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Day 87 – Why You Should Not Be Ashamed of Yourself

Mark 15:16–20 RSV

Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

Consider This

Why is the suffering of Jesus recorded in such great detail?

Why didn’t the Holy Spirit instruct Mark to cut to the chase and say something like, “The soldiers mocked Jesus and then they led him out to crucify him.”

Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

I think the Spirit wanted us to see the depths to which Jesus not only took on our guilt but bore our shame. To experience guilt means coming to the realization that we have done a bad thing that has caused injury to another. The proper response to guilt is confession and repentance. Shame is guilt gone wrong. Where guilt confesses to another, “I have done bad,” shame turns in on oneself and claims, “I am bad.” To shame someone is not to condemn their behavior but to condemn their personhood. Shame short-circuits confession and precludes repentance because it traps us within a prison of our own making. Just as we cannot absolve our own guilt, we cannot escape our own shame. Guilt is our fundamental problem. Shame is our fundamental condition. We can only be saved from such a problem and delivered from such a condition. Our greatest need is for salvation and deliverance, a savior and a deliverer.

Herein lies the glory of the cross. Crucifixion is the public proclamation of guilt wrapped up in the permanent exposure of shame. Crucifixion says not only have you done evil but that you are worthless. Here’s the gospel: Jesus took the most horrific sign of guilt and shame and transformed it into the most beautiful sign of forgiveness and honor. This is why we can declare, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile” (Rom. 1:16). It’s why we can say, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18).

Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the message of the cross is forgiveness from our guilt and the deliverance from our shame.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb. 12:1–2)

The Prayer

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

The Questions

  • Can you see the difference between guilt and shame and how the latter masquerades as the former?
  • Can you behold Jesus in today’s text taking on your shame? What would it mean to let him have it?