Day 8 – Crucifixion Was Meant to Shame
Throughout his life Jesus lived above shame, an example for us to follow. When crucified, he willingly submitted to his death, while scorning its shame (Hebrews 12:2).
The Psalms prophesied it: “To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads” (Psalm 22:5-7).
Paul reflected upon it: “He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8).
Crucifixion was a gruesome spectacle – the most painful and humiliating death imaginable – meant to serve as a deterrent to witnesses. Polite people wouldn’t talk about it.
To heighten shame, trials were held in public. Victims were further humiliated by naked, public torture. They were forced to carry their own cross-beam. Their clothing was taken away from them. Their hands, tied or nailed, left them unable to defend themselves, producing even more shame.
Crowds could observe the spectacle from close range resulting in further humiliation. Death was slow and involved the embarrassing loss of control over bodily functions. Corpses were often left to wild animals, without a respectful burial.
Everything about a crucifixion was meant to intensify and maximize shame.
This was the shameful experience Jesus endured for us.
Christ’s great work for us uniquely centers in the Cross. In our sanctified imaginations, we can revisit the cross often. As one who could see clearly, blind American poet Fanny Crosby wrote, “Near the cross! O Lamb of God! Bring its scenes before me.”
Elizabeth Clephane also envisioned herself beneath the cross of Jesus: “Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see the very dying form of One who suffered there for me.”
Do our thoughts fly often to the cross? Let us stand again at the foot of the cross and witness the death of our great Savior as though we are there.
Let us confess our unworthiness and receive God’s forgiveness. Let us meditate on the Cross of Christ and let wonder and awe, love and gratitude sweep over us.
Today: Standing beneath the cross of Jesus, what would you say?
~ Pastor Dave