On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame…
The scars on Jesus’ hands and side and feet will forever remind us of what he suffered for us on the cross. But there is no physical reminder of a different kind of suffering – the shame. Crucifixion was reserved for the very worst criminals, and for slaves; decent people were reluctant to even talk about the disgusting scene of a cross. Unlike the relative privacy of a gas chamber or electric chair, crucifixion was a very public affair, and became a spectacle for people to come and taunt, and jeer, and shame the one being crucified. Hanging naked, being laughed at by everyone walking by, the public shaming of someone on a cross said, “Here is a being who is less than human, less than an animal, more like an insect to be squashed and forgotten.” And Jesus, who didn’t deserve it, endured that shame for us.
“Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”