One time in a group of people as we shared, this question came up, “What time in history if you had a choice would you have liked to live; the old testament days, days of Jesus on earth or in our time?”
It was interesting to note in the responses that there were some in the group that sincerely wished to have lived in the days of Jesus on earth. The thinking is that when Jesus is physically with you, you can ask Him all the questions you have like the disciples did and He’d solve all your problems like He did for the people in those days.
This thinking may sound logical and pleasant on the surface , but it betrays ones/our disconnection with the reality of the new covenant experience. It’s however not new as the disciples expressed the same jitters at the thought of Jesus departing from them. They could not imagine of life without Him physically. Jesus response was encouraging and should also be to us;
“….It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you…..” (John 16:7)
It seems to be human nature, understandably so, to hesitate to venture to the unknown even when it is for the eventual good. We see a lot of this played at several instances in the history of God’s people.
Particular instances in point are 1. when on the way to the promised land from Egypt, some wished for what they had in Egypt, 2. In the return of the Israelites to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and the city walls, some choose to stay on and enjoy the comforts of Babylon.
This same scenario is replaying in our day, only not only in a physical sense, but also spiritually. There’s a call to leave any form of religion that competes with the supremacy and centrality of the Lord Jesus Christ, mostly man made structures and forms, to follow Him outside the camp. Everyone who hears this call has a choice to either stay or move.
While there’s expediency in departure in response to the call, there’s also a cost and that is what seems to stop many people. The expediency is that outside the camp, you’ll need to practically learn not only to hear His voice, but also to trust Him. Before one departs, there’s always someone physically around you to consult when in a situation, but outside the camp there’s no guarantee.
It is however advantageous in the sense of being forced by circumstances to arise to the reality of the Christ within you. This heritage of the children of God, the mystery hidden previously is often blurred by religion (outer garment Christianity), but has to be a reality upon departure.
The cost of this departure is very high, it is the whole of self, suffering with Him outside the camp until there’s no confidence in the flesh. The end in view in all this is however most glorious.
Like in the days of old, there’s a promise for the people of God, Canaan the place of rest. In our day , this place of rest is Christ and Him alone. He’s our only basis of standing before our Father. He’ll however not be fully experienced without departure from all other props or basis for our acceptance before the Father.
Christ and Him alone is our basis of acceptance before the Father, and the expediency of our departure is a fuller apprehension and reality of Him.
13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. (Heb 13)