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My mother-in-law dies on President’s Day. Ten days later a coven of somber faced morticians seal her platinum colored coffin and lower her remains into oddly chilled Florida dirt. Later, my wife and I are trying to get some sleep…on my mother-in-law’s bed (I know she’s gone, but the bed still feels like it belongs to her); but sleep is as elusive as the right words to say. The only thing that comes to mind, that stays on my mind, is…was Jesus a functional preject? Yeah, I know. It’s weird what will come to mind when we’re trying to sleep on dead people’s beds.

You’re probably asking yourself right now, “what the heck is a functional preject?” And you probably realize that I’m about to answer. A functional preject is someone who has been rejected by one or both parents, yet still seems to be in control of his/her life and in no need of being ‘taken up!’ (Psalm 27:10) Sort of like an alcoholic or drug abuser who still functions at work or home. You see, it took death, close to home death, to get me thinking about Jesus’ experience with parental rejection.

The Temptation of JesusDeath is a lot like being in a wilderness. Or maybe it’s the other way around. But you get my point. It’s all about loss. Things (and people) are supposed to die in wildernesses. And like everything else in life, wildernesses have stages. The ending of the whole experience is also its deepest, lowest point, where you feel completely separated from God, seemingly unable to reach Him or hear His voice. That’s when you have to depend on His word & the memory of His love. And that’s what happened to Jesus both in the beginning and ending wildernesses of his ministry (the trial in the desert after his baptism, and the passion on the cross after his Palm Sunday coronation). In both settings the severity of the separation intensified at the end (forcing him to defend himself with the word at the end of the 40 days of temptation; and leading him to cry out to the Father, ‘why have you forsaken me?!’ just before he gave up the ghost–which is what actually, finally killed him!).

Jesus was fully human, with feelings just like yours and mine. Given the closeness of His relationship with his heavenly Father up to that time, he must’ve felt abandoned at the beginning of his ministry as he was left all alone to deal with the devil (‘if you are the son of God…’ – a Satanic test of his conviction about his identity & call) and forsaken at the end of it (a Godly test of his willingness to execute the plan, stick to the script and run the play called by the coach even when all seemed lost). Imagine ministering for three years with the thought in the back of your mind, ‘when I really needed Dad, He left me out there all by myself!’ Given the circumstances it would’ve been understable. But did Jesus function throughout his entire ministry feeling rejected by his father? Hardly!

Prejection only becomes limiting and destructive when we allow it to rob us of 1) parental honor,  and 2) identity & purpose! Only God and His word can restore those to us when they go missing via prejection. Jesus, however, never let any possible feelings of abandonment get him to the place of parental dishonor. Nor did he lose his vision of his identity and purpose. In fact, his wilderness experience confirmed and affirmed his sense of self and mission.

How much of your life difficulties are connected to the ‘dishonor’ of mother & father? We’re called to honor them even in and after their death, and when we do the Deuteronomy 5:16 blessing rests upon us. Jesus perfectly demonstrated how to do this, as he honored his Father even after two seasons of wilderness abandonments, and walked on this earth manifesting the blessing, prospering in his ministry. Through the ultimate expression of parental honor he gained eternal life and all power in heaven and on earth.

1 Comment

Earl MiddletonMarch 4, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Thanks for this! Its so helpful, I totally relate.

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