The Great I AM: On the Cross

The Great I AM: On the Cross

The Great I AM: On the Cross.

The Shaming of I AM.

“The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and elders also mocked Jesus. ‘He saved others,’ they scoffed, ‘but he can’t save himself! So he is the ‘King of Israel,’ is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I AM the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:41-43).

What emotional trauma seems to go the deepest? What emotional injury  is the most traumatic to experience? Abandonment? Abuse? Shame? Much emotional damage occurs in an unfortunate combination of all three. According to the psychologists, shame belongs right there near the top. Without a doubt, Jesus had to endure a lot of shame while on the cross.

Jesus, writhing in pain as His whole body was in spasm, was exposed for all to see, ashamed of His public nakedness. The Innocent One judged and condemned as a blasphemer of the God He loved, and considered a rebel and menace to society. And now, literally adding insult to injury, the tormentors come, the religious leaders, and He has to endure mockery, scorn, and revulsion. Through shame and ridicule, by disgracing the Gracious One, they fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 22:6-8: “I am a worm and not a man – I am scorned and despised by all! Everyone who sees me mocks me, they sneer and shake their heads, saying, ‘Is this the one who trusts in the Lord? Then let the Lord save him! If the Lord loves him so much, let the Lord rescue him!‘” These priests and scribes certainly knew this Psalm, they were well aware of this particular passage. Did they ever realize they were the ones who fulfilled it through their words of mockery? The arrogance of those Jewish leaders, in their apparent victory over Jesus, quoting scripture at Him as if they were the Bible scholars, as if He was ignorant of the Word.

Jesus submitted to the  mockery and shaming, He bore it on the cross, the Blessed One becoming the cursed one. Enduring physical torment, He had to embrace emotional trauma as well. In His humanity, Jesus felt all the emotions that anyone else would feel, all the feelings common to the human condition.

In their gloating and jeering, the religious authorities wanted Jesus’ own words to come back and haunt Him. ‘Oh,’ they think, ‘he said he was equal to Yahweh, the Great I AM? He said he was the Son of God, akin to Adonai? What does he look like now, everybody? Does he look like I AM to you? This man is a fraud, an imposter! I AM, indeed!’ The scribes and elders thought they turned I AM into I AM NOT.

And then the darkness fell. The sun couldn’t shine while grieving for the Light of the world. “And now at noon there was darkness over all the land, until 3:00 in the afternoon.” (Matt. 27:45).