There is a verse in my head today. And it is appropriate for today is the day we remember Jesus' death. It talks about--appropriately, this Good Friday,-- Jesus' approach to the cross. The cross was something to be endured. And the shame was something to be despised. I had always thought that the phrase,"despising its shame" was a way of saying that Jesus, diminished the shame, he overcame it and defeated it...The way you despise an enemy who is smaller than you. But today as I read the verse it seemed that the shame was bigger that day than Jesus in his weakness and pain. He truly despised it...just as he endured the cross. That sad day, it seemed like the cross was the victor.fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (italics mine)Heb 2:12
Jesus hung there, naked, beaten, spit up on --he had always been looked up to.
He had always been called "Rabbi," "Rabboni," "Master," "Teacher,", these were titles of honor from those who looked up to him. He had been looked up on as a teacher---and now he was literally looked up on as he hung there....but no more was their respect. He was "A worm and not a man"(Ps 22:6). And he despised it. He hated it. And yet, for the joy to come, he endured it. It took every fiber of his being to endure it---when he could have turned the tables at any time. All the angels in heaven watched their Master dying and they were ready: "Just say the word, Lord, and we will be there to beat the snot out of your enemies." But he didn't summon them, instead he hung there ashamed and in agony. It was demoralizing. It was humiliating. It was shameful.
And in his mind I'm sure--the day when he would be dressed in blinding white, riding a white horse when he comes to earth to judge the living and the dead--was in his thoughts. On that day, these enemies of his will grovel at his feet begging for mercy....and there will be no mercy. Best of all those he loves will share his glory. And they will be freed from the eternal death--the death without respite, without a period at the end of their sentence.--and will reign with him in his kingdom. And because of that....because of the love that drove him into the hands of his enemies...he endured. And he despised. He died with a cry that chased away sunlight and rocked the mountains, splitting open graves and freeing the dead. It was finished. It IS finished.
But today....we must fix our eyes on the cross...remembering his death, until he comes again. The more we bathe ourselves in the blood of Calvary, the greater the joy with which we will greet Resurrection Day. We will not think of it as a celebration of Spring. We will not think of it as a day in which to stuff our faces with candy...or go to egg hunts...or to wear pretty new clothes. No, we will recognize our freedom, bought with such a terrible price. It should be called "Gratitude Day" and it is through the eyes of gratefulness that we will remember the cross and with heart racing joy we see the empty tomb.