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I heard recently about a seminary where one of the requirements for graduation is to preach a senior sermon. This sounds harmless enough, but it consists of preaching a sermon in chapel–in front of your classmates, professors, and potentially friends and family–and then having your sermon critiqued by a professor in front of everyone present. If you do well, this is a great experience full of encouragement surrounded by people who care about you; however, if you do poorly, it means feeling publicly embarrassed and shamed as your sermon is picked apart. This sounds like my worst nightmare.
We all go through embarrassing situations because we all do things that we are embarrassed of. Some of them are silly–like when I left Dr. off the front of Tom’s name in the worship guide. Others go deep into our souls and produce regret and shame. Shame is a horrible feeling that we would all choose to avoid. Generally, these feelings of shame come as a result of feeling like there is a standard that we aren’t measuring up to and that people know that we aren’t measuring up to it. We want people to see the good things we do and honor us for them.
Because Jesus underwent the shame of the cross, we are now free from shame (I Peter 2:6). He underwent the shame that we deserve in order that we might be honored alongside Him when He returns. Instead of us being shamed, Scripture says that He has “put to open shame” the rulers of this world: sin, death, and Satan (Colossians 2:15). Because He has put these things to shame, we are now victorious with Christ and honored alongside Him. We are not honored because of anything we have done; we are honored because Christ has undergone the shame that we deserve and has taken the moment of His greatest shame, the cross, and turned it into His greatest moment of victory.
Scripture: Esther 6:1-14
Sermon: God Providentially Honors Us