Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 13

Christís shame

Hebrews 13:12

Jesus died in a place called Golgotha or Calvary. It was near to the city called Jerusalem, but outside the city walls. That was the usual place where soldiers killed criminals to punish them for their evil deeds. Jesus died on a cross in the same manner that criminals usually died. It was a painful way to kill someone. Anyone who died in that manner suffered much.

The soldiers had chosen these arrangements in order to bring shame upon the person that they killed. People who passed in and out of the city would laugh at the dying man.

It is awful, of course, for anyone to suffer a cruel death. And people consider it especially bad when it happens in public. But the manner of this death seemed even worse for anyone who knew Godís law. Because the dead manís body hung from a tree, Godís law declared the death to be especially terrible (Deuteronomy 21:23). The manner of the death showed that God was against that person (Compare 2 Samuel 18:9-15 and 2 Samuel 19:1-4).

That was how Jesus suffered. But he was not a criminal. He had done nothing wrong (Hebrews 7:26-27). Even Pilate, who ordered his death, declared him innocent (Luke 23:13-15). On three separate occasions, God himself spoke to show that he was pleased with his Son (Mark 1:11; Mark 9:7; John 12:28).

But just before his death, Jesus asked why God had left him alone (Mark 15:34; Psalm 22:1). That question is astonishing because the Father, Son and Spirit have always been together, one God. But at that moment, God the Father left his Son. That shows how much shame Jesus suffered. And he had done nothing wrong.

These facts astonish us. But long before, God showed Isaiah why these things had to happen. All people have done wrong and evil things that are against Godís law (Romans 3:23). Godís desire is to forgive each person who invites him into their life (Exodus 34:7). However, there must be a punishment for those evil deeds, because God is completely good. So God sent Jesus to suffer that punishment instead of us, his people (Isaiah 53:5).

But that cannot be the complete reason for Christís shame. In fact, we consider it honourable to suffer for someone else. However, Isaiah 53:6 gives the reason why Christ suffered great shame. It says that God placed on Christ all our evil deeds. At that moment, Christ accepted the responsibility for every evil thing that people have done. He declared himself guilty, so that God the Father could declare us righteous. ĎRighteousí means completely good Ė not, of course, because of our own deeds, but because of what Christ did for us.

Hebrews 9:28, John 1:29 and Galatians 3:13 also explain that Jesus took our evil deeds upon himself. But in order to benefit from his death, we must confess our evil deeds to God. And we must invite him into our lives.

Next part: Christiansí shame (Hebrews 13:13)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.