Focal Passage: Mark 6:1-6, 45-52; 7:8-9, 13
The following story is true with names changed.
Maria grew up in church, singing in children’s and adult choirs. Her love for music led her to a music conservatory and on to a career that included solo work with the Pittsburgh Symphony.
Later, her husband’s work transferred Maria’s family back to the city where she grew up. For months Maria was not invited to sing in the church choir where she was formerly a faithful member. As Christmas approached, preparation for the cantata began. On the eve of the presentation, however, the soprano soloist contracted laryngitis.
Choir members knew that, with Maria’s credentials, she could sing the solos from sight.
They invited her and she accepted, feeling at home again. Afterward, she continued attending choir rehearsals.
A few rehearsals later, however, a choir member approached her and said, “Now that the cantata is over, we don’t need you any more.”
Perhaps Maria’s rejection fulfilled Jesus’ words in Luke 4:24, “I assure you: No prophet is accepted in his hometown.”
Similarly, but on a wider, eternal scale, Jesus began His public ministry by reading scripture in the synagogue (Luke 4:16-24). One would have expected the Jews to welcome Him and become
His followers. He bore the credentials of the Messiah they had long awaited: He was a Jew, He spoke highly of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, spent much time in the temple and synagogue, and taught truths about the God that the Jews worshiped. But, as Isaiah prophesied, Jesus was despised and rejected (Isa. 53).
As witnessing Christians, you and I will at times experience rejection. Perhaps incidences come to your mind when you were rejected because of your faith.
Today, many people delight in doubting Christ. They compare religions, accepting none. Ready to discuss and argue Christianity, they practice religious gymnastics, developing the muscles of their minds instead of their hearts and eternal souls. When we encounter such people, we should rejoice, because our reward will be great in heaven (Matt. 5:12). Jesus said, “Whoever tries to make his life secure will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”
We can be sure that God has the final word. Those in the synagogue who heard Jesus read departed this earth long ago. Jesus completed His work on earth and returned to heaven, and at first opportunity, Maria returned to Pittsburgh.
Think for a moment. If we choose to reject Christ and His salvation … what remains?