“Every knock is a boost!” boasted one Moishe Rosen, founder of Jews for Jesus and a giant in Jewish missions in the 20th Century. I had the privilege of knowing and learning from Moishe, as I did two missionary stints with Jews for Jesus totaling 8+ years.
That quip was a reference to the catalytic nature of opposition, persecution, hostility, and even rejection – as it relates to our identifying with the Lord. Though counter-intuitive on the surface, the principle behind this phrase – ‘every knock is a boost’ – is present in the biblical narrative.
For humanly speaking, we will tend to view rejection as something negative. But experienced through the eyes of faith, rejection is something else – something powerful and positive. For rejection can actually be a means of blessing!
In the previous blog, The Blessing of Rejection: Part 1 (to read, click title), I shared about my own experience of rejection due to my faith in Jesus. I also touched upon the Lord’s own experience with rejection – for He was ‘despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief’ (Isaiah 53:3).
The very first time Jesus spoke in public, he uttered these challenging and profound words regarding rejection:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.” (Matthew 5:10-11).
Yes, there is a cost to following Jesus – it is the cost of discipleship. And part of that cost is rejection that may come because we identify with Him! And with that cost comes a blessing. But let’s not pretend – rejection isn’t easy nor desirable from a human perspective. Yet spiritually, it can strengthen our faith in ways no other experience can – and in that sense – we find the blessing of rejection.
With this in mind, let’s touch upon three faith-strengthening principles highlighting the blessing of rejection:
Rejection Affirms the Word of God
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me” (John 15:18-21).
When we experience persecution and hostility because of our faith, Jesus’ words should resonate with us. It’s worth noting that we believe all of God’s word by faith. Some of God’s Word we can’t experience this side of glory, like heaven. Yet there are other truths we can and do experience in our present reality – like rejection.
For example, I mentioned in the last blog how my father rejected me due, in part, because of my faith in Jesus. The Lord speaks about His bringing about conflict in families, stating:
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ (Matthew 10:34-36)
I realize some of you reading this may not resonate with this scripture personally, yet believe it because it is God’s Word. Yet, others of you have personally experienced this scripture.
In either case, persecution, opposition, hatred and even rejection affirms what the Lord said would happen to His children.
Rejection Authenticates our Witness for God
A visible and verbal witness for Jesus, even when the potential for rejection exists, authenticates our witness for Jesus.
In fact, the Lord noted the importance of confessing Him before people:
“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33)
The Apostle Paul added in 2 Timothy 1:8:
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.”
In my personal journey of faith, some of the most powerful times of communion with the Lord and points of blessing occurred in the midst of complete and utter rejection due to my faith. And in my heart I experienced the whisper of God, saying, “Well done.”
Being silent and invisible in our Christian walk is not optional for the believer who truly desires to follow Jesus. But when we shine the light of Christ and proclaim His name and His truth, even when it’s uncomfortable to do so, we will be encouraged and the Lord will be pleased.
Rejection Accents our Future Hope with God
This world is not our home – we’re just passing through. In fact, rejection in the here and now will be swallowed up by reception into our heavenly home some soon tomorrow.
And as we live and witness for Jesus, our end-game should be to store up treasures in heaven. And as we do, part of that depositing includes rejection due to our faith.
Jesus made that crystal clear in the Sermon on the Mount. For He began His earthly ministry by including teaching on heavenly reward, when He proclaimed:
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12)
Oh, the promise of our heavenly home. Yes, it will be a place where there is no more death, mourning, crying, pain [and rejection], for the old order of things will have passed away (Revelation 21:4).
So, be encouraged, be strengthened, and be ever-mindful of our blessed hope. For there is blessing in rejection.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Hebrews 12:1-3).