The Reproach of Christ

Moses valued the “reproach of Christ” better than the treasures of Egypt. Do we?

Seems to me like a lot of Christians these days are OK with being Christians as long as Christianity is cool enough. As long as the pastor is wearing the five thousand dollar designer suit, or jeans that cost more than the wool suit of their old pastor; as long as the worship team is attractive enough; as long as the building is comfortable enough; as long as the message can be presented in a way that’s acceptable.

“Yes, I’m a Christian, but I’m not one of THOSE Christians. Not one of those tacky Christians in a polyester suit and a combover. Not one of those embarrassing Christians who believes what the Bible says about creation, or homosexuality, or male headship.”

It doesn’t matter how we dress it up though. The world hates Christianity, mocks it, ridicules it and will destroy it any way they can. Just like they did Christ. Being a Christian means embracing the shame, the embarrassment, the stumblingblock of the cross, and you will never, never be “socially acceptable” to the world who hates Christ. You will never have the right credentials. You will never be wearing the right shoes. You will never have the right taste in music or go to the proper restaurants.

Moses gave up being a prince in the most powerful empire on earth in order to associate himself with a dirty, beat-down slave people. Most of them were bad, ungrateful idolaters who had rejected the God of their fathers. Those slaves didn’t even like Moses very much. They hated him in fact and blamed him for all their problems, telling him that he was wrong to sacrifice everything to save them from Egypt. They rebelled against him and tried to go back to Egypt, saying that everything Moses had done was just for his own ego.

But they were God’s people. They were the people of the promise. They were decidedly “unhip”, and yet Moses made their fate his fate, because they were God’s people.

This is what it means to embrace the shame of the cross, the reproach of Christ, the scandal of the gospel. Jesus said, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you.” It means giving up riches, reputation, relationships. It means, worst of all for many in this generation, being uncool.

But Christ was “uncool” for us. Jesus was stripped naked, nailed to a piece of wood and hoisted up where everyone could see him, spit on him, mock him and shame him. He did all of this without a word in His defense. He was a defeated, crushed, powerless and humiliated enemy of every single power structure that existed at the time. He was despised and rejected. He was irrelevant, marginalized, out of touch, unfashionable. And He was, finally and literally, beaten to death. For us.

So now He makes this very simple request of us. For Him, in thankfulness for what He did, we must embrace His shame, His defeat, His rejection and make it our own. The only way to the glory of heaven is through the shame of the cross. The Apostles knew it; they rejoiced to be found worthy to suffer shame for Jesus’ sake. Moses knew it; he embraced the promise of God knowing it meant rejecting the glory, sophistication and power of Egypt in exchange for the contempt and ingratitude of an ignorant, rebellious slave people, for the sake of God’s promise. And we must know it today. We must not be ashamed of the gospel. It was unfashionable in Paul’s day and it is unfashionable in ours. If being relevant and acceptable to our society is what we value then we will reject the true gospel, the true doctrine of Christ. But if we embrace Christ, and rejoice to suffer shame for His sake, then His glory becomes ours as well, and we will one day rule with Him in eternity.

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