William the Conqueror was born a long time ago, in 1027, in a town called Falaise, Normandy, which is now a part of France. He was the son of Herleva, the daughter of a local trader, and Robert, the Duke of Normandy. Everything seemed good. Except for the tiny fact that Herleva was not actually Robert’s wife. William was an illegitimate child, and this fact didn’t go unnoticed by the public.
From very early on, William was teased by seemingly everyone in town, and the nickname, “the Bastard” soon stuck. Though he was rejected and ridiculed, however, he was not without hope. Despite his illegitimate lineage, his father insisted William would be his heir. It’s true that William was Robert’s only son, but that didn’t faze William in the least.
To make matters worse, attempts were made on William’s life on two different occasions. At one time, Robert, probably feeling guilty, decided to go on a pilgrimage. While he was away, local Norman lords attacked William’s kinsmen. It was bad, so bad that William had to run away to save his life. And he was only eight years old!
The second attempt happened when he was twenty. “The rebelling barons” conspired against him, and if a faithful servant hadn’t warned him, he would have been six feet under.
As it turned out, everyone except his own father rejected him, but he never gave up. He kept holding on, for he knew his dad was on his side.
To make a long story short, William eventually became the King of England, a position far higher than what his own father had held. There is hope for the rejected ones!
Most of us can relate to William. We too have been mocked and ridiculed and rejected for various reasons. Although I was a legitimate child, kids made fun of me at every opportunity because I wore coke-bottled prescription glasses. In addition, the language of my hometown was not my native language, and that made me a doubly-good target for ridicule.
Our brothers and sisters in faith in countries where Christianity is taboo have it a thousand times worse, for mockery turns into persecution, and persecution turns into martyrdom. Please do not forget them in our prayers.
It’s not an easy world we live in, but one thing we can count on: Jesus is on our side! He boldly declares: “He is mine!” Although we may feel unworthy and undeserving of such a love, He stands by us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)
Do we even realize what this means? We were all doomed once. Whether we are illegitimate or legitimate doesn’t matter. We were selfish, greedy and self-centered, and we did, indeed sin and break off our engagement with God. We were truly unworthy! We earned the outcome deserved by any rebel!
But Jesus did the unthinkable. He died for our sins, our rebellion against God. He died so that we wouldn’t have to die. He died so that we could have hope for a brighter future, a future with the resurrected one. He died so that we could spend eternity with Him as our big brother. Jesus has made the unworthy worthy!
If a king or president would sacrifice himself for someone considered unworthy, it would mean the unworthy one was worthy after all, otherwise why would the king or the president have sacrificed himself? So, my friend, you are of considerable value in God’s eyes.
No more rejection! No more insults and mockery! We have become royalty! “In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.” (Heb 2:10-11 NIV)
We can never be hopeless. We have the King of Kings at our side! We are now “heirs having the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:7 NIV) Yahoo!
Let us enjoy the adventures we will experience with Him at our side. Rejection can just get out of our way!
(To access the entire “Worthy are the Unworthy” devotional series, please click here.)