Epistle to the Hebrews (13:10-13)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

Epistle to the Hebrews

We have an altar from which the priests in the Tabernacle have no right to eat. Under the old system, the high priest brought the blood of animals into the Holy Place as a sacrifice for sin, and the bodies of the animals were burned outside the camp. So also Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates to make his people holy by means of his own blood. So let us go out to him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore.” Hebrews 13:10-13

Our author inspired by the Holy Spirit exposes to us an interesting theological argument. The place where Jesus was crucified, Golgotha, was outside the city of Jerusalem. As per history, the Jews did not permit executions inside the city.

We read in Exodus 29:14: “Take all the fat around the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat around them, and burn it all on the altar. Then take the rest of the bull, including its hide, meat, and dung, and burn it outside the camp as a sin offering.”

We can also see in Leviticus 4:1-12:

But he must take whatever is left of the bull—its hide, meat, head, legs, internal organs, and dung— and carry it away to a place outside the camp that is ceremonially clean, the place where the ashes are dumped. There, on the ash heap, he will burn it on a wood fire.”

The Jews had different sacrifices. The meal offering(Lev 2, Ex 3:16), peace offering(Lev 3:1-5), burnt offering (Lev 28:3-4,1:4-9), sin offering (Lev 4:2) and trespass offering(Lev 6:5).

The trespass offering was very similar to that of the sin offering but the main difference was that the trespass offering was an offering done because of sin against people. For example, money given for sins connected with fraud.

The peace offering was similar to the burnt offering. It’s purpose was however different since it was basically a thanksgiving sacrifice. It was shared with the priests and Jews.

The meal offering was an offering of vegetables and fruits. It was the fruit of the labor of the offerer. It was also done by the consecrated priests.

The burnt offering was the first sacrifice done. It was done everyday, morning and evening (Ex. 29:38). The bible tells us that :  “A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out” Lev 6:13

It founds its origin in the book of Genesis. Abraham and Noah offered such sacrifices (Gen 22:13). It was a personal offering done as an act of worship. It also served as a sacrifice for ceremonial cleansing(Num 6:11). It was completely burnt and neither the offerer of priests could eat it.

The sin offering was basically dealing with sins which the Israelites were unaware of.  The laws  could not clearly pointed out all their faults. There were therefore sins done in ignorance which naturally tainted their conscience. When we sin in ignorance, we are still guilty. The Israelites had to offer a sin offering whenever they realised their wrongdoings.

If the entire Israelite community sins by violating one of the Lord’s commands, but the people don’t realize it, they are still guilty.When they become aware of their sin, the people must bring a young bull as an offering for their sin and present it before the Tabernacle.” Lev 4:13

There’re many sins we did in ignorance but that does not mean God is unaware of them. Those sins we did in ignorance would probably make more books than those we did consciously.

Our author mentioned that Jesus offered Himself as a sin offering also. His sacrifice went to the extent of purifying our guilty conscience (Heb 9:14).

Jesus’s sacrifice was more than the types of offerings mentioned above. Only one sacrifice was necessary to nullify all the rest. Is not it amazing that our Lord was offered like a sin offering outside Jerusalem?

Our author wants us to contemplate what Jesus has done. He says “So let us go out to him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore“.  The burnt offering was a general sacrifice which for instance made people ceremonially cleaned. The sin offering aimed to deal with sin at conscience level itself.  With a contrite and thankful heart, we should remember what our Lord has done outside the camp. Let us share in this disgrace He bore.

Simon of  Cyrene to help Jesus carry His cross. Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate to ask for  Jesus’ body. He took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long sheet of linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock. The women from Galilee went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint his body. Luke 23:52

The 2 Marys came to care for Jesus and were waiting for Him at the tomb. Mat 27:55-61

We will not be able to do these little things Simon, Joseph or the Marys did. However, we can honor what our Lord has done by being faithful witnesses. Our author tells us “let us go out to him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore“. Paul was insulted, humiliated, beaten and persecuted because of the Gospel of Christ. Bearing the name of “Disciple of Christ” is foolishness to the world. Christians were despised because of this beautiful name they bore. Let us therefore hold highly Christ who is our emblem, our glory.

Peter said: “So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian,for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.”

Paul expressed: “And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News.That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.” 2 Tim 1:12

Paul completely gave his life to Christ as a living sacrifice. He said:

I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” Phil 3:10

But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near.I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” 2 Tim 4:6-7

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Posted September 30, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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