation is based on His word and His faithfulness.
53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? Are you greater than the prophets, who died? Who do you think you are?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I am merely boasting about myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who says these glorious things about me. You say, ‘He is our God,’ 55 but you do not even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But it is true — I know him and obey him. 56 Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.” 57 The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus answered, “The truth is, I existed before Abraham was even born!” 59 At that point they picked up stones to kill him. But Jesus hid himself from them and left the Temple.—John 8:53-59 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
Jesus explains to the people that they don’t really know God even tough they claim God as “our God”. If they really knew God, they would accept Jesus and be excited that the Messiah had come in their lifetimes. Jesus says that even Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to the birth of the Messiah. The people really didn’t accept this. Since Jesus is not even fifty years old, how could He possibly have seen Abraham? Then Jesus makes a statement that really gets the crowd worked up. “I existed before Abraham was even born”. The truth is more than that, Jesus existed before _______ and it doesn’t matter what you put in the blank, Jesus already existed.
1 In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.
3 God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.—John 1:1-3 (NLT)
The crowd became so angry that Jesus had to slip away or be stoned to death. The name of Jesus still causes that kind of reaction today. When the name of Jesus is spoken, there is no neutral ground and there is no procrastination. You either have to accept Him or reject Him. What choice have you made?
1 Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. 3 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth.4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.–James 3:1-6 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
We all know the old saying: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Or as I learned it in my childhood “words don’t bother me”.
Either way, it is wrong. With our tongues, we can speak words of life or words of death. The death might be a relationship or a lost opportunity. We can speak words of peace or words that stir up anger. We should always consider our thoughts carefully because those thoughts turn into words that can buildup, tear down or completely destroy. We can think of our thoughts as a text message we are about to send, once we hit the send button, there is no way to recall the message regardless of how much we regret the words. Our words can truly fan a small spark into a raging wildfire causing damages that may not be repaired. Take the example in Ferguson, MO right now, regardless of how we feel about the situation, it is our duty to speak words of peace and restoration.
9 God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.–Matt 5:9 (NLT)