Jesus is not ashamed of you!
A lot of Christians live in the grip of a paralyzing fear: the fear that Jesus Christ is ashamed of them, that he is embarrassed by them, that perhaps if he were free to do so he would simply cut all ties with them lest those outside the community of faith laugh and make fun of a Savior who would want anything at all to do with such silly people like you and me. Continue reading . . .
A lot of Christians live in the grip of a paralyzing fear: the fear that Jesus Christ is ashamed of them, that he is embarrassed by them, that perhaps if he were free to do so he would simply cut all ties with them lest those outside the community of faith laugh and make fun of a Savior who would want anything at all to do with such silly people like you and me.
This is why I’m so encouraged by what I read in Hebrews 2:11. The author of Hebrews is explaining why it was “fitting” (2:10a) for God the Father, in saving us, to require that Jesus be made “perfect through suffering” (2:10b). This has to do with Christ’s vocation, his calling to be the savior of his people. It was a process by which he was made fully equipped for his office.
He does not mean that Jesus was sinfully flawed or that he was morally imperfect and had to be purified and cleansed. We know this because of what he says in Hebrews 4:15, 7:26, and 9:14. The sinlessness of Jesus has never been in question. The perfection here has to do with completing one’s preparation to fulfill a task. He is saying that Jesus fully qualified to make a sufficient atonement for sin and secured for us a righteousness that becomes ours through faith because he faithfully obeyed his Father and offered up a sinless sacrifice for sin. Our Lord demonstrated that he was competent and qualified to be our Savior because he trusted in his Father from beginning to end, even when he suffered horribly at the hands of sinful men.
In Hebrews 5:8 he says that Jesus “learned obedience through what he suffered.” I think the words “made perfect” in 2:10 mean the same thing as his “learning obedience” in 5:8. As John Piper has explained, “This does not mean that he was once disobedient and then became obedient. It means that Jesus moved from untested obedience into suffering and then through suffering into tested and proven obedience. And this proving himself obedient through suffering was his ‘being perfected’"(from the sermon, Our Captain Made Perfect Through Sufferings, June 2, 1996).
Our inclination and habit is to suffer and conclude that God isn’t worthy of our devotion or praise. We bail out on him precisely in order to avoid suffering or to diminish its discomfort. Not Jesus. He pressed through suffering in complete devotion to the Father and his saving purpose and in doing so showed himself “perfect” for the job at hand.
This is what leads our author to describe the profound solidarity that Jesus has with those who are part of his spiritual family. And it is here that we are told that he “is not ashamed to call” us “brothers.”
Those to whom this letter was addressed were subjected to shame and humiliation because of their devotion to a crucified Messiah. They endured the contempt of society (Heb. 10:32-34; 13:13-14). They suffered rejection from friends and family and lost jobs and even their lives. But Jesus is happy to be identified with them. They brought him no shame and neither do we!
Jesus is not ashamed of you! Did you hear that? If not, if it still doesn’t register in your heart, if all you can hear are the screams of condemnation and mockery coming from Satan and even from people you know on this earth, turn your eyes and ears toward Hebrews 2:11: Jesus is not ashamed to call you his spiritual brother or his spiritual sister. He is not embarrassed by you. He is gloriously happy to tell everyone: “He’s in my family. He’s my brother. We are together one. She is my sister. I’m proud to declare to everyone that these Christian men and women are the ones the Father has given to me. They are mine. And I love them.”
So, if you still think Jesus is ashamed of you because of how you look or how you talk or because you continue to fail or because you can’t hold down a job or pay your bills, if you think Jesus is ashamed and embarrassed because of the silly things you say or because you think you’ve never accomplished much of value, think again.
Pause for a moment and ask yourself this one question: How much could I actually accomplish by the grace of God if I really believed that Jesus is not ashamed to call me his brother/sister? How often would I openly share my faith with non-Christians if I really believed that Jesus is not ashamed to call me his brother/sister? What would I be inclined and empowered to do in this local church if I really believed that Jesus is not ashamed of me? Think about it. Then thank God that it’s true!