All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John. ~ Luke 7:29, 30
READING: Luke 7:29, 30
As church planters we frequently run into people who reject us or reject the gospel we present. Rejection can make us feel insecure – How could I have presented it better? What’s wrong with me?
After that colonel rejected me, this Scripture comforted me and showed me a way to understand rejection. When people react to us they don’t do so as an empty slate; their response reflects the accumulated effects from their many little choices and their many previous experiences.
The folks in John’s day who decided to get baptized by John had previously chosen to embrace God’s purposes, which, in turn, made them more receptive to follow Jesus later on. Conversely, the Pharisees rejected Jesus partly because they had previously rejected God and previously rejected John’s baptism. My boss, the colonel, had closed his heart to God years before we ever met.
It had nothing to do with me.
We should share the gospel and live our lives as winsomely as possible, avoiding any unnecessary offense. But we should also get out of the way. It’s really not about us. It is, for each of our hearers, one in a series of solemn choices. It’s primarily between them and God.
John did his job well, both for those who rejected him, and for those who accepted his message. For some blessed few, he was a stepping stone in their journey to Christ.
Dear Lord, Help me to rest in the assurance that I am accepted by You and share the good news without fear. Amen.
Dynamic Church Planting International (DCPI) “Equips Leaders to Plant 5 Million Churches Worldwide.” Learn more