Altar, Part Two
Memorable Moments Hebrews
Hebrews 13:13-15 ESV
Leviticus 4:35 and 5:10 ESV
Hebrews 9:22 ESV
Genesis 3:21 ESV (Adam and Eve)
Genesis 8:20-21 ESV (Noah)
John 1:29 ESV
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 ESV
In this second section that refers to the altar the author urges the reader to move outside the camp.
In this moving section of text we are issued a personal invitation to be eternal partners with God in Christ.
Moving outside the camp means we stand with God, we listen for the voice of God, and we watch for the movement of the Spirit.
It means we respond.
Hebrews 13:13-15 says, “Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.”
The invitation ‘therefore let us go to him’ immediately follows the declaration that as the blood sacrifices of animals was for atonement of sin in days of old, the blood of Jesus under the new covenant is atonement.
The unstated invitation to go outside the camp like Jesus went outside the camp for the crucifixion sets the stage for us to understand what it means to partner with Jesus. The author makes it clear that as we move outside the camp that means moving outside the city to bear the cross. The author does not make promises that everything will be painless. Instead we are told as we move outside the camp (the protected zone) we will endure what Jesus endured.
As we remember the covenant of old (found in the Old Testament) the blood sacrifice was offered by the priest. The blood of the lamb was the blood of A lamb. The priest had specific instructions for the sacrifice. Those who witnessed the sacrifice were onlookers.
We read in Leviticus 4:35, “And all its fat he shall remove as the fat of the lamb is removed from the sacrifice of peace offerings, and the priest shall burn it on the altar, on top of the Lord's food offerings. And the priest shall make atonement for him for the sin which he has committed, and he shall be forgiven.”
We remember earlier in Hebrews 9:22 the writer explained, “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” The blood of the animal sacrifice purified their sin.
Even from the beginning an animal sacrifice provided a covering for Adam and Eve. In Genesis 3:21 we are told, “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.”
In Genesis 8:20-21 when Noah offered an animal sacrifice to the Lord we learn, “And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.”
The blood sacrifice was enticing and moved the heart of God.
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry we read in John 1:29 that John the Baptizer knew truth and proclaimed truth. “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
John knew that Jesus was the one.
In 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 Paul wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Jesus was the one who provided the sacrifice. Jesus offers a new creation in us. Jesus reconciled us with God by the shedding of His blood. Jesus makes it so our trespasses are forgiven. In Jesus we become the righteousness of God.
It’s a miracle.
Every time we turn to God seeking reconciliation we are forgiven by the blood of Jesus.
That is sacred.
As we revisit Hebrews 13:13-15, we are reminded our earthly home is temporary. That which we cannot see that is yet to come is our permanent home.
The writer of Hebrews encourages us to remember to offer our sacrifice by praising God.
Acknowledge the name above all names.
Remember the sacrifice.
Spiritual Practice: Remember Jesus
Remember what Jesus did for you. Remember turning to Jesus, or turn to Jesus today. Remember being forgiven and accepted and loved. Sit with God and be thankful.
In God, Deborah