Being Naked

Psalm 1, Genesis 2:25, Luke 5:27-39

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Unless you have a social disorder, are a nudist, or are having an intimate evening with your spouse, being naked feels weird.  I mean, you’re naked.  You have dreams about being naked, and it’s always awkward.  TV sitcoms and movies feature situations when the protagonist gets locked out of their apartment naked somehow, and they scramble to find a covering before they’re seen.

We don’t like to be naked. It’s embarrassing.  We feel exposed, uncovered, vulnerable.

We are ashamed.

I guess if your name ends with Kardashian or Beckham, you’re alright, and you’d probably get a lot of attention, but most of the time, we don’t like other people to see us naked.

So why do Adam and Eve seemingly have no problem baring it all in Genesis 2:25?

“And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”

This is where my Genesis reading finished today, but what do you care?  The answer is, they hadn’t sinned yet. They hadn’t made themselves shameful.

We’re not really concerned about shame anymore — at least in this country.  We brag about sexual encounters without a sense of tact, we smoke in public, we wear clothing with profanity, and we spend money on stupid things and write about it on Facebook while others reading their posts are starving. We’re desensitized as a society, so this motif of shame doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Whether or not the Adam/Eve/snake/apple/scolding scene that transpires later in the chapter is symbolic or not is irrelevant.  I’m not going there today.  What’s important is that, at some point, there’s a slip-up, and the young couple is ashamed of themselves

In Psalm 1, we’re told to avoid “sinful” behavior if we plan on staying fruitful and pleasing to God.  When we hang out with God and stay steady in the study of His Word, we’re in good shape.  Yet many do not do this, and the Psalm leaves no room for compromise or association with “sinners”.

Then we move on to the section in Luke.  It’s hundreds of years after the reign of King David, the author of Psalm 1, and Jesus is already creating a ruckus by forgiving sins by His own authority, much to the chagrin of the Pharisees.  Then, He gathers a bunch of tax collectors around Himself (kinda similar to the loathed “1%” we get all fired up about) and has dinner with them, along with his scrubby fishermen friends he picked up a handful of verses ago.

The Pharisees are indignant, once again, because Jesus is violating much of the law, along with what’s written in the Psalm; He is sitting in the “seat of the scornful.” Essentially, Jesus is shaming Himself by sitting with sinners.

What are sinners?  The Christian church has redefined the term historically, and now it’s sort of a “bad word” to use in church today.  Sinners are by definition people that are not seen as righteous before God.

Anyone who has lusted, cheated, stolen, lied, used profanity, had sex with someone besides their spouse, been drunk or high, had thoughts of murder, held a double standard, hated someone, been mad at their family members, ate too much, slept in too long, spent too much money, or provoked someone to do any of these things (on purpose or not) is a sinner.  This list is not complete.

If you have not done any of these things, among countless other laws written in the Bible, congratulations, you are not a sinner.

If you were proud of yourself for not sinning just now, you’ve already blown it.  Sorry dude. I provoked you to sin.

So, Jesus sat with these people called sinners, who had more than likely performed any of these transgressions listed. He intentionally associated Himself with shame.

Jesus does this to demonstrate His association with sin — that He is not ashamed of our mistakes, our nakedness, our own shame.

No doubt, God wants us to pursue righteousness and “good behavior” with as much effort as possible, especially if we consider ourselves one of His children.  But we cannot possibly supersede the standard for righteousness with our efforts.  In fact, we can’t even break even.

The Bible is the written version of our conscience, the transcribed impossible standard of righteousness engraved in our spirits, now buried by the sediments of sin. We all want to do what’s right — intrinsically, something deep inside of us wants to be good.  But perfection is not possible.  We absolutely need Jesus to sit with us, to associate Himself with us and to cover up our shame, forever.

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