October 20, 2014
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
What God Knew
“Thou hast known My reproach, and My shame, and My dishonor.
Mine adversaries are all before Thee.”
The “knowing” to which the verse refers must be something far more than factual knowledge. Scripture may use the word “know” at times to suggest approval (1 Cor 8:3). It may imply recognition and acceptance by God (Gal 4:9). But certainly here in our verse there is an alternate and a deeper meaning.
It suggests not only the knowledge of the events and individuals involved, but the unique ability to measure that reproach, shame, and dishonor. To be able to measure anything, you need two points: a starting point and a termination. Who among us can actually appreciate the starting point for His honor, glory, and majesty? Only by knowing from where He came can we begin to plumb the depths of shame and dishonor He endured.
God alone is able to appreciate the full distance to which He went when He endured the shame of the cross. He alone knows the heights of glory and majesty which were His Son’s by reason of His place in the Godhead. Fully co-equal with the Father, eternally “the brightness of His (Father’s) glory and the express image of His person” (Heb 1:3), He came from the dizzying heights of the One Who inhabited eternity. God’s measuring line alone could reach to a cross of shame to quantify the immeasurable distance that Calvary meant for the Son. He alone “knows” the shame men heaped upon the Son of His love.
His reproach and dishonor contrast with the recognition He deserved from His own creatures and nation. God not only uniquely knew the glory that belonged to His Son, but He knew, as well, the honor He deserved for having left heaven to descend to earth for the cosmic rescue mission He undertook. Selfless, sacrificial, and self-humbling, the Son of God came into the world deserving honor for the stoop He had taken. Instead, dishonor and reproach were heaped upon Him. His claims to deity were denied; His holiness impugned; His Sonship scorned by men. Dishonor of the basest kind was His.
Hebrews 12:3 tells us that the Lord Jesus “endured the cross, despising the shame.” The word “despise” as used here must be understood in its original meaning, not in our normal usage. It means to think it a little thing, a minor thing. It means that when the Lord Jesus thought of the joy of honoring His Father and of the joy of having us with Him eternally, He esteemed the cross to be a small price to pay!
His estimation of the shame of the cross was that it was a small thing. But the Father’s estimation of the shame of the cross is far different. The inviolable principle of Scripture will be seen to be true: He will reap what He has sown. His glory and honor eternally will be commensurate with the measure of shame He bore at the cross. God has crowned Him with glory and honor and will see that every knee will one day bow and own Him as Lord (Phil 2:9-11).