Today Derek looks at shame we experience and how Jesus bore our shame on the cross as He hung there, despising his nakedness. He was put on view for all to see, bearing that shame for all mankind that we may see ours exchanged for His glory and be cleansed and healed.
I want to go on now with shame. Shame is such a cruel and ugly thing. Very often it’s the result of sexual abuse or being made fun of at school. I read a story recently about one boy out of a class. And the headmaster of the school said, “Stand up whatever your name is.” Then he said, “I want to tell you all, all of you have passed your exams except...” and he named the boy standing up. Well how could he feel anything but shame? Many of the things that happen in our childhood can be causes of shame. You see the things that happened longest ago are sometimes the hardest to get out. First in is often last out. And there are some of you here tonight who are not free from shame.
Perhaps the commonest single source of shame tonight in this country and in our Western civilization to our eternal shame be it said, is sexual abuse. And I’ve dealt with, I can’t count, how many people. I think of that one woman I knew when she was a little girl of about nine, her father who was a professing Christian sexually abused her. And she was left with this awful question: “Is there something bad in me that made him do it?” And only when she came to the cross was she set free from that shame.
I want to tell you that Jesus has borne all our shame. Let me give you just a few Scriptures. Isaiah 50 and verse 6. This is a prophetic utterance which describes what Jesus did for us and it says verse 5,
“The Lord God has opened My ear; And I was not rebellious, Nor did I turn away. [That’s Jesus. Then it says.] I gave My back to those who struck Me, And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.”
You notice Jesus says, “I gave My back.” He could have saved Himself, He could have called for twelve legions of angels. But He didn’t. He gave His back. And let me tell you the pretty little pictures we see of the scourging of Jesus have very little to do with reality. It was a horrible scene because he was scourged with a scourge that had little pieces of metal or bone in the thongs. And when they fell on a man’s flesh they tore it away and exposed the flesh that was under the skin. And that’s what Jesus endured. He did it for our sake. But He says, “I did not hide my face from shame and spitting.” So on the cross Jesus bore your shame and my shame.
Let me just read a brief account of what happened after the arrest of Jesus. Matthew chapter 27 verses 27 through 31. Pilate had handed Jesus over to the soldiers to take Him out to execution and it says in verse 27 and following.
“‘Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorian and gathered the whole garrison around Him. And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. [They stripped Him naked and then they mocked Him.] When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knees before Him and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and stuck Him on the head. [And remember he was wearing a crown of thorns and every blow of that reed pressed the thorns into His skull. But He did not hide His face from shame and spitting.’ Then it says,] And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.”
So actually He was exposed naked twice in that scene. And then we read further on in Matthew 27 verse 35.
“‘Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet.’ ‘They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.”
Sitting down they watched him there naked on the cross for three hours. You see you will never see an accurate picture of Jesus on the cross because they’ll always put a little loincloth on Him. But there was no loincloth. He was exposed naked. His shame was exposed to everybody who passed by and mocked Him.
And then we could turn for a moment to the Epistle to Hebrews just to emphasize this truth. Hebrews chapter 12, it says in verse 2,
“Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame.”
You see, he bore our shame but He despised it. And then what is the opposite of shame? How many of you can tell me? I think the best opposite is glory. And in Hebrews chapter 2 and verse 10 it says speaking of Jesus,
“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
Notice He was bringing many sons to what? Glory. What’s the opposite of shame? Glory. He bore our shame that we might share His glory. So those of you, and there are many here tonight, who for some reason or other have a background in your life of which you’re ashamed, something you’ve never fully got away from, something that haunts you and follows you up and disturbs you and threatens your moments when you’re wanting to worship and praise God, remember Jesus bore our shame completely, naked for three hours on the cross, that we might share His glory. Isn’t that wonderful! Thank you Lord!
Now I was teaching this in Holland a few years ago and I received a testimony from a Dutch woman in writing. I haven’t got the written testimony here but I want to sum up what she said. As a young girl she had been sexually abused. She’d been gang raped by a group of young boys and suffered further sexual molestation. Then she married but her marriage was not happy because she had a deep bitterness in her heart against all men including her husband. She also could never escape the shame of what she’d endured through sexual molestation. And then the Lord did something so wonderful, but I believe it because I know the Dutch minister that sent this testimony to me, and he sent it to me because he said it establishes exactly what you’ve been preaching. Sitting in her bedroom alone she had a vision of Jesus on the cross and He was absolutely naked. Then she realized two things. First of all He had borne her shame. She didn’t need to have shame any longer. Jesus had borne it. The second thing she realized was Jesus was a man. She was so bitter against men, she realized it was a Man who paid the penalty of her sin. Wasn’t that beautiful?
So there you are. If you are wrestling with shame just bear in mind naked on the cross, Jesus bore your shame. He’s exposed to the jeers and the taunts of passers by. The primary object of crucifixion was to make shame, to impose shame on people. Jesus endured it all but He despised the shame. It didn’t get Him down because he knew why He was bearing your shame and my shame that we might share His glory.