The writer of Hebrews says some very profound things about the death of Jesus on the cross in this reading today.
- First, he refers back to the Old Testament law. The bodies of the animals sacrificed for the sins of the people were burned outside the camp (v.11). Jesus, just like the sin offering, was also killed outside the camp, or rather the city. This shows that Jesus, too, was a sin offering for the sins of people, only in a much greater way. Jesus’ death truly counted for the forgiveness of our sins!
- The writer then makes a fascinating statement. If you are going to join yourself to Jesus in faith, you are going to have to go outside the camp too, for that is where He is! Being inside the city means that we are accepted as one who is a member in good standing of the world community. But being outside the camp means to unhook from the majority of the world, to perhaps be rejected by the majority of people in the world, even being shunned and despised. To be a Christian will definitely mean being “outside” the camp of the accepted values and opinions of the world. But the writer exhorts us not to let this stop us, for joining Jesus outside the camp leads us into the city that is to come!
So we accept our rejection by the world, turning instead to praising the Lord and doing good deeds. These kinds of sacrifices don’t win us any points with the Lord, but they are quite pleasing to God!!