Friday, March 29, 2013

What Does It Mean for Jesus to Despise Shame?

John Piper:
In running the race of life we are to look to the exaltation of Jesus at the end of his race. But Hebrews 12:2 tells us to look not only to his exaltation, but to his motivation.

Jesus was carried in the agonies of the last lap of his race by the hope of joy. “For the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame” (verse 2). Jesus kept his eyes on the same place we should — his own future exaltation at the Father’s right hand, with the completion of our salvation crowning his head. This was his joy.

There were mammoth obstacles in Jesus’s way. Two are mentioned. The cross and the shame. The cross, no doubt, stands for all the pain and abandonment and spiritual darkness of those hours, as he lunged, dying, to the finish line.

But shame is the one agony of the cross which the author mentions. And he said that Jesus despised it. That is an amazing choice of words. Would you have chosen such a word to say he overcame shame? He despised it.

Shame was stripping away every earthly support that Jesus had: his friends gave way in shaming abandonment; his reputation gave way in shaming mockery; his decency gave way in shaming nakedness; his comfort gave way in shaming torture. His glorious dignity gave way to the utterly undignified, degrading reflexes of grunting and groaning and screeching.

And he despised it. What does this mean?
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