“Under the system of Jewish laws, the high priest brought the blood of animals into the Holy Place as a sacrifice for sin, but the bodies of the animals were burned outside the camp. So also Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates in order to make his people holy by shedding his own blood.
“So let us go out to him outside the camp and bear the disgrace he bore.”
Lots of seriously unpleasant things happened “outside the camp”…
- The bodies of animals sacrificed to God were burned (Exodus 29.14; Leviticus 4.12, 21)
- Moses chastised the people for their sins at the original tent of meeting (Exodus 33.1ff; Numbers 31.13ff)
- Lepers lived there alone (Leviticus 13.45f)
- People considered unclean due to sin or disease remained “outside the camp” for a prescribed period of time (Leviticus 14.3; Numbers 5.1ff; 12.1ff)
- Special offerings for sin were made (Numbers 19.1ff)
- Aliens were relegated to this place (Joshua 6.23)
- Ashes of sacrifices, animal carcasses, and garbage were deposited (Leviticus 6.11)
- Human sewage and excrement were buried (Deuteronomy 23.12f)
- Dead human bodies were left (Leviticus 10.4)
- Lawbreakers were executed (Leviticus 14.3; Numbers 5.1ff; 12.1ff)
“Outside the camp” is probably NOT one of the top 10 places to visit on your next trip to the Holy Land. Yet, that is exactly where we are commanded to go.
“So let us go out to him [Jesus] outside the
camp and bear the disgrace he bore.”
I don’t know the exact location of “outside the camp”, but I hear Him calling me there. I doubt it’s a comfortable, easy place to be. It probably does not smell nice there. I’ll bet the social outcasts of Calcutta were glad Mother Teresa willingly followed Jesus “outside the camp”.
Jesus, deliver me from clean, safe, nice, sterile, pleasant, antiseptic Christianity.
Garbage dump photo courtesy of http://www.hpsupplies.info/images/Lo-Landfill.jpg.