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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From a dream.
In my dream a couple of nights ago, I had traveled to preach at a small place. Everything about the little home prayer meeting was informal and relaxed. There were only a few people in the house. When time came for me to preach, I asked a question: "What is the only thing in this universe that is true at all times, everywhere?" After a few moments, I gave them the answer: "The gospel. The gospel is the only thing that is always true." But then a few more people, apparently neighbors of the simple folk in whose house we were meeting, came into the room, and I had to start over with my message. "What is the only thing in all this creation that is always true, in all places, at all times, in every circumstance? Do you think the Bible is always true? We can't count on the Bible to always be true because the Bible contains errors in translation. It is the gospel! The gospel is always true."
But then a few more people came in, happy to be able to come to a prayer meeting and looking for a seat. So, I started again. "What is the only thing in all of creation that is always true, for everybody in every circumstance, all the time and in all places?" After some silence on the part of the new people, I answered, "The gospel!" But no sooner had those words come out of my mouth, when another small group came in, eager to be a part of this prayer meeting. Now seats were becoming harder to find, and this group sat around the dining table, some facing toward me and some facing the other way. But again I started, "What is the only thing in this entire universe that is always true, every moment, in every place, for everybody in every circumstance?" After some silence on the part of the new people, I answered, "The gospel! Everywhere you are, whatever the circumstances, at whatever time, the gospel will be true and unchanged."
Then another group came in, and I repeated the beginning of my sermon yet again. I suppose I did this half a dozen times, and when I awoke, I was in the midst of doing it again.
In my dream, I thought that I was having to repeat the beginning of my sermon, but I wonder now if I was wrong to think that I had just begun to preach. After the gospel is proclaimed, what remains to be said? Maybe the Lord was showing me that there is no need to elaborate upon the gospel, and what was really happening is that I was preaching the same complete sermon over and over: The gospel is the only thing in all of this creation that is always true, always unchanging, in every place, at all times, for everybody.
Mark summarizes Jesus' preaching by telling us that the Lord traveled through villages and towns in Galilee, saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel!" I wonder how many times he repeated that message?