Saturday, 20 March 2021
“And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood.” -Hebrews 13:12
The Book of Hebrews was written to encourage believers who were on the verge of going back to their traditions when their faith was tested. The writer brings in contrast of the old covenant of the Jewish people and the new covenant in Christ to show that the New is much better!
In our reading, we see the role of the High Priest in making an offering for the sins of the people. The centre of his head covering had a golden plate on which was written “HOLINESS TO THE LORD” Being thus marked, the High Priest symbolized the true inner holiness the basis for Israel to be accepted before God. In committing himself to holiness, Aaron was qualified for God’s service, accepted by Him as a mediator between God and the people of Israel.
The Day of Atonement was a holy day for Israelites when the high priest was to perform detailed rituals to atone for the sins of the people. On that day, the High Priest had to wear a special dress made of white linen (Exodus 39:29) and carry the bull and its hide and its flesh and its refuse which he burnt in fire outside the camp (Leviticus 8:17) after offering the blood of bulls and lamb in the most Holy place. When he carries blood and the refuse, all this would stain him as well that it would be difficult for him to be recognized by the people watching him from the outer court. He then burns this outside the camp for the sanctification of Israel.
When the Old Testament was a shadow, the reality is in Christ in the New Testament. Jesus Christ is a High Priest in the order of Melchizdek. Jesus came to make the “once for all” sacrifice that the need for cleansing ceremonies ceased (Hebrews 7:27). Jesus carried and took away the sins of the world (our wickedness, impurity, depravity, hatred, discord, jealousy selfish ambition- all sort of sins) to the cross. Jesus Christ was led through the crowd carrying all this and He had to climb Golgotha with the weight of all this sin, outside the camp where He was crucified and all the wrath of God for man’s sin was satisfied. By His One Sacrifice, Jesus Christ sanctified us once for all.
So how do we respond? Hebrews 13:13[TLB] says “So let us go out to him beyond the city walls (that is, outside the interests of this world, being willing to be despised) to suffer with him there, bearing his shame.” -that is, to deny ourselves, carry our cross, ready to follow Jesus Christ. The world may hate us as it hated Christ but we have to choose- just like Moses took a decision to regard disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. So we have to love Jesus Christ more than anything in this world— the lust of the eyes, lust of flesh and pride of life (positions, recognition, etc). We have to choose the way He showed us because we have an enduring city and are looking for that city (Hebrews 13:14) that is to come where Christ will be the King and we his children will be rewarded (1Cor.3:13,14).
Let us pray: Almighty God we come into Your holy presence through Jesus Christ whose blood sanctifies us before You. Lord, keep us blameless until that day we can stand to receive the reward from You. In Jesus name, Amen
Listen: ‘I have decided to follow Jesus’