A Rejected Valentine
He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. (Isaiah 53:3)
“What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Plate asked them Crucify him!” they shouted. (Mark 15:12–13)
A Rejected Valentine
By: Ashley Peterson (St. Mark Staff Minister Intern)
Think back to your grade school Valentine’s Day party. The entire class would spend a week or two decorating the room with paper hearts and little cupids hanging from the ceiling. Students hand out candy or trinkets like a little heart-shaped maze, saying, “You are A–Maze–Ing.” Some people might have been bold enough to specially pick a candy that says “Will You Be My Valentine?” and give it to a specific person in the class. Then they would eagerly check their candy to see if that same person asked them to be their valentine, only to receive nothing. The feelings are not reciprocated.
That type of rejection hurts at such a young age. So much time and thought went into preparing for the Valentine’s Day Party. If you take that feeling of rejection and amplify it, then we might begin to understand how God felt. He had created this perfect world and filled it with people whom he loved, only for them to turn away from him and corrupt his creation. As soon as it happened, God formed another perfect message to profess his unending love to his creation. He had been working on the ultimate expression of love since the Garden of Eden, but when the message was actualized and delivered to the world, it was spat at, beaten, and crucified. The message was utterly rejected. God had crafted a beautiful story that showed love, mercy, and grace, but only a few people heard and accepted it as truth. In the end, Jesus was so despised that his own people chanted for and craved his death. His own people refused to associate with him. Even Peter refused to admit that he was a disciple during Jesus’ trial (John 18).
How often do we do the same thing? To our human nature, the story of the Bible makes no sense, “for the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing” (1 Corinthians 1:18). In our sinful state, there is no hope to be found. We think all the work for our salvation has to be completed independently. It is as if we take the little valentines card that God painstakingly crafted and tear it to shreds. We turn from God and try to find our path through this world.
When we stop to read the message, we see how perfect a Valentine Jesus is. A message specially written to you. No one could compare to this Valentine. The passages of the Bible might as well have said, “God so loved Ben.” “God so loved Sarah,” “God so loved [insert your name].” We are the one sheep that withdraws from the flock, yet God leaves the 99 to chase us down. Though we were his foe, God fought for us. His love is so great that Jesus willingly suffered pain and rejection to bring us back into the fold.
Song: Reckless Love by Cory Asbury
Prayer Suggestion Reflect on times that you have rejected God’s Word and turned to your own understanding and ask for forgiveness. Praise Him for bring you into his family when you didn’t deserve it.