By: Yves Blouin
Hebrews 13:10-16“We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore 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 here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
As stated; Jesus suffered and died for us outside of Jerusalem on mount Calvary. The location was a high spot so that it could be seen by many; increasing the shame and sending a message to all, that he had been defeated. Little did they know that this was God’s ordained plan. Jesus was to suffer and die in order to redeem us from our sins and give us a new nature.
The old testament required different types of sin offerings but the nation’s sin offering made by the high priest once a year, the one for all sins, was the only one burnt outside the camp on the yearly day of atonement, called Yom Kippur. Jesus who is our high priest was crucified outside the camp as God’s sin offering for the entire world. Jesus was both our high priest and our sin offering. This is in contrast to the Jewish high priest who every year had to offer a sacrifice. Jesus offered himself, the perfect sinless lamb of God, as our sin offering once and forever. Only on the day of atonement some of the sacrifice’s blood would be sprinkled by the high priest in front of the curtain used to enter the Holy of Holies where God had a special presence. When Christ died and shed his blood the gospels tell us that the curtain was torn in two from top to bottom given everyone access to Him. The sprinkling of the blood of the sin sacrifice in front of the curtain was no longer required. As Christ said “It is finished”.
When the epistle to the Hebrews was written, the new Jewish believers were struggling with leaving Judaism. They had one foot in Judaism and one in Christianity. This passage, especially verse 13 calls for the Jewish believers to leave the comfort of Judaism and in doing so partake of Christ’s shame and disgrace. Jesus was despised and rejected of men – a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. We can find application today outside of Judaism in that before we became Christ’s followers we took comfort in material things, other religions, family, etc. and by going to Christ and following Him we bare His shame. Sometimes it is family or co-workers who ridicule us – I know that some of my family when I became a follower of Christ thought it was a mental phase that I would hopefully get over – 30 years later I still haven’t gotten over it.
This is especially clear in our current political context where all manners of religions and sins are tolerated, endorsed and even promoted except for Christianity which depending on what country you live in is violently attacked or at best ridiculed and politically suppressed. Take the case of the christian Trinity Western university’s attempt at getting it’s law school program accredited. The supreme court of Canada ruled this week against it because the way in which the TWU Christian community chooses to live, work and study together, sharing traditional Christian values. Most of us will likely continue struggling to put the source of our comfort and security totally in Christ until we go to meet him, having one foot in the world and one foot in Christianity or maybe just being secret Christians. I know I’m definitely not there but it is a progression and as long as we’re going forth to Christ no matter the struggles, trials or shame then the Holy Spirit is working in us to make us more like Jesus. I love what Spurgeon said “It is but a flea-bite here — and then an eternity of bliss! A moment’s shame and then an eternal honor!”
How are we to respond to Jesus’ sacrifice? One way today’s text tells us is to give God the sacrifice or our lips, thanking him and giving him praise. It is said that at a future time all sacrifices shall cease, but praises shall not cease.
I love that as we are told to thank God with our lips for what he did for us that he follows this with a mandate to do good especially to the needy. Our faith cannot be only declared by our lips but also by our actions to the less fortunate. With such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Spurgeon No. 577: Let Us Go Forth