Dear Reader, the road to the cross is not for the faint of heart. Let's go on this difficult journey together in discovering what price can humility pay together.
Do you remember the first day of middle school PE, Dear Reader? The first day all the students were to “dress out” . . . and shower at the end of class? What price can humiliation pay?
I was absolutely mortified! Wasn’t that some kind of infringement on our civil rights? How could we be expected to strip and shower en masse? In the decades since that awful experience, I can’t recall worse personal humiliation.
What about the days when teachers could call out or post student grades for all the world to see? As a pretty good student, I never really minded but I did feel sorry for Randy, the boy who sat behind me in class and seemed to struggle every single day.
Sadly, while those forms of public humiliation have been done away with, we all know others have arisen, and seemed to intensified. From schoolyards to the workplace and onto international borders, there are still bullies among us.
However humiliation has interfaced with our worlds, whether personal interactions, witnessing the degrading of others, or exposed through social media, it can affect us, threaten us. Do we shake our heads and ask, “What is the point? What price can humiliation possibly pay to satisfy bullies?”
Jettison back a couple of millinnea to the ancient Mediterrean world: the Roman Empire rocked! It rocked and ruled the known world with an iron fist. It’s interesting that Jesus was born during the “Pax Romana”, or Roman Peace (27 BCE-14 CE). It gives His name, “Prince of Peace” a whole new meaning. Unfortunately, Pax Romana only extended to Roman citizens, not the people they ruled.
Dear Reader, I know we live this side of Resurrection Day, and am so thankful for that. Nevertheless, as I read the passage from Matthew’s gospel, I keep asking the same questions, “What did the humiliation of Jesus pay for?” Have you ever asked yourself that?
As they spat upon our Savior, how could they not see the love in His eyes? As the crown of thorns was thrust upon His sacred head, how could they not see His father’s spirit in His face?
“They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and made a crown from long thorns and put it on his head, and placed a stick in his right hand as a scepter and knelt before him in mockery. “Hail, King of the Jews,” they yelled. And they spat on him and grabbed the stick and beat him on the head with it.”
Matthew 27:28-30 TLB
Have you ever been embarassed, Dear Reader, bullied, humiliated, abused? Did you wonder what awful crime your harassment paid for?
The Son of God chose to step down from and lay aside His glory and authority to accept the humiliation of sin, once and for all. That included the soldiers who spat upon Him . . . and us.
“He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn’t say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence.”
Isaiah 53:7 MSG
Maybe Jesus didn’t say anything to His bullies and abusers because there was nothing left to say. Even though they couldn’t see a love so great it forced One to die in order to pay the price of heaven with His humiliation, He did it willingly.