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  • Writer's pictureR.C. VanLandingham

Facing Humiliation for Jesus (Being the Sinful Woman Part 6)

This is Part 6 in my blog series Being Like the Sinful Woman which was originally published during Lent 2019. I introduced the story of the sinful woman from Luke 7 in Part 1, so please start there.

The sinful woman from Luke 7 possessed seven attributes that are indispensable when coming to Jesus. The fifth is that she was willing to be humiliated for Jesus. The woman was most likely a harlot, who came into the home of a Pharisee uninvited. She knelt down at Jesus' feet and began to kiss them. She wept over them, wetting them with her tears and drying them with her hair. The other guests and servants were certainly shocked by her entrance into the house of such a self righteous man as Simon the Pharisee, and murmurs most likely spread throughout the room. We certainly know Simon was appalled that Jesus allowed this sinful woman to touch him, saying to himself that "[i]f [Jesus] were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is and who is touching him, for she is a sinner." (Luke 7:39). It would be humiliating enough to go to a party where not only was I not invited, but I was despised and looked down upon as inferior; but to go to that party only to fall to my knees before one of the guests and begin kissing his feet and weeping is about as humiliating an event as I can think of. Yet the sinful woman did not care how much humiliation she faced, she was willing to humiliate herself for Jesus.

Not only was the sinful woman willing to be humiliated for Jesus, but He was willing to be humiliated for her as well. In fact Jesus faced humiliation for all of us. Christ is the Son of the living God, through whom our entire universe was created. (John 1:3). However, even though Christ was God, he "did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Php 2:6-8).

God came to earth and allowed himself to be humiliated as a man. Christ ruled the entire universe, but chose to kneel down and wash His own follower's feet. He voluntarily surrendered to the authority of the Sanhedrin and the Romans and was mocked, beaten, stripped naked, scourged, and nailed to a cross to die the death reserved for those who rebelled against the highest authority in the land--that of the Roman Emperor. Let that sink in. God, the creator of the universe and King of all things, allowed Himself to be jailed, tortured, and executed for rebellion against a mortal man who claimed to be a god and the highest authority in the world. To put into modern perspective just how humiliating that was, it would be like Michael Jordan--at the height of his career--allowing an arrogant, smack-talking flea to beat him in a game of one-on-one. Then to be laughed at, and ridiculed by the entire world for losing to the flea and then see the flea strut around as if it, and not MJ, was the greatest basketball player of all time. Now multiply that by a million and we approach the level of humiliation Jesus faced by coming to Earth, living as a man, suffering as we do, and dying on a cross.

Why did Jesus allow Himself to be humiliated so horribly? Because He loves us. He loves us so much that He would do anything for us, even humiliate himself to the point of death on a cross. The humiliation the sinful woman faced was not nearly as terrible as the humiliation Jesus would later face. Even so, to her, the humiliation was extreme, but she was willing to face it for her king and redeemer, because she loved Him. Am I willing the face humiliation as she was? In our modern western society, Christians often face humiliation simply by proclaiming themselves to be Christians. They aren't burned on poles to light the streets of Rome or anything as drastically horrible as the persecution faced in other countries even today. But still, coming out as a Christian, and talking to others about the love of Christ can be intimidating in the modern "Post-Christian" environment. But if Christ can face the humiliation He did for my sake, surely, at the very least, I can post about Him on Facebook. And if the sinful woman had the courage to go uninvited into a party where she would be mocked and despised, kneel down and kiss His feet in front of everybody, surely I can let it be known that I believe in Him, follow Him and love Him. And I let us not forget, being ashamed of Christ carries a much heavier consequence than human ostracism. For Jesus tells us that "Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." (Luke 9:26). Therefore, if I ever lack the courage to proclaim myself for Him, I must ask the Holy Spirit to grant it to me, and strengthen me as He strengthened Jesus and most likely strengthened the sinful woman.

Today's prayer:

Lord Christ, thank You for humiliating Yourself and dying on the cross for my sake. I am unworthy to be Your servant, but am honored to be so. Please give me the strength to always stand tall for You, to trust in You completely, to never be ashamed of You and to glorify Your holy name.

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