Day 18 – Scorning Shame
The cross was an instrument of shame for both Jews and Romans. Dying on a cross was both painful and disgraceful.
The Old Testament law stated that “anyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse” (Deuteronomy 21:23). In a military victory, Joshua triumphed over and shamed his enemies: “Joshua put the kings to death and exposed their bodies on five poles, and they were left hanging on the poles until evening” (Joshua 10:26).
For the Romans, historian Nigel Spivey writes, a crucifixion “was death deserved by the most unworthy of all unworthies; it was death with grim humiliation, ignominy and abasement.”
Jesus endured the cross. Not only enduring a violent and painful death. Not only enduring a temporary rejection by the Father. But especially enduring, Hebrews underlines, the shame of his public humiliation.
“For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
Jesus scorned its shame. He despised the shame of the cross, not in the sense of hate, but rather considered the shame of no consequence. He ignored the shame of the cross, disregarding it and dismissing it.
Pastor Louis Evans, Jr., well captures this: “The Greek used here means ‘to look down on or think little of.’ The shame was simply not important to Him. Comparing that rejection and degradation with the blessing that would come through it for all nations, Jesus put it aside as of little account and endured the Cross in loving redemption.”
Jesus lived above hardship, disgrace, persecution, and suffering throughout his life and in his death. Compared with the Father’s favor and heaven’s glory, these were a small price to pay.
After his humiliation came his exaltation: He rose from the dead. Ascended into heaven.
He sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Sat down as triumphing conqueror over sin, the ruler of the kingdom of the air, death, and hell. Sat down as Ruler of the world, King of kings, and Lord of lords.
After shame came honor.
Today: Consider the panoramic view of Hebrews 12:2 – temporal debasement and shame then eternal glory and honor.
~ Pastor Dave