The Rejection of Jesus
You reject Jesus when…
Rejection of Worship
“Vessels” are the utensils of worship. Jesus stops the commerce and the empty worship of the Temple.
The chief priests and the religious leaders reject Jesus not because He purged the Temple but because He accepted worship as the messiah.
You reject Jesus when you worship someone or something other than Him.
Rejection As Lord
The landowner is the Heavenly Father, the tenants are the religious and social leaders of Israel, and the heir is Jesus.
The tenants knew who the heir was, yet they killed him to protect their self-interests. Matthew 21:38
The chief priests and Pharisees know who Jesus is, yet they decide to kill Him to protect their self-interests. See also John 11:48
You reject Jesus when you put self before Him.
Rejection of Protection
Those that rejected Jesus were sentenced to hell. Matthew 23:33
Jesus wanted to gather Israel under His protection but they were “unwilling.” Matthew 23:37
Jesus offers everyone eternal protection through His blood. Sadly many are “unwilling.” Won’t you trust in Christ today?
What on Earth is Happening?: What Jesus Said about the End of the Age by Ray C. Stedman
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A time coming when all of this will end. Some think it will be because of global warming. Others point to nuclear war. Or maybe an asteroid strike. But the real reason is God. God is going to put an end to all of this. How do I know? Because God told us in His Bible.
The important thing is not that the end is coming, nor even how it will all end. More importantly, have you accepted or rejected the person and work of Jesus Christ.
I am a reluctant end-times preacher. I know that many people love messages on the end-times. I also know that some of the great preachers expound on this subject. I’m not one of them.
But here we are about to begin a study on Matthew 24 and 25, on what is called the Olivet Discourse. Why, if I am reluctant, am I preaching on this topic? Because Jesus said these words and I think it is important to study the words of Christ. And every day we get another day closer to the end.
Let’s look at Matthew 24:1. In verse one we read that Jesus departed from the Temple and that the disciples pointed out to Him the temple buildings. This seems insignificant. So what if He left the Temple. The point of this verse is that Jesus walked out of the Temple and He is not going back until He comes again.
How do I know this? Look at Matthew 23:39. So Jesus is saying that He is leaving the Temple and will not return until they welcome Him back.
What led to this departure? That is our subject today as we study the Rejection of Jesus Christ.
Turn back to Matthew chapter 21. Go to verse 12. Matthew 21:12. Jesus has entered Jerusalem on the back of a colt, surrounded by people praising Him and waving Palms. This is the event from which we get Palm Sunday.
He then goes to the Temple and drives out the money changers. Movies on the life of Jesus always include this scene. It usually portrays a wild-eyed Jesus, sometimes with a whip, flipping tables, and opening animal cages.
The gospel of Mark records the same scene. But Mark adds something that I want to include. Put your finger in Matthew and flip over to Mark 11:15.
Look at verse 16, Jesus stops people who were carrying, the NIV translates as “merchandise” the KJV says “vessels.” I’ve heard it taught that people, going about their business would cut across the Temple, using the Temple as a shortcut, to get from one side of town to another.
But Ray Stedman, in his book What on Earth is Happening? gives a different point of view.
He writes, “The word ‘vessel’ refers to a utensil of worship. Mark is telling us that Jesus not only shut down the commerce of the temple but He also shut down the religious rituals of the temple.” (Stedman 22)
I’m going to turn back to Matthew 21 and make this point. The Temple and its worship practices were offensive to God. Why? The Temple had become a place of merchandise instead of a place to worship God. And its worship, that too was hollow, empty. Why? Because they rejected the one they should be worshiping.
Look at Matthew 21:14-15.The Temple leaders reject Christ not necessarily because He purged the Temple but because the people worshiped Him. The people were doing what those who ran the Temple did not do, they focused their worship on Jesus Christ, the Messiah – The Son of David.
Let me pause and ask you to tell me about the place you worship. Where is its focus? Does your place of worship declare Jesus Christ to be God? If not, then you are rejecting Jesus like these Temple leaders.
The people selling doves and the money changers were actually providing a valuable service to the Temple. The people needed these doves to participate in the worship and they needed Temple currency in order to give an offering. The service these people provided was not wrong. Rather it had overtaken the Temple. The buying and was the priority.
Tell me about where you worship. Maybe your place of worship is about music, or caring for the poor, or educating children. These are good causes. But when these things become the focus, when a church is all about its music or its services, then the church is no longer about Jesus. Thus the church is no different than the Temple in Matthew 21. And then you are rejecting God the Son.
Now let’s turn to Matthew 21:33, to what is often called the Parable of the Tenants. The parable of the tenants is a story about a landowner who plants a vineyard then rents that vineyard to some farmers. These farmers are to work the vineyard while the owner is away.
Now when the harvest comes the owner sends his servants to collect and the tenant farmers “beat one of the servants, kill another one, and stone the third. Take a moment and read Matthew 21:37-45.
My takeaway is this. The tenant farmers are the Chief Priests and the religious leaders of the day. The owner is God the Father. The son is Jesus. The story tells me that the tenant farmers knew who the son was. They knew full and well who the son was yet they still killed him because they wanted to hold on to what they had. Likewise, the priests and the Pharisees knew who Jesus was, but still they wanted to put an end to Him. They wanted to kill Him so they could hold on to what they possessed.
Some of you reading this know who Jesus is – God the Son – and you know what Jesus did – died on the cross for your sin – yet you still reject Him. Why do you not put your faith in Jesus? Why do you not make Jesus Lord of your life? Because you would rather hold on to the life you have. You know that Jesus is God and you understand that He died for your sins, yet you still reject Him.
In the parable, the owner of the vineyard brought these wicked tenants to judgment. Don’t let this life, which you are trying to hold on to, cause you to be judged by God. Trust in Jesus.
- Admit that you are a sinner.
- Believe that Jesus, God the Son, died for your sin.
- Call upon God to save you.
Do not continue to reject what you know is true. Believe on Jesus Christ.
So and the end of Matthew 23:37-39 Jesus says his peace and walks out of the Temple. He will not return to the Temple until He comes again. And every day the time for His return gets another day closer.
Are you attending a place of worship that does not acknowledge Jesus as God – that focuses on things other than Jesus? You can try and change it, but you may have to leave and find a church that is Jesus-focused. Because until that happens you are in a place that rejects Jesus. And are you sitting here now, aware of who Jesus is and what He did for you, yet still you reject Him. Today is the day of salvation my friend. Stop what you are doing and ask Jesus to save you.