(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
There are two more servings of Hebrew ‘Let Us’ in Hebrews 13, and we will treat them separately. The first is in verse 13. But to better understand the meaning, the following passage runs from verse 10 through verse 14:
We have an altar from which those who serve the taber- nacle have no right to eat. For the bodies of those beasts, 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 peo- ple 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.
First, we need to understand what the writer of Hebrews is saying in verses 10 and 11.
- Hebrews 13:10 – “We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.”
✡ According to the Old Testament law, the priests were given the right to eat part of certain of- ferings the Israelites brought to be offered on the brazen altar (see Leviticus 6:14-18; 7:1-6; 10:12-15; Numbers 18:10, 11). ✞ Our altar is the cross, upon which the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ was offered for our sins! ★ In John 6:54 Jesus boldly stated, “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eter- nal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” This is Christ’s metaphor con- cerning receiving Him totally into one’s life. ★ No one has a right to ‘eat’ of the Lord Jesus except those whose heart is wide open to Him, accepting Him as their Savior from sin and following Him as Lord over their life!
- Hebrews 13:11 – “For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp.”
✡ Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies with the blood of a bull first, then of a goat, and he would sprinkle the blood on the mercy seat, the lid of the Ark of the Covenant representing God’s throne (see Leviticus 16:11-19). This would sym- bolically cover the sins of the people. ✡ Leviticus 16:27 – “The bull...and the goat for the sin offering...shall be carried outside the camp. And they shall burn...their skins, their flesh, and their offal.”
Hebrews 12:12 tells us that the Lord fulfilled the Old Testament prophesy types of the Day of Atonement: “Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate [of Jerusalem].”
- We are told in John 19:
✞ verse 17 – “...He bearing His cross went out to a place...where they crucified Him....” Out means ‘outside of the city walls’. ✞ verse 20 – “...the place where Jesus was cru- cified was near [not in] the city....”
- Jesus surely suffered and died!
✞ He suffered the horrible pain of crucifixion – both physically (see Psalm 22), psychologically (see Mark 14:34; Luke 12:50), and spiritually (see Matthew 27:46; II Corinthians 5:21). ✞ He also experienced great suffering leading up to the crucifixion! ★ The constant opposition from Jewish leaders (see Mark 3:6; Luke 6:7). ★ The rough handling after Jesus’ arrest (see Matthew 27:2; Luke 23:7, 11). ★ He suffered abuse at the hands of temple personnel and Romans soldiers (see Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 27:27-31). ★ The scourging ordered by Pontius Pilate and carried out by Roman soldiers (see Matthew 27:26; Luke 23:16, 22) had killed men. Jesus barely survived! ★ Further mocking by the Roman soldiers fol- lowed, including the crown of thorns being forced down upon His head! (see Mark 15:16 -20). ✞ And Jesus did it all for us, that we might have our sins forgiven and become children of the Father!
I realize there are a lot of Scripture passages mentioned in the above section that you could look up. I add those (see …) references concerning Hebrews 12:10 through 12 so you can know from where I glean my Biblical information.
But there is one more verse in our featured Scripture! And it is a very important verse because it tells us what we must do in response to Christ’s sacrifice!
Hebrews 12:13 – “Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.”
- What was the reproach Jesus bore?
✞ He offered Himself as Israel’s Savior and King, as the prophesy of Zechariah 9:9 tells us: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having sal- vation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey. But the Jews rejected Him! “We will not have this man to reign over us....We have no king but Caesar.” (Luke 19:14; John 19:15). ✞ He was condemned to be crucified as an egregious criminal of the lowest status! Crucifixion, at the time of Jesus, was a Roman method of execu- tion, reserved for slaves, disgraced soldiers, foreigners, rarely for Roman citizens. God Almighty, God incarnate, allowed Himself to be so mistreated, so violated, and brutally murdered! What sore reproach He bore for us!
- We are told, “…let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.” We are to follow our Lord…
✞ ...outside the camp. We might just as well say, “...outside the world!” (See James 4:4; I John 2:15-17). For Jesus said in His High Priestly prayer of John 17, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world....You have given Me [these people] out of the world.” (John 17: 16, 6). ✞ ...bearing His reproach. There are two ideas of reproach here: ★ The world will reject us! Jesus said in John 15:18 and 19: If the world hates you,you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Why? “For the wisdom of this world is foolish- ness with God....since...the world through wis- dom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness...of the cross...to save those who believe.” (I Corinthians 3:19; 1:18, 21). ★ We are going out to be crucified! For if we are to go forth to Him, it must be under this condi- tion: “...whosoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Mark 8:34). The purpose of the cross is for the one bearing it to be crucified! That is the only way we can die to self so we can live for God! (See Romans 6:1-14). Jesus showed us how this dying to self is to be ac- complished; for in the garden He prayed, “Father, if it is Your will, remove this cup from Me; never- theless not My will, but Yours be done.” If we dare to pray this prayer in everything, “...not my will, but Yours be done...,” we will consistently die to self and live for God!
Hebrews 12:13 – “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.” We are to be like Abraham in Hebrews 11:10: “…he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Our true home is in heaven with the Lord! As we are told in Hebrews 12:1 and 2 (the featured Scripture for Serving Up Hebrew ‘Let Us’ – V), “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith….”
- Keep focused on Him!
- “…let us go forth to Him…,” even though it means carrying our own crucifying cross!
- As Paul wrote in Romans 8:18, “For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
It is all worth it! Follow Him!