One of the most important things we as followers of Jesus Christ are to do is to “go and make disciples” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.” We’ve heard it said many times and yet when we look around us it seems that isn’t happening. Our world is divided, and there is a lot of hatred around us. There’s a sad reality that Christianity is no longer seen as the answer for peace and compassion in our country. So how do we change that? How do we as Christians find a better way of loving people?
In Hebrews chapter 13, the author uses an analogy to describe the great sacrifice of Jesus to us. It says this:
“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. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” -Hebrews 13:11-14
Before Jesus came to earth, the sacrifice of animals was necessary for the forgiveness of sin. And only the priest could bring the sacrifice to the Most Holy Place. He had to be “clean”. So when the Israelites were camped, the bodies were considered unclean and had to be burned away from camp. But here’s what the author shows us. Jesus stepped outside of this camp. He stepped out of the Most Holy Place, and he took on the lowliest of positions. He died as our sacrifice! He paid the price we owed. He made us holy.
And the author continues saying we should join him “outside the camp.” We are to join him in this mission to find those in the lowliest of places. He didn’t leave us where we were, He loved us while we were still sinners, in all of the mess this life has to offer. How comfortable are we in our church buildings? Are we so afraid of abandoning our comforts that we aren’t stepping outside the camp to love the unlovable?
We as the people of God need to be ready to step outside of our comfort zones and love people. That means seeing all the ugly, all the depravity, and all the brokenness that comes with it. What our desperate world needs is the great, all-encompassing love of Christ. And we are to leave camp and walk with God to show that love.
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” -Hebrews 13:15-16