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Rejection is a cruel and spiteful potter, each one of us has felt its touch, though by varying degrees, during our life. God, in creating us in the image of Himself, created a longing within us …a longing to be embraced, accepted, even loved.
He understands rejection, that echo of a heart-wound first reverberating in heaven's own chambers. I wonder if there is any wound, when it comes right down to it, capable of inflicting more pain, wounding more deeply, than rejection. It cuts to the core of our spirit, our soul ... to the core of what we were created for.
That's why God, from Genesis to Revelation, is seen ceaselessly, sacrificially, wooing us, single heart by single heart, to Himself. He longs to be received, to be accepted, to be knit by a heart-binding relationship with each one of us.
And here, in John 7:1-7, stands Jesus, in the midst of his brothers, in the midst of his earthly family, in the midst of those who have been the recipients of his outpourings of love for over thirty years. None know him as intimately as they. None are known as intimately by him as they, so the knife cuts deeply as their words slice his heart to the core.
It's so easy, in reading the story of Jesus' earthly journey, to see little more than the flat, one-dimensional character on a page. But to understand him, to understand the depths of his grace, the bottomless reservoir of his love, the unshakeable heart-wrenching fiber of his humility, we must crawl into his skin. Allow his own pain to seep into our soul, drop by drop.
Within this portrait a drop spills. The mocking tip of a brother's dagger. The oozing venom of a brother's scorn. Not falling from one beloved brother, but from all.
The depths of Jesus' aching loneliness come only in snippets, of which this is one. Jesus recognizes the messenger. He's known him from the days when only light pierced eternity. He recognizes the voice …heard first in an other-worldly chamber. And now its here … residing in the hearts he has loved an earthly lifetime.
I can't imagine his pain! Love cannot detach its heart from his beloved, nor wants to. Love would readily die for them. A piece of Jesus must have suffered a bitter tasting death here, and a deeper determination to see his mission through to the end, that those he loves, those he shares such a history of loving with, would at last embrace him, when their eyes finally open.
Love is a two-sided coin. We don’t think about that often, or at least I don’t. To love much requires a willingness to be stamped with the coin’s other side …a willingness to be achingly vulnerable. To love much is to be open to drinking fully of sorrow’s cup. Jesus did this, and his brother’s words must have come close to filling that cup to overflowing.
How do I know? It’s there, in Jesus transparent response. “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me …” And they? Their attitude bore a more biting reflection of the world's. And pain pulsed. It had to. Yet love propelled his feet forward, undeterred from his course, setting them like a compass to accomplish his father’s purpose.
I cannot leave this passage without finding the courage to look at my own life, my own words, the motive behind so many of my own actions … and arrive at a haunting reality.
As Jesus’ beloved, how often I myself inflict that same pain of rejection’s blade upon the heart of One yearning for my love, yearning for my acceptance … yearning for my coming to the place where I believe Him … unwaveringly, without question, without hesitation ... a believing that marks me as woven to His heart.
© DeAnna Brooks
20 September 2006
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"I believe Him … unwaveringly, without question, without hesitation ... a believing that marks me as woven to His heart." Thank you for making me reaffirm this glorious truth. Jesus makes all the difference to our lives. We are united to Him. God bless, Miriam.