So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 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. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Hebrews 13:12–17, ESV
Can you imagine this scenario? Your favorite musician is coming to town to play a concert. Tickets are a bit pricy, but this may be your only chance to see this renowned artist. So, you dig into your savings and buy the best seat in the house. Your excitement builds. The day comes. You head to the venue. You go in and … nobody. You are the only one at the concert. The band comes out and plays. They sound great. You clap and cheer alone. You come to realize quite quickly that you don’t just go to concerts to hear the music. You go to be part of the crowd.
There is a similar theme in Hebrews 13:12-14. We are told that Jesus went outside the gates of the city and suffered to make us God’s people. Because He suffered in a place of scorn, that is where we will have to go to be with Him. The world that put Him out of the city does not admire His followers. Instead of looking for a welcome in this world, we are to bear reproach with Christ and long for the eternal city where God’s people dwell in His presence. We are to “go to him outside the camp.”
There is something else to observe in the passage. Notice the community language. He sanctified “a people.” The command is “let us go.” We are told that “we have no lasting city.” “We seek the city that is to come.” And we do not seek a cabin in the woods. We seek a city, a place filled with people.
Coming to Jesus is to come to a community—the church. Thus, Hebrews 13:15-17 include community commands. We are to offer the unending “sacrifice of praise.” We are to sacrificially share. We are to submit to and obey leaders. As we come to Jesus is to share in His reproach, we are not alone. We come to Him and enter into a fellowship with other saints in a community of praise.
Be encouraged. You are not alone in Christ. As you continue to draw near to our crucified and risen Lord today, long for that city to come, and find true joy in Christian fellowship!
I am praying for you,