Hebrews 13:1-18: “Outside the Gate”
Read: Hebrews 13:1-18
If one could produce a list of similar to the 10 Commandments in the New Testament, Hebrews 13 could probably suffice. In this chapter, the author of Hebrews exhorts his readers with a number of commands to follow that are in line with Christian principles:
- Love one another (v1).
- Be hospitable to strangers (v2). You very well may be entertaining angels!
- Remember those in prison (v3). This is probably talking about those who had been imprisoned for the same of the gospel such as Paul and Timothy.
- Honor marriage (v4).
- Be free from the love of money (v5).
- Remember, obey and imitate your leaders (v7, v17).
- Stay true to the teachings of Jesus (v8-9)
- Pray for the author (18-19). Apparently, he had been sent away or taken away for some reason, perhaps imprisoned.
- Praise God with worship and service to others (v15-16)
In the midst of these commands, the author of Hebrews makes one final doctrinal point concerning the sacrifice of bulls that are made in the tabernacle. Part of the blood and parts of the bull were used as a sin sacrifice, but the rest of the body was taken outside the camp and burned. When Jesus made his sacrifice though, the entire sacrifice was made outside the camp – his blood along with his entire body. The location is key here, because Jesus was ultimately rejected by the religious establishment of his day. Nevertheless, it was through his sacrifice that people are sanctified. In light of this sacrifice, the author encourages his readers to offer “sacrifices” of praise to God and good deeds to others. These are the sorts of sacrifices pleasing to God anyways (Micah 6:7-8).
Christian ideas and principles aren’t always accepted in every culture in every time. Nevertheless, in the same manner Jesus suffered “outside the gate”, Christians ought to suffer scorn even when their ideas aren’t popular. But what awaits Christians when they meet Jesus face to face is of much greater value than anything that being accepted by the world can offer. Knowing this can help encourage Christians as they walk through life, keeping Christ’s commands and holding fast to the promises he has given.
Lord, you weren’t popular when you came, but you endured for my sake!
Help me to do no less for your sake!