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Prophesied Suffering and Rejection of Jesus

Discuss about the Suffering and Rejection of Jesus, and Teachings.

The suffering and rejection of Jesus was long prophesied by the prophets of God even before it happened. According to the Psalmist’s Prophecy in Psalms (41:9, 110 1-2). The Psalmist in chapter 41:9 complains about the friend he trusted who betrays him: He indicates, `Even my best friend, the one I trusted most, the one who shared my food, has turned against me.’ In some people’s lives, there comes a season where friends and family turn against you, you feel betrayed and unloved by the most you love most and the ones you least expected to hurt you[1]. This is what happened to Jesus when Judas Iscariot betrayed Him by exchanging him with thirty silver coins. Judas was led by a detachment of soldiers and some official s from the chief priests and Pharisees. Although this happened, God had assured Jesus victory against his enemies by making them a footstool for His feet[2].

According to Isaiah 53, the chapter talks of the suffering servant. Jesus was an innocent person who carried the burden of our sin but the observers thought that He was being punished for His sins. The writer identifies Jesus as the suffering servant, but through His suffering, salvation is brought to nations. Prophet Isaiah depicts the following experiences that Jesus go through: The servant is rejected and despised by those who are with him; he is harshly treated, arrested, sentenced to death and killed.  He also adds that was mocked and spat on, He accepts the suffering which should have been received by others for their sin and it is the will of God that the servant should suffer. Through it all His death brings forgiveness of sin, human beings are reconciled to God and His success and honor will surprise many who have witnessed his suffering[3].

Jesus teachings and works usually brought conflicts between Him and the religious leaders. Jesus one time was ministering in Nazareth, His own village where he attended a service in the synagogue. He had sufficient knowledge on the Law and the Prophets. He was given a scroll of prophet Isaiah and opened the chapter which was written that He is the appointed one by God who comes to save the poor by bringing the good news to them. Jesus later then rolled up the scroll and gave it back. Everyone in the synagogue stared at Him and Jesus commented that the scripture has been fulfilled in their hearing. Everyone of Him and they were fascinated at the message that his words communicated[4]. However when they realized that He was claiming to be the expected Messiah, they turned hostile and started saying He is Josephs son[5]. This indicated that they had rejected Him but He responded by saying that no prophet is ever accepted by His own people. Jesus told them that they will quote to Him a proverb by asking Him to save Himself just as He did in Capernaum. He also said that during Elijah’s and Elijah’s time, the prophets only attended to those who had faith but the people had rejected their forefathers.

Jesus Teaches and Works: Conflict with Religious Leaders

This made His listeners even more hostile as they chased Him out of town and tried to kill Him as their mission was to throw Him off the cliff though he walked away. Jesus did not perform kind of miracles He had performed at Capernaum because He did not want to look like a wonder worker in order to get followers. He only performed miracles to the people who had Faith in Him[6]. The people of Jerusalem rejected Jesus for telling them that the Good News was first offered to the Jews but they had rejected it, so it would be made available to the Gentiles.

Opposition to Jesus preaching was mainly from the Jewish leaders, Pharisees, Sadducees and the Scribes. They did so due to the following reasons: Jesus claimed to have the power to forgive. One day as Jesus was teaching in a house, and Sadducees and Pharisees were among His audience. A man who was paralytic was brought to His presence and when He saw the great faith that the man had he proclaimed `Your sins have been forgiven my friend’ (Luke 5:20). When the Jewish leaders heard these they started saying that Jesus was speaking in blasphemy, as they believed that the power to forgive was only reserved for God and that the punishment for blasphemy was death.

Jesus association with the tax collectors and sinners: Jesus accepted invitations from tax collectors and when He appointed Levi to be His disciple, Levi held a feast and among his guests were tax collectors. According to Luke 5:30, they asked Him the reason as to why he ate and drank with the tax collectors and other outcasts ‘He responded by saying that those who are well do not actually need a doctor as compared to those who are sick, He meant that He came to save not the righteous but the sinners that is He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 5:30)[7].

Jesus failure to observe the law on fasting: The Pharisees had introduced fasting twice weekly and attached great importance to it. Fasting was a sign of sorrow and great repentance. Questions were asked that why the disciples of Jesus did not fast, like the Pharisees did and Jesus answered them in Luke 5:34 `Do you think you can make the guests at a wedding party go without food as long as the bridegroom is with them? He meant that the wedding feast was like the Kingdom of God and therefore His disciples should not fast while He was with them although a time would come where He would be taken away from them and they would have a reason to fast.

Reasons for Opposition to Jesus Preaching

Jesus attitude towards Sabbath: Jesus approach towards Sabbath clashed with the Scribes and Pharisees, who disapproved cooking, walking for long distances, healing, digging which are among the 39 activities, which they translated as work. Jesus said that works of necessity could be allowed during Sabbath. He actually performed healing during the Sabbath day[8].

Christians should not judge against nor condemn those that are different from them, as they should love without discrimination just as if Jesus associated Himself with the tax collectors.

Church leaders should make policies and rules that promote Church development rather than making Church members slaves of the Law that stress external observance more than inner righteousness because such rules create disharmony causing Church members to leave[9]. Christians should be ready to assist the needy despite rejection, suffering and opposition they may face in the process.

Luke 13:31-35, Jesus was being advised by Pharisees to go elsewhere as Herod intended to kill Him. He responded to them by telling them to inform Herod that He was still going to perform His works of healing and other miracles for the next three days. Verse 33, Jesus says that `It is not right for a prophet to be killed anywhere except from Jerusalem’. He responded well to the threats and He showed courage that He was not escaping death but was travelling to Jerusalem, which is His appointed place of death. Jesus referred Herod as a cunning fox and He lamented over Jerusalem for it repeatedly killed the prophets and messengers of God. Since Jerusalem will reject Jesus, God will abandon Jerusalem until the moment they confess that those blessed are the ones who come in the name of the Lord’[10].

Jesus also faced betrayal from Judas, Peter denied him three times and He was crucified between two thieves. Through all this, He finally rose from the death on the third day. As Christians we are reconciled to God through this, the same way Jesus was given the power to conquer sin and death is the same way Christians who have faith in God will overcome physical death[11]. Christians have been given hope of eternal life as well as living new lives in Christ. Through His suffering, Christians have been given hope of having The Holy Spirit who acts as our helper and continues to strengthen and guide the Church today[12].

Ahearn-Kroll, Stephen and Stephen P.Ahearne-Kroll.The Psalms of Lament in Marks Passion: Jesus Davidic Suffering.Vol 142. Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Lessons for Christians from Jesus' Suffering and Rejection

Charlesworth, James H. Archeology of Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus: `Introducing the Need for Archeological Enriched Theology’.Roczniki Kulturoznawcze, 6(3), Pp.43-44.

Crass, Samuel. ‘The sacrifices of God: the broken heart in the psalms.’(2017).

Dinker, Michal Beth. Suffering, Misunderstanding: The Markan Misunderstanding Motif as a form of Jesus’ Suffering. Journal of the Study of the New Testament 38, no. 3(2016): 316-338.

Gillingham, Susan. ‘Psalms 90-106: Book Four and the Covenant with David.’ European Judaism 48, No.2 (2015).

Grant, Jacquelyn. ‘White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus, Women’s Studies in Religion (2017).

Smith, Steve. The Fate Of The Jerusalem Temple In Luke –Acts: An Intertextuality Approach To Jesus Laments Over Jerusalem And Stephens Speech.Vol.553.Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016.

Stickler, Joshua. ‘Psalms of Lament as Resource for Contemporary Christian Worship’ (2015).

Tabb, Brian J. `Is The Lucan Jesus A `Martyr’? A Critical Assessment of Scholarly Consensus.’ Catholic Biblical Quarterly 77, No.2 (2015).

Tucker, J.Brian.Jesus Wept: The Significance Of Jesus’ Lament In The New Testament.’ (2017):580-581.

Watts, Rikk E. The Lord’s House and David’s Lord: The Psalms and Marks Perspective on Jesus and the Temple ‘Biblical Interpretation 15, No.3 (2007): 307-322

Wilson, Benjamin R. The Saving Cross Of the Suffering Christ: The Death of Jesus in Lukan Soteriology.Vol.223. Walter De Gruyter GmbH& Co KG, 2016.

[1] Crass, Samuel. ‘The sacrifices of God: the broken heart in the psalms.’(2017).

[2] Stickler, Joshua. ‘Psalms of Lament as Resource for Contemporary Christian Worship’ (2015).

[3] Dinker, Michal Beth. Suffering, Misunderstanding: The Markan Misunderstanding Motif as a form of Jesus’ Suffering. Journal of the Study of the New Testament 38, no. 3(2016): 316-338.

[4] Charlesworth, James H. Archeology of Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus: `Introducing the Need for Archeological Enriched Theology’.Roczniki Kulturoznawcze, 6(3), Pp.43-44.

[5] Wilson, Benjamin R. The Saving Cross Of the Suffering Christ: The Death of Jesus in Lukan Soteriology.Vol.223. Walter De Gruyter GmbH& Co KG, 2016.

[6] Smith, Steve. The Fate Of The Jerusalem Temple In Luke –Acts: An Intertextuality Approach To Jesus Laments Over Jerusalem And Stephens Speech.Vol.553.Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016.

[7] Watts, Rikk E. The Lord’s House and David’s Lord: The Psalms and Marks Perspective on Jesus and the Temple ‘Biblical Interpretation 15, No.3 (2007): 307-322

[8] Ahearn-Kroll, Stephen and Stephen P.Ahearne-Kroll.The Psalms of Lament in Marks Passion: Jesus Davidic Suffering.Vol 142. Cambridge University Press, 2007.

[9] Tucker, J.Brian.Jesus Wept: The Significance Of Jesus’ Lament In The New Testament.’ (2017):580-581.

[10] Grant, Jacquelyn. ‘White Women’s Christ and Black Women’s Jesus, Women’s Studies in Religion (2017).

[11] Gillingham, Susan. ‘Psalms 90-106: Book Four and the Covenant with David.’ European Judaism 48, No.2 (2015).

[12] Tabb, Brian J. `Is The Lucan Jesus A `Martyr’? A Critical Assessment of Scholarly Consensus.’ Catholic Biblical Quarterly 77, No.2 (2015).

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