Five Reassuring Bible Passages for those Who Have Experienced Rejection, Persecution, and Alienation
Jesus Calls Matthew
Jesus left that place, and as he walked along, he saw a tax collector, named Matthew, sitting in his office. He said to him, “Follow me.”
Matthew got up and followed him.
While Jesus was having a meal in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and other outcasts came and joined Jesus and his disciples at the table. Some Pharisees saw this and asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such people?”
Jesus heard them and answered, “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. Go and find out what is meant by the scripture that says: ‘It is kindness that I want, not animal sacrifices.’ I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts.”
Matthew 9:9-13, Good News Translation (GNT)
Jesus Is Rejected at Nazareth
Then Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath he went as usual to the synagogue. He stood up to read the Scriptures and was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it is written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free the oppressed
and announce that the time has come
when the Lord will save his people.”
Jesus rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. All the people in the synagogue had their eyes fixed on him, as he said to them, “This passage of scripture has come true today, as you heard it being read.”
They were all well impressed with him and marveled at the eloquent words that he spoke. They said, “Isn’t he the son of Joseph?”
He said to them, “I am sure that you will quote this proverb to me, ‘Doctor, heal yourself.’ You will also tell me to do here in my hometown the same things you heard were done in Capernaum. I tell you this,” Jesus added, “prophets are never welcomed in their hometown. Listen to me: it is true that there were many widows in Israel during the time of Elijah, when there was no rain for three and a half years and a severe famine spread throughout the whole land. Yet Elijah was not sent to anyone in Israel, but only to a widow living in Zarephath in the territory of Sidon. And there were many people suffering from a dreaded skin disease who lived in Israel during the time of the prophet Elisha; yet not one of them was healed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were filled with anger. They rose up, dragged Jesus out of town, and took him to the top of the hill on which their town was built. They meant to throw him over the cliff, but he walked through the middle of the crowd and went his way.
Luke 4:16-30, Good News Translation (GNT)
The World’s Hatred
“If the world hates you, just remember that it has hated me first. If you belonged to the world, then the world would love you as its own. But I chose you from this world, and you do not belong to it; that is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘Slaves are not greater than their master.’ If people persecuted me, they will persecute you too; if they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours too. But they will do all this to you because you are mine; for they do not know the one who sent me. They would not have been guilty of sin if I had not come and spoken to them; as it is, they no longer have any excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. They would not have been guilty of sin if I had not done among them the things that no one else ever did; as it is, they have seen what I did, and they hate both me and my Father. This, however, was bound to happen so that what is written in their Law may come true: ‘They hated me for no reason at all.’
“The Helper will come—the Spirit, who reveals the truth about God and who comes from the Father. I will send him to you from the Father, and he will speak about me. And you, too, will speak about me, because you have been with me from the very beginning.
“I have told you this, so that you will not give up your faith. You will be expelled from the synagogues, and the time will come when those who kill you will think that by doing this they are serving God. People will do these things to you because they have not known either the Father or me. But I have told you this, so that when the time comes for them to do these things, you will remember what I told you.
The Work of the Holy Spirit
“I did not tell you these things at the beginning, for I was with you.
John 15:18-16:4, Good News Translation (GNT)
Spiritual Blessings in Christ
Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! For in our union with Christ he has blessed us by giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world. Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him.
Because of his love God had already decided that through Jesus Christ he would make us his children—this was his pleasure and purpose. Let us praise God for his glorious grace, for the free gift he gave us in his dear Son! For by the blood of Christ we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. How great is the grace of God, which he gave to us in such large measure!
In all his wisdom and insight God did what he had purposed, and made known to us the secret plan he had already decided to complete by means of Christ. This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head.
All things are done according to God’s plan and decision; and God chose us to be his own people in union with Christ because of his own purpose, based on what he had decided from the very beginning. Let us, then, who were the first to hope in Christ, praise God’s glory!
And you also became God’s people when you heard the true message, the Good News that brought you salvation. You believed in Christ, and God put his stamp of ownership on you by giving you the Holy Spirit he had promised. The Spirit is the guarantee that we shall receive what God has promised his people, and this assures us that God will give complete freedom to those who are his. Let us praise his glory!
Ephesians 1:3-14, Good News Translation (GNT)
The Living Stone and the Holy Nation
Rid yourselves, then, of all evil; no more lying or hypocrisy or jealousy or insulting language. Be like newborn babies, always thirsty for the pure spiritual milk, so that by drinking it you may grow up and be saved. As the scripture says, “You have found out for yourselves how kind the Lord is.”
Come to the Lord, the living stone rejected by people as worthless but chosen by God as valuable. Come as living stones, and let yourselves be used in building the spiritual temple, where you will serve as holy priests to offer spiritual and acceptable sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ. For the scripture says,
“I chose a valuable stone,
which I am placing as the cornerstone in Zion;
and whoever believes in him will never be disappointed.”
This stone is of great value for you that believe; but for those who do not believe:
“The stone which the builders rejected as worthless
turned out to be the most important of all.”
And another scripture says,
“This is the stone that will make people stumble,
the rock that will make them fall.”
They stumbled because they did not believe in the word; such was God’s will for them.
But you are the chosen race, the King’s priests, the holy nation, God’s own people, chosen to proclaim the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into his own marvelous light. At one time you were not God’s people, but now you are his people; at one time you did not know God’s mercy, but now you have received his mercy.
1 Peter 2:1-10, Good News Translation (GNT)
Your challenge for today:
TEXT, MESSAGE, EMAIL, or CALL someone whom you haven’t not spoken to in a while. This person can be someone whom you have been ignoring or have not been paying much attention to. The goal is to ask them for their current prayer requests. Whether you pray for them on the spot as you converse (text or call) or take your time in writing it out (message or email), the aim is to fill them with the same hope and love that you experienced from God our heavenly Father.
Q: Who is that one person you are planning to contact and why?
Dear Lord, I am humbled and in awe of just how much You love me. My smallness in this world – against the vastness of the universe and the sheer number of people that populate this planet – is very clear to me. But in You and with You, I am thankful for I know my worth. Heavenly Father, words cannot describe how blessed I feel to know I am Your child. Whatever rejection, persecution, and alienation I may experience in this world, I know that Your love for me is greater and stronger. I lift up to You my joy and my pain. May I never forget where I came from and where I am going. I praise Your name now and forever!