As we come to the close of our study in Hebrews on the two words Let Us it has struck me of the importance of imagery and the painting of word pictures that that author uses to convey his message. His use of the OT rituals and symbolism assists in carrying his deep message of the superiority of Christ along, as the wind carries leaves on an Autumn day. This has driven home a point to me - make your blogs 'fly with word pictures' rather than only words. Easier said than done though.
This little diversion brings me to today's study found in Hebrews 13:13
Let us, then, go to him (Jesus) outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. NIV
This verse is full of the rituals of the sacrifice out lined in Lev. 16 concerning Yom Kippur - the Day of Atonement. A ceremony that every Jew richly treasured and therefore, to the readers of Hebrews, a powerful picture of Jesus' sacrifice; the new covenant.
But to appreciate this verse we need to step back to verse 12.
And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood NIV
This also alludes heavily to the Day of Atonement which the author has referred to in chapter 9 and here in this chapter in verse 11. I am sure you are aware of the sacrifice where the scapegoat has the sins of the people transferred to the animal, which was taken outside the camp to die. Hence the people's sins were taken away by transfer.
I can sense the excitement building in the authors' mind as he conveys the truth that the sacrifice of Christ is far better for it is not repeated year after year. This is stressed in Chapter 10 for Christ sacrifice was not a transfer of sins but an exchange. Our sins for his holiness. Transfer trumps an exchange every way you look at Calvary.
Because we have the perfect sinless life of Christ born into our hearts John in his epistle can write under Gods inspiration:- 1 John 3:9
No one who is born of God will continue to sin because God's seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. NIV
No wonder the writer of Hebrews can say with confidence that Christ is the mediator of a better covenant.
What is our response to this act of God's grace? The write says 'Let us join Jesus outside the city and become identified with his reproach/disgrace and death.' The city represents all the values and attitudes of the world. Come apart from the selfishness of the world and die with Jesus suffering his shame and raising to a life of holiness.
Preciously in chapter 13 the author has listed a number of world's values that we are to cast aside as we run the race before us looking to Jesus.
Firstly in verse 1-2 we are to set aside our self interests and consider others better than ourselves. This is the mind that Christ had for the considered equality with God nor be grasped but humbled himself and was found in the form of a slave for us.
Secondly in verse 3 we are share the suffering of our sisters and brothers for we are to bear each other's burdens.
Thirdly in verse 4 we are to honour marriage and not defile the marital bed for adultery will be judged by the judge of all the earth. Let me tell you if there is a scale of judgment I believe this one will be at the top of Gods list. Adultery is in Gods eyes the same as rebellion against God who is holy.
Fourthly in verse 5 we must put behind us the mindset of the world that strives for recognition, honour and respect according to its monetary values. Has not God said I will bless you abundantly if you seek and strive for my Kingdom?
Next in verse seven we are to honour those that teach and open the word of God to us for they are worth 'double honour.' 1 Timothy 5:17.
Finally in verse 9 we are to put away any religiosity, ritual and manmade traditions that the world so loves to burden our faith with, for our faith is not one of fear and heavy yokes For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, Rom.14:17 NIV
Let us not forget that our home is not this city build with human hands.
For here we do not have an enduring city,but we are looking for the city that is to come. verse 14 NIV
It is not easy to leave the city behind, but let us be encouraged by the believers in chapter 11 for they to longed for and strive after a city not of this world.
The cross is an absolute mark of separation between the people of God and the people of the world. When we accept the principle of the cross in our lives, we no longer belong to this world
The world is not our friend. It's our enemy. We are going to have trouble - but Jesus has overcome the world! Through Him, we too can overcome the world - if we are willing to go out to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.
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