Day 11 – Rejection & Death
This week I went to the viewing of a racquetball friend who died with COVID-19. His family and friends gathered at a funeral home to remember him. Some of us racquetball guys arranged to attend the viewing together. Death is never pleasant. We hate death.
A few did gather in grief while Jesus was dying on the cross – his mother Mary, the apostle John, other women. Most, however, mocked Jesus – the soldiers, those who passed by, the rebels crucified with him, the chief priests, the teachers of the law, the elders (Matthew 27:27-44).
“He was despised and rejected by mankind. . . . Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem” (Isaiah 53:3).
He even experienced God the Father’s divine rejection. Jesus prayed, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34).
Crucified on a hill, beside a busy road, gawked at by passers by. There he dies.
Modesty calls for privacy at birth and at death. People today still pull a sheet over a dead body as a sign of respect and dignity for the person.
Part of the shame of the cross was the public nature of his dying. No curtains were drawn around his dying bed, so to speak. His humiliation was deepened further by the threat of having no place to bury his body until Joseph of Arimathea provided a tomb.
Jesus willingly lay down his life for us (John 15:13). The apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians: “It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified” (Galatians 3:1).
Paul paints a clear picture for the Galatians, so they can visualize and remember Jesus’ suffering – crucified publicly on a cross. Jesus’ whole body and soul were exposed, crushed, shamed. He was publicly stripped of friends, freedom, dignity, clothes, life, even his Father’s acceptance.
He was rejected and died in utter humiliation.
Yet, while Jesus willingly endured the cross, he scorned, despised, disregarded, endured, put up with the shame (Hebrews 12:2). In his life and death, like teflon, he didn’t let shame stick to him.
This was just as Isaiah had prophesied about Jesus: “Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame” (Isaiah 50:7).
Today: Align yourself with Jesus, as Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame” (Romans 10:11).
~ Pastor Dave