The Outsider of All Outsiders
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.
- Hebrews 13:12-13
About three thousand five hundred years ago God created a sacrificial system to help people a picture of how he would deal with sin. On the Day of Atonement, two goats were chosen. One was killed and its blood spilled. The other was sent outside the camp into the wilderness as a scapegoat (“But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat.” Leviticus 16:9). Jesus fulfilled both - his blood was shed, he was sent outside the camp.
One of the crucial images that the writer of Hebrews brings up is that Jesus suffered “outside the city gate” to show solidarity with all the outsiders, to rescue those who couldn’t handle their own sin, those who didn’t fit in, those who were considered “unclean” or unworthy. Jesus was an outsider for us. To take on our sin. To meet us where we’re still messy. To connect with us where we’ve been exiled, either by ourselves or by others. Jesus, the companion to the broken, the friend of the oppressed, the healer of the sick, and the hope of the sinner.
What parts of yourself and others do you think of as less presentable? What/who do you try to exclude and ‘put outside’? Jesus came for those parts of you and others. What parts of you and others have been excluded by the systems of power and injustice in this world? Name these things to Jesus. “Go to him outside the camp” as Hebrews 13:13 says, and spend time with him in his suffering and let him bring healing to you and to our world.