The Honor And Shame Of The Gospel Of Jesus Christ

1370 words - 5 pages

To understand both the honor and shame involved in the gospel pertaining to Jesus Christ, honor and shame will be defined according to the ancient Mediterranean and Greco-Roman world. A person born in either world during the first century, was taught to “seek honor and avoid disgrace”. The universal definition of Honor could be best described as the “public acknowledgment of a person’s worth”. There were two possible routes in which one obtained honor. The first, through the ascription by another, meaning someone would credit the person. The second, was through an individual’s own achievement. One could achieve honor by the degree of which he or she embodied the qualities and behaviors valued in that particular society. Men from stories such as those from Homer to Paul of Tarsus were a few of the many who lived and died in “quest of honor, reputation, fame, approval and respect”.
Scholars describe the term “honor” as one that varies from culture to culture. With that in mind, the two focused cultures of this paper are the Greco-Roman and the Mediterranean. In the Greco-Roman world, honor and its counterpart shame, were a psychological means of keeping the social body under control. Honor was attributed to those who conformed most to the value system of the group. Not conforming, not only meant one was disapproved by the social body, but it meant one was socially disrupting the group’s continued existence. The basis of honor was largely projected through maintenance of “agreement and unity” for the good of the larger group. In fact the greek word idiots, was coined after individuals who failed to participate in their civic duty for the common good. For example, shop owners, who instead of shutting down business to join all the citizens to the amphitheatre to “get the news and fulfill their civic duty”, they remained opened for extra business. These were called idiots, because they would only concern themselves with their personal goals, and thereby ignore the greater good.
Something both Greco-Roman philosophers and Jewish writers agreed on was the “opinion of God” as a support for their values. However, the Jewish people differed in many ways in their perception of honor and shame. Although by definition, honor could be achieved or ascribed to, the Jewish people believed that God alone was the source and giver of honor. Theologically whatever honor an individual received or achieved was dependent upon God, and served as a sign of his favor. Scriptures describing the process of God’s role include: “2Ch. 26:18; Ps. 62:7 and Romans 2:7-11) Moreover, not only did God give honor but he protected his people from shame. In fact, the shaming of Israel’s enemies often meant “salvation of God’s people” It is under this context, that the Jewish people thought of Jesus as one, who in their theological affirmation, was shamed by God. Jesus crucifixion, to the Jewish people, appeared to be a divine judgment for an imposter messiah and...

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