Read: Mark 6:1-29
Jesus was rejected by His own, but He was not surprised by it. He is limited by unbelief
Being fully God and yet fully man, Jesus experienced the pain of rejection. He was rejected by His own family, â€œnot even His brothers believed Himâ€ (John 7:5). His community rejected Him, neighbours and friends â€œtook offense at Himâ€ (Matthew 13:57). Peter and Judas rejected and betrayed Him. He was â€œtroubled in His spiritâ€ when He foretold about Judas (John 13:21). Jesus experienced rejection from the Father as He cried from the cross â€œMy God, my God, why have you forsaken me?â€ (Matthew 27:46). Sin entered the world when two people rejected God and His command, leading to Godâ€™s eternal rejection. Jesus redeemed us from that curse and rejection by taking it upon Himself.
Jesus first experienced everything that we now experience in order to redeem it all, to cover it all in grace. What surpasses comfort is the knowledge that the gospel stands as the unfaltering, unchangeable answer to rejection. By the power of the gospel, we have received the â€œSpirit of adoptionâ€ (Romans 8:15). Thatâ€™s permanent, binding acceptance. We know that, now, nothing can separate us from the Fatherâ€™s love (Romans 8:38-39). Manâ€™s rejection is made so small in light of the truth that, through the gospel, we have Godâ€™s eternal love and acceptance, unconditionally. What can manâ€™s rejection do to us if Almighty God is for us?
But, Jesus marvelled at their unbelief. Jesusâ€™ power was limited by the unbelief of His countrymen. The Bible does not record that Jesus marvelled at art or architecture, or the manâ€™s ingenuity, or the piety of the Jews nor the military dominance of the Roman army. But Jesus marvelled at faith present at a least expected place (Matthew 8:10, Mark 7:29) and at the unbelief of the people. In a way, our unbelief can prevent God from working. The Bible says, Jesus could not, not would not, do any miracles.
John Bunyan in his book Come and Welcome Jesus, contrasts faith and unbelief. Here some of them:
- Faith sees more in a promise of God to help than in all other things to hinder.
Unbelief sees more in the things that hinder than in Godâ€™s promise to help.
- Faith sees love in the heart of Christ when he speaks to reprove us.
Unbelief sees anger in Godâ€™s heart when he says that he loves us.
- Faith gives comfort in the midst of fear.
Unbelief brings fear in the midst of comfort.
- Faith helps the soul to wait, when God defers to give.
Unbelief takes the huff if God makes us tarry.
- Faith will suck sweetness even out of Godâ€™s rod, but
unbelief finds no comfort even in his greatest mercies.
- Faith makes great burdens light.
Unbelief makes light burdens heavy.
- Faith lifts us up when we are down, but
unbelief throws us down when we are up.
- Faith brings us near to God when we are far from him.
Unbelief puts us far from God when we are near to him.
- Faith purifies the heart.
Unbelief keeps the heart impure.
- Faith finds the ways of God pleasant and admirable.
Unbelief makes them heavy and hard.
May, â€œLord, I believe. Help me overcome my unbeliefâ€ (Mark 9:24) be our heartâ€™s cry too. Would you ask God to enable you to rest on The Firm Foundation?
- In what ways have you experienced rejection in your life, and how has it affected you?
- Can you think of a time when your lack of faith prevented God from working in your life? What could you have done differently in that situation?
- How do you personally struggle with unbelief, and what steps can you take to strengthen your faith?
For more daily devotions like this – At the Potter’s Wheel (Kindle)