He was despised, rejected of men…
There is much in the news these days about bullying –horrific examples of man’s inhumanity to man, or children’s inhumanity to other children, as the case may be. Those who are the brunt of such treatment certainly know how it feels to be despised and rejected, isolated from others, victimized and humiliated. It can be so severe it can drive some individuals to take their own lives in their desperation to be free of the psychological and sometimes physical torture. Even death can seem a respite from such rejection.
So many years ago, and still today, God is despised and rejected both privately and in public. There were plenty of bullies in the story of the Passion but more disturbing than the public bullying by the high priests, Herod and the Romans, was the turning away of His friends, disciples and followers. This was worse than cruelty that comes from people in power who need someone to pick on to make them feel they are in control. This was indifference to His severe emotional struggle in the Garden, this was betrayal for a few silver coins, this was His closest ally denying knowing Him not once but three times, this was choosing a convicted insurgent murderer to be set free so He could take his place on the cross, this was derision while He was hanging there suffering.
Even worse than the abuse from bullies wanting to look powerful and the turning away of friends when their support was most needed: rejection of God by God. No human rejection can come close. Being hung on the cross by fellow humans cannot compare to the torture of being left there by God.
God is no bully and has no need to look more powerful to man. He came to earth in the most humble of circumstances. It is our turning away, our rejection of Him that brought Him to come beside us, live and walk among us, eat with us, love us with His human heart and then, despite His cries for relief, die our death.
Our God is wholly God because He was willing to be broken like the most helpless and despicable among us, experiencing our struggles, identifying with us. Death can be no respite for God. Instead of remaining shattered, He rose in victory, undefeated, with power over death itself.
We are invited to turn back, walk alongside and believe, our hearts burning within us for this man who is God living among us.