Crosses             LBG                  HateLove

Devotional - week of April 9, 2006


OUTSIDE THE GATE

Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.  Hebrews 13:12-13

Jesus was crucified on Calvary just outside the city of Jerusalem. The author of Hebrews sees Jesus’ death as a sign of the rejection of Jesus by the Jewish leaders. They rejected Him because He first rejected them, their beliefs, and their practices.

 

The Book of Hebrews was written to the Hebrew believers who had rejected the Jewish beliefs and practices—and, like Jesus, the believers were suffering at the hands of the Jewish leaders. Some of the suffering Hebrew believers were in danger of returning to the practice of Judaism. Hebrews 13:12-13 suggest that his readers go to Jesus outside the camp and continue to suffer as they reject Judaism and as they follow Jesus.

 

“Bearing His reproach” means more than abusive or intimidating speech. It means more than rejection. Hebrews 10:34 speaks of the “plundering of goods” of the believers. Even Jesus himself was rejected and crucified.

 

In two ways, living “outside the gate” is demonstrated in the life of Paul. First, before becoming a believer, he was a persecutor of Jews who were believers. Second, seemingly within days after Paul’s conversion to Christ, the Jews were attempting to kill him.

 

Is there a message to 21st century followers of Jesus in this passage? There is! There is more abuse and hatred of evangelical Christians in the United States today than at any other time in our nation’s history. It comes from both religious and secular sources. And some unbelievers who have no hatred of Christians seem to enjoy seeking to abuse and embarrass them.

 

It is well-known that in many parts of the world, believers are dying because they are followers of Jesus.

 

Believers who live out the life of grace are victims of abuse and humiliation more often than the casual believers are. Satan hates those living by grace because he knows they can and will do his kingdom more damage than casual believers will.

 

Let us never cease to stay outside the gate with Jesus.