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.  For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.


Going to Jesus

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The Focus of the Gospel

Jesus was constantly and unjustly criticized and cruelly slandered, but that is not the story emphasized in the gospels. In fact, we have to turn to the Old Testament prophets, not the New Testament, to learn some of the most horrifying details of Jesus’ sufferings while on earth. There, we are told of his skin-and-bones appearance (Psalms 22), of his beard being ripped out and of being considered by his contemporaries as cursed by God (Isaiah). It was Isaiah, not Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, who described the Messiah as “a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.”

The word “gospel” means “good news”. If all we had in the Gospels was an account of all the abuses and accusations against the Lord, we would not feel as if we were reading good news at all. It would not encourage us to love God; it would frighten some of us and sicken the rest. In the gospels, instead of being inundated with stories of the mistreatment of the Lord, we read of the multitude of his kindnesses to the oppressed, his gentle wisdom, and his close communion with his heavenly Father. In the gospels, we see Jesus overcoming all evil with perfect good; we see his victory over the world. And in the end, before his final torture and death, he encouraged his wondering disciples by saying, “In the world, you have tribulation, but take heart! I have overcome the world!” The writers of the Gospels did not overwhelm us with a long list of all the evils that were done against the Lord. That was a part of the story, but it was not the point.

Make this holy pattern your own. Let the goodness of God be the focus of your story. We all already know that the world is full of evil; we see it in every direction every day. What we want and need to hear, and what we want to hear from each other, is the goodness of God by which we have overcome the evil around us.

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