2006-09-19 - Pride and Shame
My son is a smart little fellow; his kindergarten teacher is moving him into a reading group. He works hard in school and it showed on his progress report last week. I enjoy bragging on him. My son has been memorizing many things for classes at school and church. He really had to work at but he finally memorized John 3:16. Even though he stumbles on a word or two here and there, I could not be prouder if he memorized the Gettysburg Address or a Shakespearean monologue. I believe a good father will brag on their children privately just between the two of them and publicly for all the world to know. When Jesus was baptized, his father wanted to brag on his boy, too.
Matthew 3:16-17 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
This is one of only two instances that we hear God the Father audibly tell the world he is proud of his son. The second time is Matthew 17:15. In both cases, God was proudest when Jesus was doing what he was supposed to do. God is proudest of us when we are obeying him. There may be no booming voice in the sky but if Job is any indication, God is not silent. (see Job 1:8) He wants to brag on us even to the angels and - even to Satan.
However, every father knows there are also times when we are less than proud of our children. My boy has some moments where I'm not all that eager to say, "Yep see that boy over there running into the wall, that's my boy! Ain't he a genius?" I'm just kidding about that. It's been a few months now since he's ran repeatedly into walls for amusement. Outgrowing a stage in life can be a good thing!
Our heavenly father was once even ashamed of his only son.
Mark 15:33-34 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Sometime between the sixth hour and the ninth hour, something happened. God was no longer proud of his son. God was no longer claiming the boy he loved with a boisterous voice. There was a point when God turned his back on Jesus in shame. It is because at that time Jesus became our sin. He became my lust, he became my bitterness, and he became my resentment and hatred. All that I did God saw in Jesus. And, in Christ, God saw all that you did as well. He was filled with shame and he turned his back. Oh, he still loved Jesus but he could not stand what Jesus had become. Christ had become you and me - all of our sinful ways. In God's eyes, that day an immortal sinner died an eternal death apart from God so we mortal sinners could live an eternal life with God.
As proud as God is of our obedience, he is ashamed of our disobedience - our sinfulness. Look back on your life and ask, "What one moment in my life would God have been most likely to brag about me?" Look back on this week, just the last seven days. For what one event would God have been most likely to open the heavens and tell the world you were his child? Now, at what point would God have been most likely to turn his back? When would God have been least proud of me this week?
If you have given your life to God, thank him that he didn't see those bad moments. He has no memory of them whatsoever because they were cast on Christ as he hung on Calvary's cross. So leave the sins and shame in the past; live your life trying to make part of each week and day a Matthew 3 moment. Make him want to scream, "See! That's my child in whom I well pleased!"
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted