We read in the gospels of how Christ before going to the cross was stripped of his clothes. There is something deeply significant about this aspect of Christ’s humiliation
“He was stripped of his garments, that he might clothe us with his righteousness”, commented Calvin.
‘For us he was made sin, Oh help me take it in’
Of course, at the heart of it all was ‘the great exchange’ – that ‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him, we might become the righteousness of God’.1 The very purpose for his coming was to bear the wrath for sin that should have fallen upon us.
But why such humiliation? Why the stripping?
For the sake of modesty, movies or paintings picture Christ on the cross in a loin cloth, but he was as one writer put it: “As naked as a new-born babe”. The violence committed against him was one thing, but there were acts of humiliation that were performed out of sheer perverted pleasure.
Abuse and shame
We hear of the devastation that follows from abuse. And all too often, adults remain scarred from wicked acts performed upon then when mere children. Sickening to the core. When seeking to help such victims, we so often feel way out of our depth and powerless in our attempts to identify with their pain.
But there is One
The Man of Sorrows has been on the receiving end of the worst that men and demons could devise. He was stripped. He was hurt and humiliated.
To those in pain, he says – I know what it is like
To those rejected he says – I know what it is like
To those abused or humiliated, he says – I know what it is like
A Christian is one who has first had to own up to his own wrongdoing. Never easy, when by default we have the wrong done to us uppermost. But when we come to Christ, it is then we are able to sing:
You took away my guilt and shame
When you died and rose again
It is then, we can enter into the fullness of ‘the great exchange’ and receive:
‘a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.’ 2
Listen to Mike’s message on this HERE
1 2 Corinthians 5:21; 2 Isaiah 61:3