Saturday, February 29
Scripture: Numbers 28-29, Mark 8
Mark 8:38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Jesus has just informed His disciples that He will be arrested, beaten and crucified after they get to Jerusalem, and then shockingly tells them that they must pick up their crosses and follow Him! It is hard to imagine how crazy this must have sounded to them.
The cross has become Christian symbolism, art and jewelry, but for these disciples it was a shameful and disgraceful way to die. The Romans used crosses to execute criminals, usually hanging naked. It was a terribly painful, shameful public death.
This was the shame of the new Christian faith: The disciples were following a crucified Jew, a Messiah who died a criminal’s death, a God who had been stripped naked and hung on a cross. It was madness; crazy; shameful. Imagine Jesus coming today and being arrested, imprisoned, and then executed in the electric chair. What would others think of your message that this electrocuted criminal was your God? How would you feel?
It is in this context that Jesus warns the disciples not to be ashamed of Him.
Are you ever ashamed of Jesus?
Some times we can hesitate to speak up for Jesus, or to be identified as His. We may do this for a variety of reasons. We may feel that we are not good enough to represent Him, so we stay silent. Or we may worry what others will think of us, or that we might offend them. Or we fear being ostracized or persecuted. Or we are socially aware and recognize that this might be an inopportune moment.
But one thing seems clear from this saying of Jesus: I must not be ashamed of Him or His message—His words. Just like those early disciples had to shake off the disgrace of the cross, we have to shake off whatever holds us back from openly identifying with Jesus and enthusiastically sharing His message!
No shame! No fear!
Prayer: Lord, help me to be proud of You and Your message—never ashamed!