For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. (Hebrews 13:11-13)
We Must Bear His Reproach
The Hebrew writer uses vivid language to describe the sacrifice of Jesus with comparisons of the Law of Moses. As He closes his appeal to the Hebrew Christians to maintain their faith in God, he reminds them of the great sacrifice of Jesus when He bore the sins of the world outside the city of Jerusalem. It was neither mistake nor a coincidence that Jesus was taken to Golgotha to die as a lamb to the slaughter. The location cannot be ascertained today but one thing we know is that it was outside the city. Under the Law of Moses, the sin offering was taken outside the camp and destroyed. Jesus would become the sin offering for all men accomplishing this by His sacrifice outside the gate of the city.
As a child of God, I am to bear the same reproach Jesus exemplified as He was taken outside the city as a sacrifice. Albert Barnes makes this observation of the text. “As if we were going forth with him when he was led away to be crucified. He was put to death as a malefactor. He was the object of contempt and scorn. He was held up to derision, and was taunted and reviled on his way to the place of death, and even on the cross. To be identified with him there; to follow him; to sympathize with him; to be regarded as his friend, would have subjected one to similar shame and reproach. The meaning here is, that we should be willing to regard ourselves as identified with the Lord Jesus, and to bear the same shame and reproaches which he did. When he was led away amidst scoffing and reviling to be put to death, would we, if we had been there, been willing to be regarded as his followers, and to have gone out with him as his avowed disciples and friends? Alas, how many are there who profess to love him when religion subjects them to no reproach, who would have shrunk from following him to Calvary!”
Jesus taught His followers that to be His disciple they would have to bear a cross. The language shows the severe test of discipleship likened to someone who is being crucified. Before a man is crucified, he is scourged. A heavy piece of wood is placed upon his shoulders as he bears his cross to the appointed place of death. Taken the condemned outside the city, death is final. The life of a Christian is a cross-bearing experience of sacrifice and devotion to the Father. We bear the reproach of Christ because we follow in His footsteps. His path leads to the cross. Our lives share in the reproach of the innocent one who died for us. As Barnes said previously, we are willing to identify with Jesus as the crucified one. Our life is forfeit for the cause of Christ. Bearing His reproach is the manner we show our life to the heavenly Father as one of absolute love and sacrifice. Let us go forth to Him – so we can receive the same glory He shares with His Father.