In this episode, we take a deeper look at what The Book of Hebrews says about shame. We start by exploring the kind of shame Jesus endured and the call on our lives to join Him in both His glory and his suffering. Jesus encountered a lot of pain during his time on the earth. He was betrayed by his close friends, arrested, denied by another close friend, and ultimately killed. Pilate chose political power over Jesus’ life. The crowd chose to spare Barrabas rather than Jesus. How does Jesus respond to the shame hurled upon him and what does his response say about ours?
The Power of Culture
I went to an airport one time. We got there unusually early. We were about two hours in advance because we had stayed in the airport hotel. There was a line to check in baggage that went all the way out into the parking garage. It was unbelievable! I bet there were 150 people in line! It was a 45-minute line. And then another line like it to get through security. I don’t know what happened, but it was just a complete breakdown.
I didn’t see one person cut in line. We waited in line an hour and a half, an hour and 45 minutes, and not one person cut in line. It was the darndest thing I ever saw.
Well, that’s the power of culture, the power of imputing shame for certain behaviors. It’s powerful!
And Jesus said well your culture may give me shame but I don’t give that any value. I don’t care. If everybody in the store comes and castigates me for breaking in line, I’m still going to break in line. Now, of course Jesus isn’t breaking in line. He isn’t doing something trivial like that. But you get the point.
The Shame Jesus Endured
So let’s look at the actual shame he endured and see if we can’t take it into our own lives and say how does that effect me.
Let’s look at John 18:3 Jesus is in his passion week. “Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns—” to the garden of Gethsemane. “—torches and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon him, went forward and said to them, ‘Whom are you seeking?’ They answered him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am he.’ And Judas, who betrayed him, also stood with them.”
So here’s Jesus, and this is one of his disciples who he invested in for three years, who he grew up and trusted, even entrusted money to. And he’s betraying him.
It’s hard for me to think of anything that is more humiliating than having someone who is supposed to be one of your primary supporters, supposed to be on your team, who has been entrusted, who has been brought in to your inner circle, and now they’ve gone to the other side. And not only are they gone to the other side, they’re leading the attack to bring you down. Man. That is tough.
Do you have anybody in your life who has betrayed you? Somebody who ought to be on your side that pledged fealty to you and now has broken ranks and has gone to the other side?
That’s happened to me a lot. I’m involved in the political world pretty substantially. I’m just going to tell you, it’s not all that rare.
And I can do two things: One is, I can let that betrayal master me. I can focus my life on revenge. I can focus my life on bitterness. And now that betrayal will control my life. It’s now my master.
And the other thing I can do is just not give it that much value because I’ve got a bigger goal in mind. I’ve got a faithful walk of doing what God asked me to do, part of which is “let me take care of stuff like that. I’m actually a really good judge, and I’ll make sure all that stuff is taken care of in due time. Just let it go. Nobody is going to get away with anything. It will either be paid for by my blood or dealt with. Just leave it with me.”
Well, that’s pretty direct instruction. I can do it or not. And if I do, I’m walking this path and despising the shame, just like Jesus did.
John 18:12. “Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. And they led him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was the high priest that year.”
So here’s Jesus, and now he’s arrested.
This is a way of shaming that is something I hope nobody listening to this ever has to endure. But I have a friend who took his concealed carry into New York City. He had it in a locked gun safe because he knew it wasn’t allowed to have a gun in New York City, and he kept the ammunition separate. He did everything he could do to make sure he complied with the law. Went to check his gun in with the Transportation Safety Administration at the airport to follow the proper procedure and fill out the paperwork. And they said, just a second, and they brought back police and arrested him. Put him in jail.
Because in New York, they have deemed possession of a deadly loaded weapon to mean that if you have one that you could get to, and you have ammunition within your immediate availability that you could go get and load the gun. It’s a big stretch that they’ve done. And he didn’t know that.
And he just told the story about how demeaning that was, how humiliating that was. What a life changing perspective—I’m in a cell. I have been taken out of my daily life where I get to make my own choices, and I’ve been handcuffed, put in a car, and the door shut.
It could happen to any of us. And in that case, completely unjustly.
Well, this happened to Jesus. Now, I can do one of two things with that. I can either consider myself an arrested person and a shamed person, and that’s all I am the rest of my life; or I can say, well you know, that was an injustice.
Or perhaps it’s a case where I did do something, and I deserve to be put in jail. That might be another scenario that we can have. And perhaps somebody listening to this has been in jail or maybe is in jail. Jesus’ better sacrifice happened to take care of all those things.
And so I can either, say, enter the throne room, with the throne of grace, and have my heart cleansed, and trust that Jesus has cared for that and now move forward and take advantage of the circumstances that I now have, as they are; or I can live in the past, and I can say, oh, if I had only not done that!
The past can teach us lessons, but we can’t change it. Are you in a position where you’re controlled by the past? Maybe that doesn’t have anything to do with arrest, but it could be something else, some circumstance that intervened where it completely altered the direction of your life in an adverse way.
Can you trust God with that and say I can’t change that, but I can change now. I can live this life from this point forward, a walk on this path. He’s promised that that’s what he wants. That’s what he’s telling us.
Despising the shame. Endured the cross. For the joy set before him.
Let’s look at 18:25. “Now Simon Peter stood and warmed himself.” He’s outside where the trial is happening there.
“Therefore they—” the people around him, “—said to him, ‘You are not also one of his disciples, are you?’—” One of the twelve, one of the close followers of Jesus. “He denied it and said, ‘I am not!’ One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, ‘Did I not see you in the garden with him?’ Peter denied it again—”
In one of the other accounts, Jesus’ and Peter’s eyes lock. Peter goes away weeping bitterly.
Well, it doesn’t get much worse than this. Not only did Judas betray him, Jesus knew Judas was kind of a worm. He said so. But Simon Peter, he’s The Rock. His name is changed from Simon to Rocky, which is what Petra means. He’s the guy who’s the leader of the twelve. And now he’s said, “I’m not one of them. I deny him.”
That’s really shameful! Did it deter Jesus from his path? Did he say, “Well, if I’m the only one, then I’m not going to do it anymore. Forget it. I’m not going to follow this path if no one is coming with me.”
No, no he didn’t do that. Why? Because at the end of that path was his father, standing ready to seat Jesus.
You see this contrast between following a road that has God at the end, wanting to please God, and reacting to shame.
And the culture will try to shame you into conforming to it in some ways that are inconsistent with following this path to please God. And you can’t serve them both, you have to make a choice.
Do you have anybody who is really close in your family, maybe your most trusted friend who has denied you, humiliated you, shamed you? Is that going to deter you from your path? Is that going to control the choices you make of who you become? Or can you just say, “Well that hurts.”
All these things hurt Jesus. He’s human. He was immensely impacted by it. But compared to pleasing his father, he just didn’t give it that much credence. Can we do that?
Let’s look at verse 18:31. “Then Pilate—” Pilate is the Roman governor at the time. So here are these Jewish leaders who are supposed to hate Rome an supposed to consider anything Roman a defilement and something for them to oppose. And they are pleading with Pilate to do their bidding.
“Then Pilate said to them—” these Jewish leaders. “‘—You take him and judge him according to your law.’ Therefore the Jews said to him, ‘It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death,’ that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which he spoke, signifying by what death he would die. Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to him, ‘Are you King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning me?’ Pilate answered, ‘Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you to me. What have you done?’ Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now, my kingdom is not from here.’ Pilate therefore said to him, ‘Are you a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.’ Pilate said to him, ‘What is truth?’”
Now, you’ve got several rejections here. Jesus is the king of the Jews, and the people who are trying to put him to death are the very leaders that should be ushering him in to his kingdom. I can’t think of a greater injustice than for this to happen.
Have you suffered injustice? Someone has criticized you unfairly. Someone has taken advantage of you. Is that going to control you? Are you going to change your behavior to make that stop, or can you look beyond that and say, “You know, actually, that’s not going to control me. I’ve got something bigger. I’ve got a God here to please who wants me to behave in a certain way, and there’s a clear distinction.”
We’ve got another rejection here in that Pilate is the head of the secular government. And he is saying, “You’re innocent, I want to let you go.” And yet, doesn’t. He cares more about his political ambition than he does about doing what’s right.
Finally, we have possibly the most humiliating thing that happens short of the physical abuse. In verse 39, Pilate says, “But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover.” Now the Passover is a celebration of a time where the death angel passed over any house that had blood of a sheep on the lintels of the door in the form of a cross, as it turns out.
So here we are passing over death, and he says, “’Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?’ Then they all cried again saying, ‘Not this man, but Barabbas!’ Now Barabbas was a robber.”
Now we know we have a better king with a better administration and one of the terms for this king is The Son, the Son of Man. We talked at length in this study about how Son a title of royalty where a potentate will say, “Today I’ve begotten you. I will be to you a father; you will be to me a son.” And it’s another way of this sitting down at the right hand of the father. It’s an elevation of status into a house of royalty.
Barabbas means son of the father. So here we have a false son of the father, who’s a robber for heaven’s sake! And you’ve got the real son of the father who’s the king of the universe! And he asks them, “Which of these do you want me to release?” And they take the robber.
This is unbelievable. To bring it home then, now we’re going to make it physical. In 19:1, “So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him.” So now we’re whipping him.
Scourged and Mocked
19:2. “And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on his head—”A king has to have a crown. “—and they put on him a purple robe. Then they said, ‘Hail King of the Jews!’ and struck him with their hands.”
So now he’s being mocked. Not only physically, but also verbally. Have you been mocked? Have you taken a stand for something that you really knew was right? Perhaps you are a young girl, and you’ve decided that you want remain chaste. There are plenty of people who will mock you for that.
Perhaps you’re a young man who has decided that you don’t want to cut corners in business, and you’re going to do things with integrity. There are plenty of people who will mock you for that.
And it hurts. It hurts to be mocked. It’s very painful. You don’t necessarily have to have the physical manifestation of mocking to feel the physical manifest of mocking. It is painful to be mocked.
But we have a choice. That mocking can either control our behavior, and we can change and serve it; or we can not give it much value as compared to the joy set before us, to endure the cross despising the shame, and have Jesus say, “Tim, I really was pleased by the way you live your life.” Now which is it going to be? We can’t have both.
Let’s look at 19:6. “Pilate said to them—” He’s talking to the Jews, the Jewish leaders, “—‘You take him and crucify him, for I find no fault in him.’ The Jews answered him, ‘We have a law, and according to our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.” This is blasphemy according to Jews.
Now, it actually is blasphemy if it’s not true. In this particular case, it happened to be true. And Jesus had given them ample evidence that it was true, through the miracles, through his teachings. But they were unwilling to listen, unwilling to hear.
This is incredible shame.
Have you had something that is true, and you’ve been unjustly punished for a lie when you stood for something that was true? Perhaps you stood up in your family and said something that the family needed to hear and it was true, and they rejected you for it because they didn’t want to hear it. Perhaps you stood up in your company and said something that was true, and people didn’t want to hear it.
Well, you know, you follow God in each circumstance. But if that’s where God had you and you had to suffer that, you have a fundamental choice. Are you going to let that mocking, that rejection control you and change your behavior, or are you going to continue to walk in a way that says, “That hurts. It’s immensely painful.” It might even cost you a job or something. “But I have something bigger.”
Now let me just say that there’s nowhere in scripture where we are to bring pain upon ourselves deliberately. And scripture manifestly says we should not suffer for being an idiot. It actually says do not suffer for being an evil doer. I’m just going to broaden it and say we can bring suffering on ourselves because we are just being stupid. We can be selfish, we can be inconsiderate, we can be judgmental, we can be self righteous, and we can say we are bringing this criticism or this mocking upon ourselves because we’re right and they’re wrong, and martyr ourselves as a way of—kind of in a sick way— showing that we’re right and they’re wrong.
That’s not what we’re talking about in any of this. We’re not talking about being stupid. All of us are subject to this. What we’re talking about here is actually serving the living God in a way that does life the way that does life the way that he wants us to do it.
And here’s a good little test: If you’re trying to show somebody up, if you’re trying to prove a point to someone, if your goal is to be right and show that someone else is wrong, if you feel a superiority to other people, it’s probably good to approach that throne of grace and go to that tabernacle in heaven and get your heart cleansed, because we’re not talking about anything that lords over other people, even in a twisted way. What we’re talking about here is a way of serving. Serving the truth. Serving by example.
Jesus was rejected by the disciples. He was cast aside by his own nation. And in doing so, he defeated death, and he sat down at the right hand of the Father, and he was given a name above every name, and has led the restoration of all things. He has completed salvation.
Are we going to walk that path? Are we going to walk the path of just trying to get momentary benefit from avoiding shame?
Let’s just close with Paul. In 2 Corinthians, Paul tells us about his life a bit. We can look at 2 Corinthians 11:24. “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.” I’m told that forty stripes would kill you, so they only did thirty-nine.
11:25 “Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of water, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—” and my concern for the church is above that all.
So this is not the kind of life the typical person would say, gee, I hope my life is like that. But this is Paul’s life. This is what he endures on a daily basis.
And here’s what he says about that in 2 Corinthians 4:16. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing—” Well, you can see how his outward man would be perishing; he’s been beaten to a pulp. “—yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment—”
This is his perspective. Am I afflicted? Yes I am. But it’s just not lasting that long. Remember, our life on this earth is but a wisp of vapor compared to our eternal existence. This is just not that long. And it’s a very minute period of time in our life where we can get to know God, walking by faith, and prove ourselves worthy of being restored to our original purpose through serving and through casting aside sin and every entanglement and running this race the way Jesus did.
4:18. “While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary—” Does this sound like Hebrews 11? “—but the things which are not seen are eternal.” This is what faith is! To see that which we cannot see: the eternal things.
2 Corinthians 5:9 “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent—” whether I’m in heaven with God, in the new earth with Jesus, or now in this life, “—to be well pleasing to him.” This is the goal of life. Just like Enoch, just like Jesus.
5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ—” this is the culmination of our life. “—that each one may receive the things done in the body—” And this momentary light affliction is going to turn into eternal weight of glory, Paul says.
“—according to what he’s done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men—” This is the joy set before us, that we have the opportunity to stand before God and have him say, “Well done, Tim.”
In order to do that we lay aside these momentary light afflictions, and we give no value to the shame that our culture heaps on us for walking with Jesus.
It’s not that it doesn’t hurt. It does. It’s not that it isn’t painful. It is. It’s that it’s momentary. And compared with the joy set before us, it’s light.
This is the better way: the word mixed with faith.
And the way to be part of this administration that has a better king in a better world, and a way to be a priestly function to our friends and neighbors and family by following the priestly function of Jesus where we intercede by entering the tabernacle ourselves to receive healing and grace to help in time of need, forgiveness for failings.
Are you going to let your past control you? Or are you going to look ahead and follow Jesus? Are you going to let your passions control you? Or are you going to look ahead and follow Jesus. Are you going to let the shame of injustice or mockery control you? Or are you going to look forward to Jesus? This is the example that we have, the example for us to follow.