Go Outside the Camp
"The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come" (Hebrews 13:11-14).
As you read about the Sin Offering in Leviticus 4-5, notice that the animal for the sin offering was taken outside of the camp. The author of Hebrews recognizes that is a foreshadowing of Jesus' suffering outside the gates of the city of Jerusalem.
Find comfort in Jesus as your sin offering. What sin burdens your heart? In faith, place your hands on Jesus' head. Transfer that burden to Jesus. Then see him as the Sin Offering who has already suffered death for your sin. The punishment has been paid.
Then, let us "go outside the camp" to follow Jesus.
The first readers of Hebrews were "outside the camp" because as Jewish Christians, they were no longer considered part of God's people by the rest of the Jews. They were outsiders, no longer welcome in the temple. Let us also be outsiders, willing to "go outside the camp," remaining faithful to Christ even when we feel pressure to conform to society's standards rather than Christ's.
Our lessons also contain a warning against intentional sin.
The sin offering was to be offered for "unintentional sins." There was no Old Testament sacrifice for intentional sins. That's also the warning in Jesus' interaction with the teachers of the law in our New Testament reading (Mark 3:20-4:9). They were accusing Jesus of casting out demons by the prince of demons. But they knew better. They knew that wasn't true. It was an intentional sin, speaking evil of the work of the Holy Spirit through Jesus. There is no sacrifice for intentional sin. "Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”
Confession: Lay your hands on your Savior
Almighty God, there are so many unintentional sins to confess. But my heart is especially burdened by all the times I knew better, but did not turn from sin. Intentional sin haunts my memory. I deserve the sentence of “guilty of an eternal sin.” But even now I place my hands on the head of my Savior. I renounce those sins. The real “me,” the spirit you created in me by faith, has no desire to continue in these sins. For the real "me," they are unintentional sins. I transfer that guilt upon your Son. The burden is removed! Today, send your Spirit to me so that I have the courage to go “outside the camp” and live for you. Amen.
Outside the camp – Trivia
On this map, you can see the traditional spot of Golgotha at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (built in the 326 AD). This church is within the current city walls of Old Jerusalem. That is part of the reason "The Garden Tomb" was proposed as the sight for Golgotha in the 1800's. However, the traditional site was outside the city walls as they existed in Jesus' day.