Crucifixion was shameful, degrading, and cruel beyond measure. It made a spectacle of the victim’s suffering and death.
The Lord Jesus endured this for us – by choice, a willing victim in our place, bearing what we could not in order to win the ultimate victory.
The New International Version* describes “…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” (Hebrews 12:2).
At the Last Supper, John says that “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God” (John 13:3. NIV*).
Jesus knew Who He was. And Whose He was. He could do what He did because He knew that none of the pain, none of the shame – none of it changed His identity.
As sons and daughters of our Father, our identity in Christ is equally secure and unaffected by shame, pain, fear, etc. Those things are very real, and they may distract us from remembering our true identity, but they don’t change the truth of who we are. Whose we are.
This takes the teeth out of fear for the future, and it changes how we look at yesterday, today, and tomorrow. No matter how much it hurts, no matter what happens… even if we lose our lives in this world (and everybody dies)… as the Apostle Paul wrote, “… I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39, NIV*)
Nothing can separate us from the strong love of Jesus. Nothing can take away all we are in Him.
We’re more than the temporal bodies we inhabit. If we’re alive in Christ, we’re spiritual beings who’ve been given eternal life. Treasured and beloved by the Creator of all.
God the Father invites us into His Word to discover who He says we are. The New Testament tells us who we are “in Christ.” Typing those words as a search at Biblegateway.com or another Bible site provides plenty to think about.
Then we have the choice: will we believe our Maker’s opinion of us, or stick with our own? Knowing how often I’m wrong about things, I choose to believe God. May we grow and keep grounded in the truth of who we are in God our heavenly Father.
Let Third Day’s song, “Carry My Cross,” help us remember.