Rejection of Christ (part 4)

John Reiss, image

Continuing John Reiss’ message about rejection, and this week focusing in Christ…

First, John’s comments and scriptures…

 

Rejection is a big topic in the Bible, and to set the tone let’s look at a few verses from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

First, in Isaiah 53:3, is a prophecy of the coming Messiah, “’He was despised and rejected by men…”

For a New Testament verse, in John 1:11 John writes of Jesus, “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive Him.”

And for a final verse in the introduction, in John 15:25, Jesus recites from a prophecy in the Psalms that states, “They hated Me without a cause.”

1Peter 2:4 calls Christ “…a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious.”  Luke 20:17 says that the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone in the temple of God. The cornerstone is the principal, and most carefully constructed stone placed at the corner of a building11, and 1Peter 2:5 calls Christians living stones in this very temple.

My thoughts…

Now, as many in the world celebrate Easter, I would like to look at our rejection of Christ.

No, not in the way you might think – His crucifixion after He celebrated His last Passover with His disciples.

His purpose was to die for our sins. What I would like to consider is how the cross became a bunny rabbit and Easter eggs.

bunny and eggs

I looked it up on the Internet –

“The Bible makes no mention of a long-eared, short-tailed creature who delivers decorated eggs to well-behaved children on Easter Sunday; nevertheless, the Easter bunny has become a prominent symbol of Christianity’s most important holiday. The exact origins of this mythical mammal are unclear, but rabbits, known to be prolific procreators, are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. According to some sources, the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs. Eventually, the custom spread across the U.S. and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced nests. Additionally, children often left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all his hopping.” (Emphasis mine)
http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/easter-symbols

There is a lot more information there – but be warned, adverts start playing when you have been on the page and start reading.

Several sites mention the link to the German migrants. If I remember correctly from my school history Christmas trees and Christmas cards also came from Germany via Queen Victoria’s husband, Albert.

So… to celebrate with eggs and an Easter bunny which is really a hare – is a tradition of men. Mmm.

I am reminded of Christ’s castigation of the Pharisees and leaders…

gospels listed on page

…’but in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.…
Mark 7: 7- 9

There are many other such verses – but notice it says the commandment of God is set aside in order to keep our traditions.

Perhaps we should look at our traditions and stop trying to ‘Christianize’ them.

Pondering,

Susan

I found an interesting article concerning Easter in the Sydney Morning Herald, newspaper.

Click here to read it.

 

 

Rejection of God

Rejection of God (part 3)

A reminder that this is a ‘rejection’ series, based on a sermonette given by John Reiss of Chicago.

His definition of rejection is…

“Rejection can come in many different forms, and on different levels. The Bible is full of stories of the godly being rejected by the world.   Genesis sets us the pattern…”

Here, I will diverge from John’s message because he did not go into Adam and Eve’s rejection of God. Most of us  know the story – Eve ate the forbidden fruit, found it good to eat, and gave it to her husband, Adam.

The garden of Eden with the fall of man, by Jan Brueghel de Elder and Peter Paul Rubens
The garden of Eden with the fall of man
*oil on panel *74.3 × 114.7 cm *signed b.l.: ETRI PAVLI RVBENS FIGR.*signed b.r.: IBRUEGHEL FEC *circa 1615
Wikipedia commons

Sometimes it seems there is an implied criticism of God for putting them in the Garden and leaving them… at the mercy of Satan. Perhaps.

Some things to consider…

In Genesis 3 we notice that God was walking in the Garden. When Adam and Eve hid themselves, God asked, “Where are you…”

This puts a question in my mind… did God usually walk in the Garden, enjoying His creation and talking with Adam and Eve in ‘the cool of the day’? (verse 8a)

Change situations for a moment and think about your own child-rearing (or if you are not a parent, how you were instructed as a young child).

child chewing electric cordIs your child free to roam and explore without instruction… or were you let loose – in the home or outside? I remember the ‘lectures’ about what I could and could not do; warnings about the nearby river, about crossing the street, talking to strangers… etc etc. And I remember giving similar warnings to my own children.

Is it likely…

That God, not only our Father… but with His new creation,  made in His own image… would NOT instruct them? I DO NOT THINK SO!

Adam and Eve did not have mobile (Australia) cell (US) phones. They would have talked to each other, and God. There were no other people there to call them or distract them.

Aha… but there was Satan, who by this time was God’s adversary. He was not always this…

“You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: ….”
Ezek 28: 12b, 13a

In verse 14 it says, “You were the anointed cherub who covers… and in verse 15, “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you…”

Most Christian denominations recognize that this was Lucifer, who became Satan… the adversary. (Some gnostic teachings do not recognize this.)

on your belly, image
San Diego Jewish World

So, Satan, presumably still beautiful, approached Eve. (Nowhere in the Bible does it say that when he was cast out he became ugly… or a serpent.

‘On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust… was the curse on him. Before that there is no mention of the Adversary being ugly, or a slithering snake.)

Eve was taken in by this clever fallen angel, and ignored God’s warning to them. Adam presumably watched. He did not step in to caution her to remain obedient. Was he curious to see what would happen? (Did either of them know what ‘die’ meant?)

Adam accepted the fruit when his wife offered it. In putting his own desires before God’s instruction he rejected God.

There are many ‘thinking points’ to the whole story, but the fact remains that by their disobedience, Adam and Eve rejected God and chose ‘self-government’.

If we are honest, are we any different? What or who do we choose? Self-government… or to believe God. For some there is no recognition of a God. And there are many ‘flavours’ between those who believe.

One day we will know. Till then perhaps we should more carefully consider our ways.

Thinking,

Susan

 

Rejection – by brothers (part 3)

This week John looks at Jephthah the Gileadite.

Do I hear you ask – who?

His story is in Judges 11, and all John looks at for now is the first three verses.

Book of Judges image

“1. Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute. 2 Gilead’s wife also bore him sons, and when they were grown up, they drove Jephthah away. “You are not going to get any inheritance in our family,” they said, “because you are the son of another woman.” 3 So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob, where a gang of scoundrels gathered around him and followed him.”

My thoughts…

In this short three verse opening I see much unfairness. Jephthah was rejected through no fault of his own. He was a baby conceived through an affair. He was certainly not at fault. His mother was a prostitute, no attempt to hide her profession seems to have been made, but his father had a legitimate wife… why did he go to a prostitute? Perhaps she was not a prostitute but a concubine. It is hard to tell from the limited information I found. It seems though that Jephthah was raised in his father’s house, with the wife and her legitimate sons. (Hagar’s son Ishmael was raised in Abraham’s family. A son, but not the son of promise.)

Verse 2 of Judges 11 says that when his father’s legitimate sons were grown they drove him away, telling him he would not receive any inheritance in the family. Perhaps the father was dead by then.

There is a lot more to the story of Jephthah in the Bible, but John’s point in these vignettes has been looking at rejection/love hurting.

jephthah driven away

Considering the possibility that as a child and young man, Jephthah was raised in his father’s home, and when the legitimate heirs were old enough, implying they were younger, they drove Jephthah out.

There must have been hurt involved. It might even have been long-standing hurt. Did Jephthah live in the home knowing the resentment of these brothers simmering beneath the surface? How did the legal wife treat this son?

It might not have been so much different from what Joseph went through, only in his case he was the young brother.

How many times these days do children ‘bear’ the guilt or shame of their parents. Hopefully not many.

Sometimes – “it’s not my fault.” is true. But as the message on the featured image says – it is still lonely.

Sharing John’s vignettes,

Susan

Next time – it’s God.

Rejection (part 2)

Continuing the story of ‘rejection’ and ‘love hurts’, John Reiss looked at the story of Joseph. (The coat-of-many-colors’ Joseph.)

John Reiss, image
In talking with John about this, there were many aspects he was unable to cover in the time he (John, the author) had available.

·
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Let’s look at what John said…
Joseph was an obedient son who was loved by his father but rejected his older brothers.  Jacob gave him a coat of many colors to show his special affection for his son.  BibleHub.com says that “It was a garment of privilege and status.”

This favoritism is included in the Bible as one of the reasons why Joseph was hated by Jacob’s other sons.

“And he [Joseph] said unto them [his family], Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance [bowed] to my sheaf.”

“And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.”
Genesis 37: 6, 7 & 9

Joseph's dream of the sheaves

When Joseph later related his dreams, his brothers interpreted them as saying that he would have dominion over them, and it pushed them over the brink.

What John did not have time to include in his sermonette, but we talked about, was the ‘history’ between the brothers.

Joseph was a much younger brother, the son of Rachel, the one his father had expected to be marrying in the first place. There was much  rivalry between the mothers, as well as Joseph very clearly being his father’s favorite.

As John said, they interpreted that as their young brother saying he would ‘rule’ over them. Well, they certainly did bow before him when he was second in command in Egypt, but at that time did it seem an example of arrogance from an indulged and favored son?

Once again, John gave me several meditation points…

yellow bird among dark onesFamily rivalry is still in existence today. One child may believe another is favored, and because of divorce and remarriage… often original offspring struggle with feelings of rejection and self-worth.

As adults it would be helpful to realize that through a child’s eyes things might seem totally different to the way the parent or adult meant.

Some years ago, on a trip home to Scotland I remember being amazed to hear my brother say that I had been my mother’s favorite. As a child, it seemed quite the opposite to me. She favored him in so many ways. According to him she frequently talked about how ‘clever’ I was, what good marks I had in school, and how successful I was. I might add here – he was successful. He was lead guitarist and singer of a popular group… in spite of having blown part of his hand off in a young teenage experiment.

Did my mother favor either of us, or was she skilled in letting each of us think the other was the favorite? I don’t know. But that discussion with my brother was very helpful.

Communication image

Communication is necessary in avoiding misunderstandings… we need to keep open communication, two-way communication. Sometimes what a person hears is not what the other person says.

Something to think on

Susan

Next time John has a look at the rejection of Jephthah the Gileadite