020 | Rejection into Glory

Sally's fear of rejection kept her from making friends at lunch.

"Jesus quoted this verse at the end of his parable about the evil tenants (Matthew 21:23-46). His point? That he, Jesus, was the stone the religious leaders had rejected but whom God would make into the cornerstone (capstone) of his church."

Whitney Kuniholm wrote this in his reflection on Psalm 118:22. I am journaling through his book titled The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible's Greatest Story. This is the 20th passage of the 100 that are outlined in this book and the last of the 5 Psalm previews of Jesus that Kuniholm included.

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)
Here we have another preview of the Messiah in the Psalms of the Old Testament. A statement about the coming savior that was fulfilled in Christ. Jesus was rejected.

Think about it. I don't care who you are or how old you are, all of us have dealt with rejection in one form or another. Rejected socially, professionally, by enemies, by friends, by loved ones, we have all been there. It is part of this fallen world. Rejection has shaped our personalities and our character in ways many of us would probably not even admit. We have all reacted and dealt with rejection in different ways. No one in this world can escape rejection.

These verses point to what I would call the greatest act of rejection in human history. God sent his Son to earth to redeem humankind, to create a way for all people to enter into a close relationship with Himself, but they rejected him. Led by the leaders of the time and teachers of the Scriptures the people rejected Jesus. Those who God called his people rejected his Son and executed Jesus in the most torturous way. In the very face of this rejection Jesus hung on a cross with the sin of the world on his shoulders, the very sin of those who were rejecting him.

These verses also point to the greatest transformation in history. In Jesus God turned rejection into glory. The rejected One was raised by God to the highest place.

I find profound comfort and encouragement in this transformation of rejection into glory. Our rejection, my rejection, is being transformed into glory, in Christ Jesus. It is marvelous in my eyes. Rejection is being redeemed into glory.
As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by human beings but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. ... Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:4-5, 10)
I like the way Eugene H. Peterson put verse 9-10 in his paraphrased version of the Bible.
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. (1 Peter 2:9-10, The Message)
Accepted by God.

| More on the Essential Jesus journey. |

Illustration credit: The above illustration was created by JC. Visit her on the web at JC's Coffeehouse. This illustration is from her post titled "Rejection" which was followed up with another post titled "Acceptance". Great illustration blog. Check it out!

019 | Permanent

In the light - 27.03.07
I am journaling through the book titled The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible's Greatest Story written by Whitney T. Kuniholm. In reflecting on Psalm 110 Kuniholm writes "... the New Testament refers to this psalm more than any other."

The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." (Psalm 110:4)
Melchizedek, the King of Salem, is briefly mentioned near the beginning of the Bible (Genesis 14), in the middle (Psalm 110), and in more detail towards the end (Hebrews 5, 6, & 7).

Abraham's encounter with Melchizedek as recorded in the first book of the Bible (Genesis 14:17-20) was brief, but as we begin to learn in Psalm 110 had tremendous significance in telling us more about the Messiah.

So what do we know about Melchizedek:
  1. He was a King.
  2. He was King of Salem. Salem means peace.
  3. He was also "a priest of God Most High".
  4. He blessed Abraham and then Abraham "gave him a tenth of everything" he had just won back in battle.
  5. His name means "King of Righteousness".
  6. As pointed out in the book of Hebrews there is no record of his birth or death and so he has no beginning or end.
  7. He was the very first priest mentioned in the Old Testament.
  8. He was not a priest from the line of Levi as was required by the law established later under Moses. Aaron would become the first High Priest of the Israelites. In fact this encounter between Abraham and Melchizedek was before Levi and Aaron were born. Melchizedek was a pre-Israelite priest. Once God established the priesthood for his people all priests were to descend from the Levi tribe.
It is also important to point out that the Levitical priesthood was separate from the Kingship of Israel. Priests were not kings and kings were not priests. The priests were set apart to be mediators between the people and God. The High Priest was the only person permitted to enter the Most Holy part of the temple and only once a year and with animal sacrifice to cover the sins of the people and priests.

Ok, fascinating, we have a mysterious funky named king who was also the first priest recorded in the Bible. So what does this mean to me today?

King David in Psalm 110 compares Melchizedek, both a king and priest, with the coming Messiah. Before the Law was given, before the nation of Israel existed, this King of Salem, this priest of God Most High is a glimpse into the future. He is a preview, a sneak peak, of Christ. In Melchizedek God gives a hint of a new kind of priesthood before the old kind is even established. A hint of a future permanent priesthood. A new order, a new covenant. As we learn in Hebrews the Levitical priesthood was only temporary and could not ultimately change the underline problem - sin. Without a new order we humans could never have direct interaction with God.

Jesus is both our King and our High Priest. He is the King of peace. He is the King of Righteousness! He has no beginning or end. He is eternal. He is our permanent mediator between us and God. In our lives in this world where nothing is permanent, where nothing is forever, Christ is our permanent High Priest.

| More on the Essential Jesus journey. |

The Photo in this post was uploaded to flickr.com by .:: Tomz ::. on 28 Mar 07, 5.17PM PDT. It is titled "In the light - 27.03.07". .:: Tomz ::. gives this description about the photo: "This is Mt. Keilir, a mountain that everybody see on their way to Reykjavik. I was driving and saw the clouds open and letting the sunlight shine straight on the mountain, great moment to stop and take a shoot." It was taken with a with a Canon EOS 5D.


As humans we are limited by the world we live in. We are limited by time and space. We are limited by our own failings. As a result we often put our own human limitations on God. Perhaps not deliberately or consciously, but because we live in a box with limited views, we tend to pull God down into that box and relate to him like he is trapped in our box. Yes we have a few holes here and there that we can look through to get glimpses of eternity. God is not in the box. God is not confined by time and space and can see the past, present, and future all at once. God is not limited by this world.

More and more my prayer is that I will look through the lens of eternity as much as is possible from my box. God's eternity. The eternity he has spoken about in his words to me. The Word. God's eternity that is shown in Christ. Not my temporary little holes.

... more in the E100 series

The photo above in this post is an Untitled Photograph by josef.stuefer, on Flickr

018 | Why is Jesus Hated?

This psalm was especially meaningful to Jesus; he quoted it when explaining why the world hated him and his followers (John 15:25), and no doubt saw his own suffering on the cross echoed in the statement "they persecute those you wound" (Psalm 69:26).

Whitney Kuniholm wrote this about Psalm 69 in his book that I am journaling through titled The Essential Jesus: 100 Readings Through the Bible's Greatest Story.

If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.' (John 15:24-25)
In John chapter 15 Jesus points out that the scriptures predicted that he would be hated. Throughout his earthly ministry, in addition to those who were fascinated with Jesus and followed him, we find people rejecting Jesus to the point of hate. This hate built up into rage which ultimately culminated in the execution of Jesus.
Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal. (Psalm 69:4)
If you follow this hate expressed towards Jesus and recorded in the gospels you will discover that it is centered primarily in the religious leadership, the powerful, those on top of society. In fact Jesus was popular among the people. He connected with the poor and hurting, the outcasts, those rejected by society. He was a friend to the sinners.

Jesus was hated because he was God's standard. He is God's standard for people. He is the perfect person. He is righteousness. He is the plumb line that God uses to check the foundations the people have created.

Without a plumb line we may not know that a vertical surface, wall, or pole is out of alignment. The plumb line provides a comparison, a standard, that let's us know that there is something wrong. Until the plumb line is near the thing being check it is hard to determine if it is straight, vertical, and perfectly aligned. When Jesus came to this earth and lived among us, face to face, it became clear how far off we were from God's standard. The world system people had created was way off the standard. The religious system and laws had drifted away from God's intention. It was most obvious as Jesus stood and taught next to the religious leadership. It was like putting pure white next to what everyone thought was white only to find out that was off white, dirty white, not pure white. Until truth was standing next to a lie we may be fooled into thinking the lie is truth.

Jesus was hated because he was truth (John 14:6). He brought clarity to this world. He proved by his words and life that what people thought was true was not, it was really a lie. This clarity meant something had to change and those who were dependent on the lie being considered truth would lose their comfortable lives. But those who had already been labeled dirty, unclean, impure, and sinners by the world system and the religious leadership now had a way out of society's pit, a way to measure up to God's standard. Jesus was speaking to them, hanging out with them, living with them, helping them, healing them. He called them blessed not cursed (Matthew 5:1-12). Jesus turned the world upside down. Those who had put themselves on top and those who found themselves on the bottom of society were now all on the same level. All people were on the same level, all in the same condition, all far short (Romans 3:23) of the standard when compared to the Son of God. Truth had leveled the field. But through the cross Jesus doesn't leave us at that level separated from God. We are lifted up in Christ.

Jesus is hated because he is THE standard for humans - the perfect person. In ourselves we will never measure up. If we stop here we would blame the standard, hate the standard because all it does is remind us that we are not good enough. But God did not stop there. He sent his only Son to lift us up, wipe away our failures, and align us with the perfectly aligned plumb line. We measure up in Christ!

| More on the Essential Jesus journey. |

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