Who left you standing by the wayside? Was it your mother or father, husband or wife? A friend or a business partner? Was it a fiancé? Your church or an employer? A group of kids at school? Who turned on you? Have you been set aside by those who deemed it necessary? Who left you in the dust wondering what just happened?
I have been cast out. I have been on the receiving end of those who believed it was the only option. I have been on the wrong side of the right/wrong equation. It hurts. It is excruciating. It is undeniably one of the most painful things a person faces. It is undiluted rejection to the core. I have cried with friends who faced the same type of pain. Rejection is a most cruel weapon.
Our instinctive response is to figure out how we can get better and move on. We seek answers and "healing". We want to sanitize the area, remove the evidence and get rid of the scars. The world, and sadly even the church, pushes us to get it together and stop being so sensitive. I don't see that exhortation in the gospel. What I do see is the Savior of the world wounded. I see our Redeemer slain even by those who previously professed allegiance.
|Strozzi's Incrédulo Tomás|
The One who fell out of favor all over the place.
He went from "Hosanna in the highest!" to "Crucify him!"
From "This is my beloved" to "My God my God, why have you forsaken me?"
From teaching inside the temple to crucifixion outside the camp.
From healing others to being bloodied himself.
From a laurel wreath to a crown of thorns.
From throngs of followers to jeering mockers.
Pierced and impaled, his resurrection body bore the scars. Up from the dead He rose with wounds and all. He walked this earth healed and restored but not without the pain of where he had been. This is the same Gospel that speaks to our pain. When Jesus ascended to the Father's right hand he ascended in his flesh with those same scars. He presses His nail-pierced hands together and prays for you and for me right now.
Jesus, Outcast of outcasts. Lord of all, yet risen with scars, with memories, with pain, knowing sorrow and rejection.
What burdens are lifted when we realize Jesus bore it all, including rejection and the humiliation of falling out of favor and being cast out. And yet, he bore it perfectly on our behalf. All of our pain, all of our tears, and all of our cries are not wasted. They are molded into a perfect redemption only Jesus can form. His nail-pierced hand cups our tear-stained cheek and gently catches each one. You and I, we don't have to get this thing right. We don't have to move on, hurry up and get it together.
The world says "I know you and it doesn't look pretty." Jesus says "I know you and you are perfect."