Hebrews 13 has a section in the middle telling us how Jesus endured suffering outside the city gate in order to make his people holy.
Outside the gate was a place of shame. That’s where lepers were sent. That’s where unclean things were burned. Being sent outside the gate to die was a declaration of shame and disgrace.
But Jesus did it. For us.
So Hebrews 13:13 is full on then... “Now then, let us go out to him, outside the camp, bearing his reproach.”
Let us go outside the gate and identify ourselves with Jesus. Even though by doing so we are identifying with his reproach. Identifying with his shame and humiliation.
Even so. Let us go.
I find an interesting parallel in modern society. Those who live in the city are the “cool” people, they are the “in” crowd. Those who live outside it are the rejects, the losers.
There is a lot of social pressure on us today to be part of the in crowd. To be cool. In fact churches even try hard to be “cool” so they are more attractive to the worldly. (Funny, the Bible says the gospel is offensive to them, but we do all we can to not be offensive).
A lot of Christians spend a lot of time and money maintaining their connection to the in crowd. We walk like them. We talk like them. And sadly, we think like them.
Here is a challenge...
Are you willing to walk outside the city gate, in full view of everyone, and to walk up to where Jesus is suffering and declare to everyone watching, “I’m with him”?
Why not? Do you love the world more than you love Jesus?
Are you willing for everyone to think of you as a loser? Weird? A freak? A reject? An enemy? Persona non grata?
If you are, then praise God. Push open that gate, walk out to the boos and hisses of the crowd. And stand proudly with Jesus.
But if you’re not willing, then how do you think that makes Jesus feel? After everything he sacrificed for you. Can you imagine him looking at you standing in the crowd, not willing to step out. While he suffers.
Can you see his face? His eyes staring at you. His heart breaking with disappointment.
You know the really weird thing... even then Jesus loves you.
This is why he died for you. Even though you know that and you still won’t step out.