Outside the Gates
Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the Gate. Heb 13:12 NKJV
Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. Heb, 13:13.
Traditionally, the contemporary church was content to let Jesus do all the suffering while she went her own way–doing her own thing–avoiding situations that might cause some discomfort. In this way she sought to enjoy all the benefits that goes with the christian walk without the trials and tribulations that often accompany it.
We rarely take into consideration that Jesus’ physical pain was only a small part of his suffering as He hung on the Cross outside the gates. The unbearable shame and disgrace that was connected with a Roman Cross was the heigtht of rejection and utter curse in the eyes of society. It is for this reason the disciples fled when it dawned on them that their Master will not evade this horrific disgrace, but will allow Himself to become an open shame. If he being the green tree was to suffer in this matter, what else may we expect, seeing we are like a dry, or dead tree? LK, 23:31.
The disgrace of the Cross is painful, and will usually lead us where we do not want to go. There is a way to avoid it, but it will always be at the cost of Jesus, or perhaps in betraying a brother or sister. When Peter was confronted concerning his association with Jesus, the fear and the extreme pressure of the moment, caused him to deny Him. The test always comes during a time of unavoidable pressure. Natural man will without fail, seek an escape route, very often at the cost of others.
Many times I was told by suffering christians who had been under communist regimes, that the physical suffering pales in light of the shame and disgrace that is inflicted by the betrayal of a brother or sister. This is especially magnified when it comes through trusted friends or leaders in the church.
In the Amish cuture where I grew up , a bishop was considered to be the shepherd of the flock, which is also a biblical standard. Titus 1:7:9. However, apart from some exceptions, these shepherds often became rulers, if not dictaters, using the people to shield themselves from disgrace, being done in a cloak of holy concern for the flock. The temptation for any leader in any capacity, is extremely great, to use those under them as subordinates rather than their equals.
The definition of a shepherd, is a willingness to lay down their lives when the sheep are at stake–precisely what Jesus did for you and me. He bore the shame that belonged to us. He bore it outside the safe confines of the church, He was fully exposed, no-one coming to His aid, or sharing the deep shame and disgrace with Him, apart from some women who had served Him.
The disgrace of the Cross always comes when we refuse to use others, or even Jesus himself. To save ourselves while under pressure is the folly of the ages, something men have been doing since the fall. If at any time we chose not to use others, it invariably takes us outside the camp where we become fully exposed, which is always painful. We may choose to pay now, or we may pay later. 1 Tim, 5:24. The tragedy lays in the deception of any given situation that we are unwilling to face, it will sooner or later come back to haunt us. It is for this reason many christians who have started out well will end up with a seared conscience. They become slanderers and traitors, cloaked in a form of godliness. 2 Tim 3:1-5.
We are presently living in a time of the greatest deceptions at any time in the history of mankind. Even the elect may not always have correct discernment Math, 24:24. To go looking for these false prophets is not the answer, we will not find them. This level of decption will at times be coming through some of finest upstanding christians we know.
Whenever we become lax in our dedication and intimacy with Christ, if God allows it, Satan will unknowing to us, place a veil of extreme deception over our hearts and minds, a deception that can then be manipulated through some of the best giftings we have been given of God, yet using it to our advantage–all in the name of Jesus. This is the spirit that Job dealt with, and only God could reveal its deception, for we of ourselves do-not have the capacity to discern it. Job 41:33-34. It is for this reason that we can no longer remain indepndant from other parts of Christs body. It will take every part to bring togther the full picture where no deception remains uncovered. This takes a level of humility that few have yet attained.
I have often heard some say, they want everything God has for them–they are ready to pay the price. I am glad, yet I cringe, when I hear such a statement, for we never comprehend the depth of testing this will bring. The things we do wrong will never be the issue with God, He always foresees our blunders. The issue arises when we begin evading the Cross that is waiting outside the gates. It is here in full exposure, where God will sanctify us from all inherent blemishes, deceptions and blind spots. This is Grace!
Gods infinite grace is not without its painful moments, infact it is through Gods chastening, where He will elevate us from being illegitimate children to becoming His loving sons. Heb, 12:5-14. A son, unlike an illegitimate child or a servant, comes into the full inheritance of Christ, nothing that God has is withheld from him. John 15:15.
True nobility is found in those who open their hearts to the need of others and to cover their shame.