“…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”Hebrews 12:2 NKJV
As Christian believers, we observe the crucifixion of Christ beginning on Maundy Thursday and concluding on Good Friday. This year Passover will intersect with Good Friday on April 7th. The Passover story celebrates the Israelites’ deliverance from Egyptian bondage and their redemption through the blood of a lamb. Jesus became that Passover lamb when he died for our sins and redeemed us with His blood. Christ is truly the fulfillment of Passover as seen in the book of Revelation where He is referred to as “the Lamb of God” twenty-nine times.
The definition of shame
When Jesus died as our Passover Lamb, He bore our sins and despised the shame. What is the meaning of shame? The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines it as, “a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety; a condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute; something that brings censure or reproach” (Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shame).
We have all experienced shame at some point in our lives. The good news is that Jesus not only took our sins to the cross, He also took away our disgrace. When we humbly confess our sin and receive God’s forgiveness, He throws both sin and shame into the Sea of Forgetfulness.
Freedom from sin involves Jesus’s blood, which cleanses our spirits, while freedom from shame involves cleansing our minds and emotions. Since habits and memories dwell in a deep place in our souls, we must allow the Lord to purify them with His sinless and atoning blood. We may not be able to forget them completely, but Jesus can take away the sorrow and pain, and give us His perfect peace that defies logic.
Let’s regard shame another way. Did you know that it can also refer to physical nakedness?
Adam and Eve’s shame
And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.Genesis 2:25 NKJV
Adam and Eve experienced shame and fear after they ate of the forbidden fruit. Their sin opened their eyes to their nakedness, and they hid from God’s presence. How did God react?
Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.Genesis 3:21 NKJV
Why is this act significant? God slayed an innocent animal–perhaps a lamb–marking this event as the first blood covering for forgiveness of sins. God requires a blood sacrifice for sin, which continued until Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, shed His sinless blood once for all for the sins of mankind.
King David’s guilt
Psalm 51 reveals King David’s heart when he repented from his sin against Bathsheba and Uriah.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.Psalm 51:7 NKJV
David also pleaded with God to cleanse his guilty conscience so he could again sing praises to Him:
Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,Psalm 51:14 NKJV
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
Jesus bore our shame
Let’s envision Jesus as He hung on the cross. Do you know that the familiar artwork of Christ is partly wrong? The Romans imposed a cruel penalty, crucifying a person naked. On that Passover day, Jesus wore no loin cloth. Yet, although He despised the shame of His nakedness, He endured it for our sakes and for the joy placed before Him.
For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’Romans 10:11 NKJV
What a wonderful promise! No shame for believers! No condemnation, as Romans 8 explains:
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.Romans 8:1-2 NKJV
As we ponder the wondrous cross on this day of Christ’s passion, may God give us a deeper and fuller understanding of what Jesus purchased for each one of us. He has freely given us this priceless gift of salvation and taken away our guilt and shame.
Let’s pray with King David:
O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.Psalm 51:15-17 NKJV
“Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”Revelation 16:15 NKJV
Dear Father, we humbly worship You on this day when You suffered and died for our sin and shame. Apply Your blood to our hearts, just as the Jews applied lamb’s blood to their doorposts. Deliver us from the evil one, just as You delivered the enslaved Jews from the Egyptian Pharaoh. Thank you for freeing us from sin and shame through the cross of Christ. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
Despising the Shame by Karen Jurgens Copyright 2022 All rights reserved