Rejection of Jesus was not unusual in his day, as the gospel of Mark reminds us, and it’s not unusual today. Today, however, it’s influenced by some different factors.
For example, our western world resists the idea of Jesus as a unique Savior and Teacher. We live in a pluralistic society, and so when we say Jesus is a unique Savior and Teacher, we seem to deny the truth in other religions and religious teachers.
What about the Dalai Lama? What about Buddhism, Hinduism, the religion of native Americans? Don’t they teach the truth? When you claim that Jesus is unique, you seem to deny there’s truth in other religions and religious teachers.
In answer to that, we can say that we believe there is a human search for God that has been going on from the beginning of the human race. The human spirit is always searching for God and its search has been blessed by wisdom and spiritual insight. Other religions have been blessed with truth.
But the uniqueness of Jesus comes from the fact that God approaches us. He sends us his Son. Jesus is his Word to us. His revelation is something we couldn’t arrive at on our own. We didn’t earn it. “This is my beloved Son, hear him,” God says from the heavens as Jesus is baptized. God takes the initiative and calls us into friendship with him, eternal friendship. It’s a promise beyond what we could dream of.
And Jesus not only promises new life, but he takes away what hinders us from enjoying a life with God. He takes away sin.
There are other factors today for people rejecting Jesus, particularly in our western world. Many fear that following him will cause them to lose their own personalities and dreams. He’ll take over our lives and impose on us a mold of his own. We don’t like losing our individuality–not at all.
There’s a fear too that a code of morality will be imposed on us that will deaden our lives and make us scared to love and to live. For many Christianity appears to be a religion of cold moralism, but it isn’t.
In the synagogue of Capernaum, Jesus drove out the unclean spirit from the man.”Quiet! Come out of him!”
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
He has to drive out our demons too.