Christ’s Shame Covers Our Sin By Evangelist Sam Biggers

You know my reproach, my shame, and my dishonor; my adversaries are all before You.  Reproach has broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness; I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.  They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. Psalm 69:18-21

This sixty-ninth Psalm written by King David was a cry of distress in a sea of trouble.  The Psalm also describes the reproach and shame that Jesus bore on the rugged beam holding Him between heaven and earth.

David’s heart was filled with agony suffering for his devotion to God as many suffer today because they hold firm in their faith believing that Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords.  The entire sixty-ninth Psalm has dual meaning.  It was David’s cry to Almighty God for deliverance; it also bears full witness of how Christ would suffer because of his devotion to the Father and how there would be no one who would come to his rescue as He gave his life for you and me.

“You know my reproach, my shame and my dishonor.”  The Israelites believed that if God were just, rewards and punishments in this life would be proportional to the righteousness or wickedness of the individual.  Consequently, anyone suffering from an illness or a disaster, or even at the hands of someone’s action against them, their suffering stood as evidence of their guilt and the consequences resulted in scorn.

David wrote “Reproach has broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness.”  We read in the New Testament that Jesus willingly went to the Cross with a broken heart and a heavy weight upon His shoulders: bearing all the sins of mankind.  Upon the Cross, held there by three nails, Jesus carried your sins and mine, and in death, He bought our freedom from our sins by taking them upon Himself – redeemed us by shedding His precious blood on Calvary’s hill.

We should value the price that Jesus paid that day on Calvary’s Cross.

David gives us a vivid description of how Christ had no one to help Him on that day.  While his mother and family looked upon Him as the scorners laughed, the soldiers parceled his clothing and cast lots for his tunic at the foot of the Cross, Jesus forgave them.  As the psalmist wrote “I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none,” he was portraying the loneliness of the Holy One of Israel.  Jesus died without mercy from the Father. 

And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.  Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was:


Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, andLatin. (Note: there were three signs nailed to the Cross over Jesus).

Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews.” ’ ”

Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece.  They said therefore among themselves, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says:

“They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.”

Therefore the soldiers did these things.” John 20:17-24

“They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”  In some contexts, the word gall refers to poison; other texts refer to something bitter.  This would match the parallel with “vinegar.”  In the former usage it could lead to almost certain death, while in the latter usage it may be understood as some kind of sedative.  In this instance, instead of comfort and nourishment, Jesus received just the opposite – poison.  See the Prophet Amos’s charge that justice has been transferred into poison and righteousness into bitterness (Amos 6:12).

The Roman soldiers crucifying Jesus entertained themselves by giving Him wine mixed with gall, to make it bitter.  Later, other soldiers gave Him wine vinegar to drink.  (See Matthew 27:34, 48).

According to Matthew, gall (a bitter plant) and “sour wine” (vinegar) were offered to Him to drink during the agony of His crucifixion.

The bitterness of gall is proverbial.  When David suffered maltreatment, he responded with a curse (Psalm 69:22-28).  Jesus was offered vinegar and He responded with compassion for those who tormented Him

There upon the Cross, Jesus experienced shame.  The word translated here is coupled with defeat, reproach, nakedness, folly, contempt, poverty, cruelty and nothingness.  It is an impropriety, an offense, an injured reputation, a wounded pride, and guilt.  In most Biblical references it is associated with religion, with only a few instances relating to social prestige.  There are many aspects to shame.

Sin is the primary source of all shame.  Scripturally, the first of these is nakedness, holding a dualistic meaning – physical and spiritual.  In their primeval state “the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25).  After they sinned they were ashamed of their nakedness in God’s presence (Genesis 3:10).

After God removed Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden, righteousness excluded shame, while wickedness produced it.  David said, “O my God, in thee I trust, let me not be put to shame; let none that wait for thee be put to shame” (Psalm 25:2).  This plea was often stated by the psalmists and prophets.  The Apostle Paul picked up this Old Testament catchphrase and declared, “I was not put to shame,” and “I shall not be put to shame.”  Paul quoted Isaiah’s prophecy concerning Christ when he wrote, “He who believes in Him will not be put to shame (Romans 9:33).

Shame is a component of divine judgment on sin.  It is an instrument to be dreaded, and also one to employ against an enemy.  The Hebrews delighted in the shame of the ungodly.  “Let the godless be put to shame” (Psalm 119:78).  “God will scatter the bones of the ungodly; they will be put to shame” (Psalm 53:5b).

The worst that a Hebrew could wish on his enemy was that he be put to shame and dishonor (Psalm 35:4, 26; 71:13; 40:14; 70:2).

We are to run the race “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).  Jesus removed our shame at the cross.