• TeMah LoraLee

Who Did Jesus Reject? (Y1.T1.D34)


Pexels, "Mikhail Nilov"

Racial inequality is a real issue among Christians in America. A 2018 study from PRRI (Public Religion Research Institute)―“the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to conducting independent research at the intersection of religion, culture, and public policy”―found:


Majorities of white Christians, including 53% of white evangelical Protestants, 52% of white Catholics, and 51% of white mainline Protestants, agree that socioeconomic disparities between black and white Americans are due to lack of effort by black Americans. Strong majorities of non-white Christians (72%) and religiously unaffiliated Americans (70%) disagree with this sentiment.


So does the Bible support the “bootstrap” mentality?


Jesus told us not to “give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the pigs, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces” (Matthew 7:6). This seems to infer a need to judge and categorize the people around us.


But how does that mesh with the rest of the Savior’s message?


Whenever a single Scripture confuses me, I expand my reading and consider the verses that surround it.


Directly before the dogs and pigs statement, Jesus taught us to "remove the beam out of [your] own eye, and then [we] can see clearly to remove the speck out of [our] brother's eye" (Matthew 7:5).


Jesus’ entire Sermon on the Mount is about self-examination. He wasn’t talking about an outward "them" but about an inward "me." He’s telling me to carefully consider how I dispense the “holy” gifts of value he provides me.


We can further confirm that Matthew 7:6 doesn’t contain a veiled indication of who he will reject because he speaks very clearly about who he turns away from a few verses later.


In Matthew 7:21–23, Jesus proclaims:


Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Many will tell me in that day, “Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?” Then I will tell them, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity."


According to Luke 6:46, these workers of iniquity that Jesus rejects are those who "don't do the things (he) says.”


It’s that simple.


So maybe the better question isn’t “Who does Jesus reject?” but “Will he reject me?”


The last thing I want to do is become a stranger to the source of all love.

Help Me Listen and Apply


13 “Enter in by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter in by it. 14 How the gate is narrow and the way is restricted that leads to life! There are who find it. (Matthew 7:13–14)

Matthew 7:3–5, Luke 6:41–42


6 “Don’t give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the pigs, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. (Matthew 7:6)


46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things which I say? (Luke 6:46)


21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will tell me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?’ 23 Then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.’ (Matthew 7:21–23)


Matthew 7:24–27, Luke 6:47–49


1 After he had finished speaking in the hearing of the people, he entered into Capernaum. (Luke 7:1)


5 When he came into Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking him for help, (Matthew 8:5)

2 A certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and at the point of death. 3 When he heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and save his servant. 4 When they came to Jesus, they begged him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy for you to do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation, and he built our synagogue for us.” (Luke 7:2–5)


6 saying, “Lord, my servant lies in the house paralyzed, grievously tormented.” (Matthew 8:6)

Matthew 8:7–10, Luke 7:6–9

11 I tell you that many will come from the east and the west, and will sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven, 12 but the children of the Kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way. Let it be done for you as you have believed.” His servant was healed in that hour. (Matthew 8:11–13)


10 Those who were sent, returning to the house, found that the servant who had been sick was well.


11 Soon afterwards, he went to a city called Nain. Many of his disciples, along with a great multitude, went with him. 12 Now when he came near to the gate of the city, behold, one who was dead was carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. Many people of the city were with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said to her, “Don’t cry.” 14 He came near and touched the coffin, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!” 15 He who was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother.


16 Fear took hold of all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and, “God has visited his people!” 17 This report went out concerning him in the whole of Judea, and in all the surrounding region. (Luke 7:10–17)

Meditation Moment


Dear God,


Help me Jesus spend my time and energy hearing and doing what You say because the person in the future You could reject is me. Not because You don't love me, but because I didn't love You. Help me step off the broad path of destruction (Matthew 7:13). Help me express my love for You by obeying Your commands (John 14:15). This includes loving others rather than judging them. I can only do this by trusting You more than I trust myself (2 Corinthians 1:9).


Amen.


Meditation Music Link

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