My kids just hated that hat of mine! It was knitted, bright red, with a few white embroidered flowers. It was nice and warm and covered my ears, but the kids mocked me in it. Even now they refer to ‘mum’s red hat’ with a glint in their eye. I found an old photo of it. OK, it was not chique, designer stuff, but serviceable enough. What was their problem???
So back to the tabernacle, Exodus 27:16-19. Moses had been given the instructions for the curtains that would form the parameters of the courtyard around the tent, and there was to be a ‘gate’ across the entrance. Entering through this the Israelites would have the east behind them, turning their backs on all the sun worshipping religions that faced the rising sun. They would be immediately presented with the altar of burnt offering, without which they could not hope to approach Holy God. When Jesus said, “I am the gate (or door)” in John 10, the context was of a sheep pen; but verse 9, “whoever enters through me will be saved” makes it a reference to this gate, the way through into the presence of God. Jesus himself would be the very sacrifice that made that way possible.
The curtains that formed the perimeter were plain twisted linen, undyed, but the curtain of the entrance gate was coloured blue, purple and scarlet. It stood out; it was obvious where you had to go to get in, the colours marked it out.
Jesus was never afraid to stand up or stand out. His teaching was unequivocal, clear, sharp and distinctive. It stood out from the muddied waters of the pharisaical discussions and debates. And today, Jesus is clearly the only way that people can have their sins dealt with, know with certainty that they are forgiven, and can enter freely and boldly before the throne of Almighty God. No other religion or philosophy offers anything like it.
He simply asks that we are witnesses to this. That we stand up and stand out before our fellow-men, and declare clearly and openly the reason for our faith. “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.”
You might not want to wear a bright red hat, but standing out from the crowd is not a lifestyle choice for a follower of Jesus, it’s a requirement.