We all want to be accepted for who we are and for what we have to offer. What a blow it is, then, to be dismissed, ostracized, and rejected.

No one knew this experience more deeply than Jesus. Offering acceptance for so many, he was still misunderstood, feared, and ultimately put to death.

God offers this acceptance now to you. Open your heart to receive that love, as well as the one who came to show it to us.

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“Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.” After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.

John 12:31–36

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People in Jesus’ day rejected the notion that the Messiah, the chosen one of God, could die. Especially they rejected that he could die on a cross, the shame-filled method of Roman execution. But Jesus insisted, “when I am lifted up from the earth [on a cross], [I] will draw all people to myself.”

Sometimes the truth of how God works in the world is scandalous. That God became human in Jesus is for some unthinkable. That eternal life comes to us through Jesus’ death and resurrection is difficult to understand. The call to love enemies and care for strangers is offensive to some.

But God is not bound by human expectation or acceptance. The cross that had been shameful becomes an invitation and symbol for life. Jesus continues to call and draw us to himself. We can walk in God’s light rather than human shadows.

Jay Kieve

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God, you surprise me by your love and ways. Help me to accept your promise of life and your call to serve. Amen.

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Jesus is coming. Will you accept him?
You have a gift. Will you offer it?
There will be sacrifice. Can you make it?

The Gospel of Christ is scandalous,
Yet it contains the very bread of life.

The choice is yours to make.

Jay Kieve

Jay Kieve is coordinator for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina. His wife, Melanie, works for Clemson University. His son, Jesse (17), is a junior at Indian Springs School in Alabama, and his daughter, Emma (13), is a 7th grader at McCants Middle School in South Carolina.

Reflections on the Way: Son of My Soul

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