In Hebrews 13:11-14 we see: “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. Let us, then, go to Him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace He bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.”
Going outside the camp–what does that mean?
There’s the saying “think outside the box” that’s become commonplace. In John 10:16 Jesus said “I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must go and bring them in also.” His mind and eyes were always looking out, not in. He wants us to think outside of the fold and outside of the camp. Our eyes are to be not on ourselves, our agenda, our spiritual entertainment–but instead on God’s kingdom and the people He has His eyes on.
When Jesus, the great High Priest, went outside the city to bear disgrace and our sins, He wasn’t focused on upward mobility, climbing the ladder to success, or living the American dream. His status was the opposite and obscure almost. Same call to us. Don’t wait for people to come to us, but we go out to them. And the call is to downward mobility, an uncomfortable life and mixing it up with the poor and needy.
What does that mean in every day terms?
I suppose it means that we go looking for ways to connect with people. Some might not look poor and needy on the outside but they are on the inside. They might not have anyone that listens to them or goes beyond the surface or has the spiritual eyes to see and to probe into the deeper heart issues. Some do look poor and needy and we can’t miss them.
If I set about on my day with the idea that I’m going to minister to someone today in Jesus’ name, I probably would need to ask God to give me His ears and eyes. Plus, His energy and power and wisdom and resources. Sometimes I just don’t want to listen to others. I don’t ask them how they’re doing because I’m busy with my ‘to do’ list. We get so busy finding people to listen to us that we aren’t busy finding people to listen to. To ask deeper questions related to their lives because we’ve taken the time to get to know them, like “how’s your son doing now that he’s gone off to college?” or “do you find your job satisfying?” or even “if you did win the lottery, what would you do?” And then, with God’s wisdom and words, begin to share what meaning can be found with a spiritual perspective.
We communicate more than we ever have with e mails, texts, Facebook and Tweets, but we say less than we ever have. People go out to eat together and they’re texting and on their Smart Phones and no none is with each other while they’re sitting together.
Then there are those who need us because they just don’t have physical resources. Their lives are messed up, they don’t have jobs, decent places to live, they’ve gotten addicted to drugs or alcohol and they don’t have a family structure that would help to right the ship. We can judge and say they’ve gotten there by their choices so they can get out with their choices. But unless they have an encounter with a Christian or Jesus Himself, they are living the way they are because they don’t know another way to live. Until we tell them. Until we engage with them. Until we go outside the camp to get them, bearing the shame and disgrace.
That’s what stores us eternal savings in our enduring city. This world is not our home and we aren’t going to take the things here into eternity. But the things we do here do go on ahead of us and get placed into that enduring city when it’s done in Jesus’ name and for His kingdom’s sake.
Who can you connect with today? How can you go outside the camp with Jesus?