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If we are to become like the Savior, we likewise may experience some rejection before our mortal life is over. As we talk of Christ and take His message to the world, some “will cast us out from among them.” What prophet, what missionary has not, on a much smaller scale, at times been “despised and rejected of men?” If the days come when we experience rejection, we can take heart and know that we are in good company; such is the path of Christian discipleship.
“He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our face from him; He was despised and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3; emphasis added). A close look at this verse reveals that Isaiah not only used the past tense, “was despised,” but he also used the present tense, “is despised.” At times the Savior is still presently despised and rejected. When we sin, when we fail to choose Him, to some degree He is despised and rejected. At times we all hide our faces from Him.
Gerald N. Lund explained,
Imagine the Being whose power, whose light, whose glory holds the universe in order, the Being who speaks and solar systems, galaxies, and stars come into existence—standing before wicked men and being judged by them as being of no worth or value! When Judas led the soldiers and the high priest to the Garden of Gethsemane and betrayed [Jesus] with a kiss, Jesus could have spoken a single word and leveled the entire city of Jerusalem. When the servant of the high priest stepped forward and slapped his face, Jesus could have lifted a finger and sent that man back to his original elements. When another man stepped forward and spit in his face, Jesus had only to blink and our entire solar system could have been annihilated. But he stood there, he endured, he suffered, he condescended.
Elder James E. Talmage added, “All the eleven forsook Him and fled. This was not to be accounted as certain evidence of cowardice, for the Lord had indicated that they should go.”16
That their danger was real is seen in the fact that there was then present in Gethsemane “a certain young man [most likely John Mark], a disciple, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body” (JST, Mark 14:51–52). Judas most likely had first led the band of men to the home of John Mark (or his parents) where the Last Supper had been served. John Mark may have been roused by the armed cohort and then followed them to Gethsemane in an attempt to warn Jesus. He did not arrive in time. When the soldiers laid hold on him and tried to arrest him, he left the linen cloth and fled from them, saving himself out of their hands.