(Jesus said) "But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation." Luke 17:25
For many years Robert Manry held the record for piloting the smallest ship ever to sail the Atlantic Ocean.
The trip aboard his boat, the "Tinkerbelle," had difficulties you and I couldn't imagine. For example, because he was afraid of being run over, Manry did not dare to sleep when his craft was in the shipping lanes. The rudder of his vessel broke several times. He was often washed overboard, saved only by the rope he had tied between himself and his 13-foot vessel.
After 78 days at sea, Manry sighted land at Falmouth, England.
Two months at sea had left him with only this desire: he wanted to tie up his boat, find a hotel room, and get some sleep. The enthusiastic crowd that welcomed him had other ideas. A fleet of about 300 boats, all blowing their horns in salute, came out to greet him.
Forty thousand well-wishers lined the docks, cheering him in. Manry had sailed alone, had suffered at sea alone, but he received a hero's welcome!
Of course, Manry is not alone in suffering. Others, like Manry, have also suffered to complete their goals. Like Manry, most of them have been congratulated for their accomplishments.
But that was not the way it was for Jesus. When He died, there were no crowds cheering Him on. The only shouts were people rejoicing over His pain. For Jesus, there was no hotel room where He could rest. There would only be the dark, borrowed tomb.
When He rose from the dead, there would be no crowd of 40,000 well-wishers to acknowledge the event. As He suffered for humankind, He tasted the rejection of the very people He had come to rescue. Fulfilling the Father's plan of salvation for all who would believe in Him was a lonely one.
We need to realize Jesus' life, death and resurrection -- which won our salvation -- was not something He had to do. Nor was it something we had earned. Jesus' sacrifice was birthed out of God's goodness, greatness and grace.
Back then, Jesus' life was lonely. It shouldn't be the same today. Today you, and I, and all Christians ought to spend our lifetimes thanking Jesus for having endured rejection without objection, for having done all that was needed so we could be saved.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, because You are with me, I am never alone. I give thanks for Your presence in my life now and Your blood-bought salvation for my eternity. In You I give thanks. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries