Jesus rejected? How could that be? The people during that first Christmas were anxiously looking forward to a Messiah. Why would they reject Him? They would reject Him because Jesus would come in an unexpected way. The scholars of the day thought they had it all figured out from the prophecies.
First of all, they didn’t anticipate that Messiah would come twice. They assumed He would come once to rule all the earth as a political ruler like King David. Surely, He would be born to important parents and be of the ruling class. He would kick the hated Romans out of their land, and Israel would become a country again. But this isn’t what happened.
Prophecies Predict the Rejection of Jesus
Isaiah foresaw that Messiah would be the cornerstone or foundation of people’s faith. Isaiah 28: 16 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken.
But even though God is sending this cornerstone, it will be rejected. Psalm 118:22 The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.  Peter quotes this verse before the Jewish council (Acts 4:10) and in his first letter ( 1 Peter 2:7) to explain how the people rejected Jesus.
Paul quotes another prophecy in Romans 9. Isaiah 8:14 He will keep you safe. But to Israel and Judah, he will be a stone that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall…15 Many will stumble and fall, never to rise again. It would be as Simeon predicted, Luke 2: 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him.
Many Still Reject Jesus
Many in the first century rejected Jesus because He wasn’t the Messiah they expected. The ESV translates 1 Peter 2:8 this way: “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” The people are offended because Jesus came differently than what they expected.
The same thing still happens today. People are offended because God isn’t who they want Him to be or doesn’t do what they expect He should do. They stumble over their expectations. God is sovereign, as Isaiah told us above. He is the Creator, and we are only the created. We can trust that He is good and loves us. Even though we may not understand the situation, we can trust that God will walk us through it.
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 The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.