Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Shame of the Cross

Reading Corrie Ten Boom last night in the book The Hiding Place, she gives an account about a routine health inspection that was forced on the prisoners in her concentration camp during WWII. The guards made them all strip naked and it was very shameful. Yet while the guards were smirking and making faces as the women were paraded in front of them, Corrie had the revelation that Jesus had endured that same shame... while hanging on the cross. He met her there, in her agony, in her most awful moment, and reminded her of His love. It was enough to help her endure that pain.

We don't picture Jesus naked on the cross. All of those famous artists renditions always depict Him with a loincloth around his groin, and while they painted with the purpose of showing respect to the sacrifice, I think we lose something in affording Christ the dignity that He didn't really have.

Matthew 27 records the events, in that they stripped Jesus and placed a scarlet robe and a crown of thorns on Him to mock the majesty of who He claimed to be. After they were finished, they then took it off. It goes on to say that they put his own clothes back on Him, but it wouldn't have been for long.

In the days of crucifixion, the Romans made certain to strip the victims down to nothing, to humiliate them and add to their shame. They wanted the visual impact to be as mortifying as possible to the public, and so Jesus, just another Jew to them, wouldn't have been any different.

He truly gave everything for us, right down to His dignity. There was nothing more that could have possibly been snatched away. He was cut, lacerated to the bone, bruised and beaten to the point of being unrecognizable, He was given a sour drink when He was thirsty, and He was ridiculed while He slowly succumbed to the most painful death known to mankind....because He loved You. Could anyone love you more?

One of the verses to a song we're still composing really makes me stop and ponder just how much Jesus really loves us...

"He didn't have to hang there,
But He did.
On rough lumber, carved into the cross.
Splinters ran deep into
already open wounds...
and He still prayed for the lost."

1 comment:

  1. Dan, that book has never left me...and especially the scene you depicted above. I also remember during one of the searches the women prisoners were hiding tiny passages of the Bible and they rejoiced later that night when they discovered they were able to keep these little passages from being confiscated by the guards. How much we take for granted...with our 2-3 Bibles per household... Thanks for sharing