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.
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“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son
so that every one who believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
On a recent trip to Yellowstone National Park, I met and talked with a young man, an employee of the park. During our conversation, he made a comment that impressed me. I asked him if he’d be leaving at the summer’s end to return home, as many park employees do each year, and he told me that he lives in the area year-round. Then he added, “I don’t know about anything that goes on outside the park anymore.” His meaning was perfectly clear. He didn’t care to know about what goes on in this world beyond the park’s borders. He had abandoned interest in this world, its politics, its sports, its entire society and culture, and he was content with life as it is in Yellowstone Park, and nothing else.
There are some reasonable arguments against living a completely closed-in lifestyle, of course, but the Lord had a lesson for me in that young man’s words. After my conversation with the park employee, I had to ask myself, “Am I as dedicated to my calling in Christ, and free from interest in this world’s vanities, as that young man was?” He was not in the least attracted to or interested in the latest political scandal, or “important” sporting event, or rumors of war, no matter what countries it involved.
This young man’s attitude reminded me of a replica I once saw of Jerusalem as it was in Jesus’ time. In that model, I saw that there was a three-storied theater located near the temple, and in another part of town, I saw a large hippodrome for chariot and horse races. When I saw those things, I suddenly realized that, although these two places must have been popular attractions in Jesus’ time, there is no mention of these places in any of the four Gospels or in the book of Acts. Those worldly intrusions into the holy city were completely irrelevant to the story of salvation, and in truth, they still are. As with the social issues of the world to the young man I met at Yellowstone, whatever happened in Jerusalem’s places of entertainment appear to have been utterly meaningless to Jesus and to those who followed him.
God sent His dear Son to suffer and die because there was no human fix for this world. It was only because there was no hope in this world for this world that God sent His Son here to die for us and make a way for us to live forever. That is the difference between God and the young man in the park. When God saw that there was no human answer for man’s sin, He still had the power to do something about it. The best that my park friend could do was to withdraw from humans and try to live in peace with God’s non-human creation.