Day 10 – The Shame of Crucifixion
We experience both honor and shame in public, and nothing was secret or hidden about a crucifixion. Not only was death by crucifixion cruelly painful. It was the ultimate shame.
When Jesus stood before Pilate, the crowd cried out, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” (John 19:6). Jesus was rejected and condemned in public (Matthew 27:24).
He was further dishonored as the crowd choose the release of Barabbas – a robber, murderer, and insurrectionist – over Jesus (Luke 23:19; John 18:40).
These people weren’t just rejecting what Jesus did, his teaching and miracles. They were rejecting who he was and is, the Son of God. They were condemning Jesus himself, the more profound shame experience.
Carrying the cross itself was shaming (John 19:17). Even more shameful was a man who couldn’t carry his own cross. Such was Christ’s humiliation (Mark 15:21).
No allowance was made for Jewish sensitivities about purity either. They marched him to the unclean site of the crucifixion.
Jesus was then hung between two criminals – the indignity of any status lost and intentionally giving the impression that Jesus was the same as they were (Luke 23:32-33).
Shame is also about exposure, and Jesus was exposed without mercy. Most artwork shields us from the extreme disgrace and humiliation Jesus suffered. But the purpose of the Romans was to shame the crucified person as much as possible.
The Jews themselves abhorred nudity for cultural and biblical reasons. They understood nakedness as a part of the punishment and shame applied to those who rebelled against God. Yet Jesus suffered the indignity of dying naked on a cross.
He also suffered the shame of suffering outside the city walls, expelled from the community (Hebrews 13:11-13).
The crucifixion was in a public place – meant to be seen, people would know. Those who passed by even added their insults (Matthew 27:39).
Today: As others convey about Jesus’ death, “What a shame!” you can declare, “What a Savior!” For Jesus said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32).
~ Pastor Dave