"The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes." - Psalm 118:22-23
There is nothing cute about being rejected.
"We don't want you." "We don't accept what you have to offer." "You don't measure up to our standards." "Who you are is not good enough for us."
According to the prophetic interpretations of Isaiah 53, Jesus was despised and rejected by men and women; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. His rejection was not the transitory rejection of being denied a job opportunity or not being selected for a sports team.
The rejection Jesus bore extended from King Herod's attempt to kill him at birth to those who voted without dissent to have him publicly humiliated and executed at Calvary. The religious leaders and their populist minions had successfully orchestrated an elaborate rejection of Jesus—a rejection that resounded throughout all of Palestine.
But the power of the Resurrection is that no rejection we face—no matter how perpetual, no matter how powerful, no matter how imposing—no rejection is indicative of our divine destiny. Martin Luther King, Jr. has commended the words of James Russell Lowell to us:
"Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne-
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow, Keeping watch above his own."
Mahatma Gandhi is credited with saying: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
The power of the Resurrection is the power to step outside the prescribed molds of safe assimilation and be the authentic presence God created us to be. Today we celebrate the power of an Affirmation that defies every condemnation of death.
Live in me forever . . . Lord Jesus! Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.