Outsiders or Insiders?
The Book of Hebrews exalts the person and works of Jesus Christ. The motive of the letter, written to Jewish believers, is to affirm the deity and supremacy of Jesus. He is appointed by God, His Father, as the heir of all things. The Son of God is greater than the angels in Heaven.
The author gives extensive proofs about how Jesus fulfilled the Law when He paid for the sins of all mankind by shedding His blood. He is not only the Lamb of God but also our eternal High Priest and mediator of the New Covenant. Having completed His mission, He ascended into Heaven where He is seated at the right hand of God.
Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords. There is none like Him—in Heaven and on earth.
While Hebrews concludes with various exhortations for believers, it also highlights the extent to which the supreme King was humiliated on the Cross—“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.” (Hebrews 13:11-12 NIV).
Jesus was an outsider.
He came to earth as the promised Messiah to do the will of His Father. His origins were humble, He was born in a place meant to house animals, not people. He grew up in the obscure town of Nazareth. Jesus did not live like royalty. He had no place to call home. He had no friends in high places. Scorned by His own, Jesus was misunderstood, abandoned, and betrayed by His own people.
Jesus was an outsider.
His death, like His birth, was unbecoming of a king. Treated like a criminal, Jesus was crucified alongside law-breakers. A fake crown made of thorns was placed on His head, and a sign was hung on the cross, “King of the Jews”, meant to publicly mock the Savior.
Though Jesus’ ministry changed forever the destiny of man and shaped the history of the world, He was not accorded the respect or glory due to Him. The blameless Son of Man was taken outside the city, a place reserved for the most unclean and the unholiest of people and animals, and slaughtered.
Jesus, our Lord and Savior, became an outsider so that we can have rich, free, and new lives.
So, how can we respond to the Jesus of the Hebrews, of the Bible?
The author gives us a clue—“Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.” (Hebrews 13:13 NIV).
Let us throw aside our fears of being ridiculed for identifying with Jesus.
Let us cast away our worries of losing friends because we have been befriended by Jesus.
Let us put aside our reservations of being despised for preaching the Good News.
But, how can we find the strength to suffer like Jesus?
We can persevere through intense suffering since, here, “we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” (Hebrews 13: 14 NIV). We are but outsiders and misfits on earth. We are not attached to the things of the world. Nor are we worried about our mortal bodies for, like Jesus, we too will enter the Heavenly sanctuary when we leave this earth.
Let us, then, confidently go outside with Jesus, to Jesus.
(This article was first published in my newsletter)
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