Throughout His years of ministry, Jesus was despised, criticized, and even rejected by many of the self-righteous religious people because He did not fit their preconceived ideas of the way Messiah should be. He came from the region of Galilee – the “wrong side of town.” He was a poor, itinerant preacher who didn’t have a place to lay His head. Worst of all, He was a friend of sinners and tax collectors.
“He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, and familiar with grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” – Isaiah 53:3 (JCV)
Jesus wasn’t a stickler for schedules or punctuality either.
He was easily distracted by just about any “nobody” He came across who needed His care and attention. In the middle of a large crowd He would stop for a hemorrhaging woman who quietly touched the hem of His garment, or a blind beggar who obnoxiously cried out for His mercy and healing.
He would accept an enemy’s invitation to dinner and counted a diverse list of people as His friends – rich and poor, great and small. Roman centurions, Pharisees, tax collectors, prostitutes, and leprosy victims liked to be with Jesus because they felt loved, forgiven, and accepted. But because of His compassion and openness to all kinds of people, He created a lot of jealousy and opposition at the same time.
Jesus loved the unlovable.
We need to keep this in mind when we are following in Jesus’ footsteps. Some people will love us and appreciate us, and others will despise us and speak evil of us – for no reason. Often, the Holy Spirit will lead us to places no other religious person has ever gone before, or minister the love of God to people discarded by the rest of the world. But Jesus said, “Be of good cheer; if they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great.” – Matthew 5:11-12
– Pastor Luis Yosefus