As a plural noun directed at things, rejects is rather benign; but directed towards humans, devastating. Rejects, objects or humans, are dismissed for failing to meet a standard, or raise to a satisfactory preference. Rejects are outcasts.
I remember vividly hearing a teacher refer to the “rejects over there,” a group that happened to be friends of mine. Was I a reject? Probably. I know we relished not conforming to the social norms of our school, and we probably referred to ourselves as rejects; but to hear it from someone outside the group, devastating, as the rejection became real indeed.
With the advent of social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc. – I recognized something. The majority of us are rejects, in one respect or another, looking for validation and acceptance. We long to be accepted, to fit a standard by which we will be accepted. We all want to belong.
Rejects. A biblical metaphor I reference often is the potters wheel. The Lord as the potter, applying the pressure of His hands in the clay, against the wheel, making a beautiful vessel.
Yet, beside every potters house in the ancient world was a small patch of land called the potters field. It was littered with rejects. Pots that were too brittle or cracked, broken, misshapen, or not to type. Discarded, they broke down further over time, exposed to the elements, and even foot traffic, until to dust they returned.
In modern times, the potters field came to mean something else. The potters field became a municipal site for burying indignant, unclaimed, unnamed people left utterly alone in this world. Perhaps rejected, but also terribly neglected.
In the course of events surrounding the arrest and trial of Messiah Jesus, as He advances to the cross, caught up in the majesty of His salvific work is the purchase of the “the potter’s field, to bury strangers in” (Matt. 27:7).
The money used to betray Him, was now used to purchase a field littered with the dust of long rejected pots, where strangers would be buried. Christ bought a field of rejects.
In our journey for social acceptance, we set up our own standard for it depending on the group, a relaxing righteousness; which does little for the human heart, leading to its continually amended nature.
The message of the potters field in Matthew 27 is for everyone: the rejects, the unknown, the misshapen, the stranger, the sinner, however we may view ourselves and our reasons for rejection.
Christ was the ultimate reject. The one over there. The different. The non-conforming. The righteous. So rejected, so hated by the world that we want to do away with Him, even now.
When we finally see past our rejection, that leads to our self-righteous efforts, there He is, not rejected, but seated in glory encouraging you to come to Him.
Rejection has caused us to be heavy laden with sin, laboring to find our own peace in this world. He wants us to rest. And when we come to Him, in faith, He will not reject us – He will renew and remake us.
The potters field is a graphic picture of Christ purchasing the rejects of this world, trampled to dust in our own anonymity. Having come to the end of our self-righteous attempts at acceptance, we find God, in His great mercy, has already made the way in His Son, by His rejection and blood.
Christ died for our sins, but also for our rejection. He died in order that we be accepted in heaven, where the human heart finally, finally experiences the rest and peace it has labored so hard for in a broken society. See, it was not God rejecting us, but we rejecting Him.
He was the reject that did not meet our standard. The fullness of the Godhead, Christ, was rejected by all of us because His ways were not our ways; and by definition: a rejected outsider.
When Christ died for our rejection, He died for our rejection of heaven by sin; our rejection of the Father’s righteousness. How much did we pursue by flesh means in a vain attempt for social acceptance?
When we finally stop laboring for acceptance, rejection stops. We stop caring about not being accepted by society, and we stop rejecting the love of God in Christ, and the peace that brings.
You and I were once, or perhaps some of you still are, relegated to brokenness in a potters field, but glory to God, we are now a vessel, the habitation for His treasure.
To those who now, or have, felt the sting of rejection, Christ is the remedy, as He bought the field of brokenness where you find yourself, and He did so, long before you arrived.
“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (II Cor. 5:14–7).
Be well. Shalom.