In courtrooms, judges sometimes dismiss charges. When a trial is over, the judge dismisses the jury. In the military, personnel are dismissed. Classes are dismissed for the day or the term. Other than these settings, the word dismissed isn’t used much. But it occurs on a regular basis when we dismiss others, sometimes overtly and sometimes with a look or just a thought.
For most of human history, anyone thought to be different or inferior for any reason, from being poor to belonging to the wrong tribe or ethnicity, was rejected, passed over or cast aside with little regard for the effects on that person. It’s been done intentionally and unintentionally, but either way, being dismissed isn’t enjoyable. It makes you feel inferior, unimportant and rejected. Those doing the dismissing can be arrogant, lacking in compassion or just impatient. We’ve probably all been in both positions at various times in our lives.
Jesus experienced the biggest dismissal of all time when he was unfairly tried and sent to his death on the cross. This wasn’t your ordinary, picked-last-for-the-team dismissal or being overlooked because of a perceived lower status. No, this was dismissal taken to the highest degree – it was rejection of God himself.
Jesus knew this would happen. He gave up the glory he had with the Father and became a human being, knowing he would be “despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain” (Isaiah 53:3, NIV). Unlike us, he was totally secure in his Father’s love, knew his purpose and even though he was human, didn’t respond to hurt feelings the way we do. When we’re rejected, we can lash out, turn inward or do harmful things to ourselves or others.
Of course Jesus felt pain. I’m sure it saddened and hurt him when his family, friends and even the disciples made harsh comments or turned away from him. His rejection by Judas and by extension, all of humanity, hurt him in a way only God can experience. We can’t begin to understand it. But we can begin to understand the great love behind the plan for the Son to give himself for us. It was the love that drove him to finish what he and the Father started and the joy that kept him on the cross when his pain-wracked body cried out for rescue.
Jesus was rejected, despised – dismissed – and so are we at times. We have his love, grace and mercy to remind us these minor rejections don’t matter. His love reminds us of his acceptance of humanity and that we should dismiss no one, as we are all under the umbrella of his grace. His mercy helps us give mercy to others.
Jesus died to make all the dismissals we give and receive disappear at the culmination of his grand plan of redemption. We will never again have to feel the sting of rejection or be summarily dismissed. We can now and forever bask in his loving acceptance.