Following Jesus When Wounded by Rejection

Aaron Birk August 22, 2021 John 18:1-24
Outline

Isaiah 53:3 - He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

John 1:10-11 - He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.

3 ways Jesus encourages us to respond to rejection

I. Consider Christ’s Control of the Circumstances (v.1-6, 19-24)

A. Jesus plans the perfect place for treachery (v.2)

John 18:2 - Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples.

Psalm 55:12-14 - For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, then I could bear it; nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, then I could hide myself from him. But it is you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend; we who had sweet fellowship together walked in the house of God in the throng.

B. Christ chooses criminal like confrontation (v.3)

John 18:3 - Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons.

Luke 22:52-53 - Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber? While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.”

C. Jesus knows his betrayal and bears it with bravery (v.1, 4)

John 18:1, 4 - When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples…So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said to them, “Whom do you seek?”

John 10:17-18 - For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.

D. God guides the questioning to reveal his glory (v.4-6)

John 18:4-6 - … Whom do you seek?” They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He said to them, “I am He.” And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. So when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

John 8:58 - Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”

II. Look to the Lord of Love in the Face of Denial (v.7-9, 15-18, 25-27)

A. Jesus is a faithful friend to fearful and unfaithful followers

John 18:8-9 - Jesus answered, “I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way,” to fulfill the word which He spoke, “Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one.”

John 13:1 - Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

John 17:12 - While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.

John 18:26-27 - One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” Peter then denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed.

Luke 22:61-62 - The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

Romans 5:8 - But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

B. Jesus does not retaliate when ridiculed and persecuted

John 18:22-23 - When He had said this, one of the officers standing nearby struck Jesus, saying, “Is that the way You answer the high priest?” Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?”

III. Submit to a Savior Who Suffers for the Sins of Others (v. 10-11, 12-14)

John 18:10-11 - Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”

Matthew 26:39 - And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”

John 18:12-14 - So the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him, and led Him to Annas first; for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people.

When was the last time you were served a big plate of rejection? I’m talking where your denial was so bad you were chewing it for days.

We all experience the wounds or rejection. Rejection racks our lives.

For example,

  • You were sidelined in sports from playing or starting…
  • I remember the pain of being rejected from the first club soccer team I tried out for
  • The first interview I had with a company I was interested and qualified for in college rejected me.
  • I applied for several universities and all my top picks rejected me, but the Lord knew I needed to come to Purdue.

Painful wounds of rejection escalate in relationships with those we are close to…

  • Can you relate to the pain of rejection from someone you liked:
  • The first girl right before college I ever decided to pursue a relationship with, dumped me within 24 hours.
  • Being disowned and distanced by family members
  • Maybe rejected by your parents
  • Or to have an adult child no longer want to associate with you.

We all want to find acceptance, to be desired and chosen by those we love, but what we receive regularly in life is rejection.

When we experience these wounds…do you believe God can help us still Enjoy Life in Christ’s Name?

Our hearts need to hear words about our Savior, Jesus Christ….amazing words like….like that the Chosen One of God, the One in Whom God the Father was well pleased…

Isaiah 53:3 - “He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”

The gospel of John reminds us how the anointed one, the chosen King of God, Jesus Christ, was rejected by his own people…of all the people you would expect to accept and receive him….

John 1:10-11 – “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.”

God wants you and I to Enjoy Life In Christ’s Name…even when we face the wounds of rejection as followers of Christ in the world, the workplace, the church, in our homes or family.

Please open your bibles to John 18:1-24. That is on page 87, in the New Testament in the back of the Bible under the chair in front of you.

“When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples.

2 Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples. 3 Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, *came there with lanterns and torches and weapons.

4 So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and *said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He *said to them, “I am He.” And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. 6 So when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 Therefore He again asked them, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus the Nazarene.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way,” 9 to fulfill the word which He spoke, “Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one.” 10 Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus. 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”

12 So the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him, 13 and led Him to Annas first; for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. [Note: Only John includes this detail about being taken to Annas first, Annas is the High Priest who is distinguished from his son-in-law Caiaphas who served as a high priest. Caiaphas is the one questioning beginning in verse 24, and Annas is the one questioning in verse 19.] 14 Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people.[remember John 11:47-53]

15 Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple [Note: Most likely this is John the Disciple]. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, 16 but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in. 17 Then the slave-girl who kept the door *said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He *said, “I am not.”

18 Now the slaves and the officers were standing there, having made a charcoal fire, for it was cold and they were warming themselves; and Peter was also with them, standing and warming himself.

19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about His disciples, and about His teaching. 20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret. 21 Why do you question Me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; they know what I said.” 22 When He had said this, one of the officers standing nearby struck Jesus, saying, “Is that the way You answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?” 24 So Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied it, and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, *said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” 27 Peter then denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed.”

This morning God wants us to consider:

Following Jesus When Wounded by Rejection

3 ways Jesus encourages us to respond to rejection

Rejection is painful because it reminds us…we can’t control whether someone will choose to accept us and love us even if we want it so badly. The circumstances of rejection are beyond our ultimate control…but not Jesus’s control.

1. Consider Christ’s Control of the Circumstances (v.1-6, 19-24)

You will be encouraged when wounded by rejection to consider Christ has total control over the circumstances leading to the cross. The rejection you experience is part of Christ’s plan. You must have a Cross-Centered and Christ-Centered view of rejection.

You and I would probably never choose the path of rejection…Nobody goes through all the effort of applying to a job because they want to be denied and would choose that…no one chooses to get married if they knew it would end in a painful divorce.

Yet our Savior.

A. Jesus plans the perfect place for treachery (v.2)

Jesus finishes the last meal with his disciples in the upper room before his death. He alerts them about the traitor among them, Jesus leaves and he gives final words of comfort and encouragement to the troubled disciples. Jesus prays and then sets out to accomplish the mission that God gave him…that the Son of God, Jesus Messiah will be glorified, lifted up, through his sacrificial death for our sins and he will resurrect from the dead to give eternal life to whoever would believe in Jesus. Jesus does not alter his plans or course. He goes and does what he normally did praying and meeting with his disciples in the garden.

v.2 - “Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples.”

Can you imagine planning to be betrayed in a place where you once shared some of your sweetest moments of fellowship with your closest friends?

Think about the grief that Jesus was going through that night as he contemplated this painful path. And he continued to move toward it.

Some know the pain of being betrayed or rejected by the closest of friends and can even remember the place of the betrayal. I imagine that Jesus was grieved like the Psalmist who said…

“For it is not an enemy who reproaches me,
Then I could bear it;
Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me,
Then I could hide myself from him.
But it is you, a man my equal,
My companion and my familiar friend;
We who had sweet fellowship together
Walked in the house of God in the throng.” Psalm 55:12-14

Take heart you have a Savior who understands rejection by the closest relationships…who chose the path of rejection so that you could have a sympathetic Savior to help you respond in a way that honors God to rejection.

[possible application to DivorceCare FCI or counseling]

Not only does Jesus plan the place, consider his control over the situation that…

B. Christ chooses criminal like confrontation (v.3)

God’s Chosen King of the world chooses to be taken into custody as a criminal…he has total control over the way in which he is going to be rejected, taken away, suffer, and die. And God’s plan is that the righteous one, who did no evil, is going to be tried and treated like an evil doer.

v. 3 - “Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons.”

Notice, that all of this is happening at night under the cover of darkness… Jesus emphasizes the way that they are seizing him is like they are confronting a criminal…

Luke 22:52-53 - Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber? While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.”

Jesus chose a path that involved confrontation and being treated like an evil doer, that will lead to a death sentence of the cross being numbered and killed with thieves and transgressors. When we consider this, it should not surprise us as a church family that as we seek to follow Christ that people may say and do all kinds of evil against you because of Christ. You may be rejected by others as if you were the evil doer, even when what you were intending to do was to honor and obey the Lord.

There have been times when I have counseled others that I have been accused or treated as if I was the one who did the evil against the other person, when I was seeking to serve and help them address their struggles that they said they wanted help with.

When we face being associated and treated like evildoers there is just this anger that rises up in our hearts at the injustice…that’s not fair…that’s not true…. well what encourages my heart is considering that my Savior is in control of the situation, and he of all people knows what it means to be accused or confronted like an evil-doer. So, Lord, help me to respond like you…

So Jesus plans the place…he chooses the confrontation…and Jesus

C. Jesus knows his betrayal and bears it with bravery (v.1, 4)

Look at the courage of our Christ. He does not run from the rejection and betrayal. He went forth to face it. He bears it with bravery.

v.1, 4 - “When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples.” […] “So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said to them, “Whom do you seek?”

Jesus leads and goes to the place he knows Judas will find him. Jesus knowing all the things that were coming upon him….

  • The kiss of betrayal
  • The abandonment and denials
  • The accusations and mocking
  • The striking and scourging
  • The stripping down and nakedness and humiliation
  • The taunting, the searing pain of the Cross.
  • The feeling of suffocation gasping for breath.
  • The wrath of the God’s justice toward the sins of the world that he comes to take away.

And Jesus goes forth … Who is like You O LORD? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders?!!

This is why the Father loves the Son…Jesus Christ obeys and lays down his life on his own initiative…”

Remember what Jesus said…he is fulfilling his mission that the Father sent him to do. No one can take Jesus’s life from him…with courage he offers up himself to save us from our sins and bring us to God.

John 10:17-18 - “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

We see Jesus’s control is for a purpose…that he gets the glory and that people may know who he is…

D. God guides the questioning to reveal his glory (v.4-6)

Did you see who leads the questioning, who takes the initiative?

This scene is perfectly orchestrated by Jesus so that Jesus does the questioning in such a way he reveals who he is….and shows is in control and cooperating with his own arrest…

v.4-6 - “… Whom do you seek?” They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He said to them, “I am He.” And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. So when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.”

Jesus wants them to clearly know that he is Jesus the Nazarene, he is the one that they are seeking. And when he says, “I am” they drew back and fell to the ground. I think the readers of John would be remembering those “I am” statements in John and have in their minds this is Lord…

John 8:58 - “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”

When Jesus just identifies himself and the soldiers don’t arrest him and fall to the ground…The text just screams Jesus has the power…Jesus is in control…this night of rejection and hour of darkness is under Christ’s authority.

It would be a really good time to run away when everyone who was coming to seize you fell to the ground…Jesus is staying. Jesus is accomplishing the Father’s will so that he will be glorified.

Do you see rejection from a cross centered perspective that how you respond in a moment of rejection reveals the glory of Christ in you?

When wounded by rejection consider Christ’s control over all the circumstances involved in his own rejection and let that encourage your heart to a Christlike response.

Second,

2. Look to the Lord of Love in the Face of Denial (v.7-9, 15-18, 25-27)

Rejection is so painful because we are looking for love and acceptance and then we don’t get it.

We hoped they would choose us, but they don’t. We are weighed and found wanting.

Where and more importantly who you look to for loyal love and acceptance is so important.

  • Who is friend to me in my failure?
  • Who accepts me knowing my sins?
  • Who wants me knowing my weaknesses?

We must look to Jesus, the Lord of Love, and see…

A. Jesus is a faithful friend to fearful and unfaithful followers.

Jesus leads the questioning. It’s him they want and not his disciples. He tells them to let the disciples go free.

v. 8-9 “Jesus answered, “I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way,” to fulfill the word which He spoke, “Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one.”

That’s our shepherd protecting his sheep. Jesus made promises in John 6:37-40, 10:28, 17:12, 13:1 that Jesus will love his disciples and protect his sheep. Jesus will lose none that the Father has given him.

Such as when Jesus said…

John 13:1 - “Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.”

Or later when he prays…

John 17:12 - “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.”

Jesus is not vindictive and wanting revenge knowing Peter’s going to deny him three times. He faithfully loves unfaithful followers to the point of death and they will go free on his account.

He knows that they are going to follow at a distance.

He knows the disciples are going to fear being associated with him.

When asked if they know or have been associated with Jesus they deny him.

v. 26-27 - “One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” Peter then denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed.”

As Pastor Bob Anderson and I were talking about this passage he mentioned…Peter probably never heard a rooster crow in the same way ever again…

Luke records the grief and sadness of this moment…all Jesus’s closest friends are fearful, abandoned him and left him alone…and when Peter denied Jesus for a third time…

Luke 22:61-62 –“The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.”

We can relate to Peter can’t we. The shame and sadness of our sin against Jesus. To know that Jesus looks and sees it. The awful truth that we all reject and disown God and live like there is no God above who sees our unfaithfulness.

Who would ever draw near to us knowing all the worst things about us?

Who would love such unlovely and loveless people?

How amazing is the good news of Jesus Christ? Jesus says my answer to “that” your sin and unfaithfulness to me is this…

John 15:13 - “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

Romans 5:8 - “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Jesus faithfully loves us, unfaithful sinners, and lays down his life for us to that we can be forgiven and made new and become friends of God.

Church family. As we think about this fall, will the loyal love of Christ compel us to be ambassadors for the Lord?

We want to be associated with his name because we have life in his name.

[Application to fall ministries]

  • Or are we denying Christ before others in our workplace when asked?
  • Are we fearful of being associated as a Christ follower?
  • Would we rather have the approval and acceptance of men and the comfort of a warm fire?

Or the joy of pleasing and loving the faithful one who truly loves us, Jesus Christ.

Then, notice when Jesus was sinned against.

B. Jesus’s does not retaliate when ridiculed and persecuted.

Jesus speaks about the consistency of his message. What he taught in private and in temple is what he taught openly in public without malicious motive or intentions. But

v. 22-23 - “When He had said this, one of the officers standing nearby struck Jesus, saying, “Is that the way You answer the high priest?” Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?”

Jesus does not retaliate sinfully but like 1 Peter 2:22-23, continues entrusting himself to God to judge righteously. Jesus challenges for a fair trial to produce witnesses against what he is saying.

When you are rejected you may want to clamor for fairness and justice, but may never get it in this life?

What will help you to continue to please the Lord is looking to Christ’s example and continuing to do what is righteous and follow in his steps without returning evil.

When you do this know you…

3. Submit to a Savior who Suffers for the Sins of Others (v. 10-11, 12-14)

Submission that involves suffering is not something we are eager to embrace.

Why should I suffer because of what other people did or choose to do?

Why as a Christian would I choose to submit to the Lord and honor him even if it does not go well for me in this life and its unpleasant and painful?

We need to be we are serving and submitting to a Savior who suffered for not his own sins but our sins.

Christ understands better than you do what he is calling us to do. He knows it’s not easy or comfortable, and by Jesus’s power and grace he can help us to submit and obey God’s word even when suffering is involved.

Suffering Servant-like submission is not a popular life path. It’s not the typical way that we think God’s plans and purposes will be accomplished.

We see this in Peter’s response…

v.10-11 – “Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”

Peter thinks he should defend Jesus and fight, but to do so is against the purpose for which Jesus came. (Luke 22:35-38, 49-51).

Jesus’s interests are not sinful man’s interests. He came to accomplish the Father’s will and to bear the wrath of God for our sins on the cross as a suffering servant for the sins of others.

Jesus knows submission to God’s will can be unpleasant…remember what he prayed in the garden…

Matthew 26:39 – “And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”

This cup of the Lord’s wrath is horrific we get a glimpse of its horror in Revelation 14:9-10. We see the plan of God involves one man to die on behalf of the people. Christ must suffer and die, so that we might have eternal life.

v.12-14 – “So the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him, and led Him to Annas first; for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people.”

It is tempting for us to think we have a right to escape suffering because of the sins of others. We don’t think it’s fair or right. It’s tempting to excuse sinful responses because of someone else’s actions and then do whatever we think is right.

  • Well they did a poor job on their part of the project, therefore I don’t have to honor the Lord in my area of responsibility.
  • What they said hurt me, therefore I can complain about them.
  • They did not act how I wanted, therefore I get a pass on communicating and responding in a godly way.

Brothers and sisters, we cannot use the presence of suffering in our life to justify our disobedience and unwillingness to follow Christ’s commands.

Are you thankful that Jesus left you an example to follow in his steps?

You have a Lord and Savior who is familiar with obedience to God even when suffering such as rejection is part of his plan for your life.

May Jesus Christ’s example when betrayed and rejected encourage us to respond differently as his followers.

1. Consider Christ’s control of the circumstances.

2. Look to the Lord’s love.

3. Submit to your Savior who suffered for your sins.

Authors

Aaron Birk

Roles

Pastor of International Ministries - Faith Church

Bio

B.S. – Accounting and Management, Purdue University
M.Div. – Faith Bible Seminary

Aaron is married to Tirzah and has four children: Zemirah, Boaz, Keziah, and Isaiah. Aaron is the Pastor of Global Missions for Faith Church. He serves as a service Pastor for the 11:00 a.m. worship service at Faith West. Aaron oversees international student and family ministries, missionaries, and short-term missions. He teaches in Faith’s Biblical Counseling Ministries and is certified as a biblical counselor through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).