written by William Howell
read Matthew 27 and Hebrews 12
Looking unto Jesus, the author & finisher of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross,
despising the shame,
& has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
When I was 16-yrs.-old I was encouraged to consider water baptism since I had become a believer in the Lord Jesus at 15. I half-heartedly agreed, & Uncle Ben Tuininga made plans to baptize me in Cedar Island Lake during Teen Camp at Story Book Lodge.
As we were making plans I asked him if we could do this early in the day when no one else was looking. (I clearly did not understand the privilege & the meaning of water baptism!) Uncle Ben smiled & said we would do the baptism when the whole teen camp was gathered together. Reflecting back, I was a bit shy to be viewed by my peers as the focus of this event, & I might have been asked to say a few words which may have terrorized me at the time.
In contrast to my fear is the great courage displayed by the Lord Jesus Christ in going to Calvary’s cross. He was willing to be bloodied beyond recognition (Isaiah 52:14) & to be nailed naked to a cross & lifted up for all to see on a busy weekend in Jerusalem. He endured the cross & despised the shame of the cross for me.
He was nailed to the cross at 9 a.m. & remained there for 6 hours. At 3 p.m. He committed His spirit into His Father’s hands, bowed His head & died. He was in full view of all who passed by at the busiest time of the day. He didn’t ask His Father if they could do this at a time when no one would be watching. Instead, He yielded to His Father’s will which was that God’s Son have a very public death that would forever be the landmark of God’s love & salvation for sinners.
After 3 p.m. souls in Jerusalem would begin heading home because the Sabbath was approaching, & they needed to assemble with their families to celebrate the first great holiday of the Jewish religious year—Passover. Central to that celebration was the lamb that was slain. However, on this unique Passover, the Lamb of God was offered up by God to take away the sin of the world. Christ our Passover has suffered for us! 1 Corinthians 5:7
The Creator wasn’t ashamed to take on a creature’s body that He might die. The Lion wasn’t ashamed to become a Lamb because that is what we needed. The King of Life was singled out for a rebel slave’s death, & wasn’t ashamed to be obedient to death, even the death of the cross because He loved His Father & He wanted to save me whatever the cost.
Question: What good thing are we disinclined to do because we would be ashamed to be seen doing it?