Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Hebrews 13:12-17
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Hebrews 13:12
Verse 12 (continued): When the importance of a sin-offering reached a certain level (priests, congregation, Day of Atonement) the animal’s blood was brought into the tabernacle and its carcass, after certain organs were removed and offered by fire, was carried to “a clean place outside the camp where the ashes are poured out” (Lev 4:12). There the priests were to “burn it on wood with fire…” (Lev 4:12) until it was completely reduced to ashes. Why this had to be done outside the camp is not stated. In most cases when people or objects were removed from the camp it was because they were contaminated with sin or disease, or had come into contact with something dead (Lev 13:46; Nu 5:1-4; 15:35, 36). Their removal meant they were unclean, or contagious or condemned. But in this case the carcass is burned in a “clean” place which means it remained “holy” even though guilt for people’s sin had been imparted to it by laying on of hands (Lev 4:4, 15, 24, 29, 33; 16:21, 22). And the priests were not allowed to eat any of it (Lev 6:30) because it belonged to God alone. All of which produces a mysterious combination of sin and holiness which points prophetically forward to the moment when the sinless Son of God became our sin-offering.

Monday: Hebrews 13:12
Verse 12 (continued): Jesus was crucified outside the city gates (Jn 19:17-20). He had been judged by Israel’s religious leaders to be a criminal—a blasphemer who dared call Himself the divine Son of God (Lk 22:66-71). The Roman governor carried out the death sentence and it was the Roman custom to crucify people in highly visible locations, often beside main roads or outside city gates (Jn 19:17-20). In this way the gory sight sowed fear into the hearts of the largest number of people. From a Jewish perspective it was also important to execute criminals outside the city because contact with a dead body contaminated both people and place (Nu 19:1-22).

Tuesday: Hebrews 13:12, 13
Verse 12 (continued): Even the manner in which Jesus was killed added to the shame of His death. He was crucified, which involved being “hung on a tree,” and according to the Law of Moses, this meant He was cursed by God Himself (Gal 3:13; Dt 21:22, 23). So when Jesus was led outside the city walls to be crucified (Mk 15:20-22) He was not just being put to death, He was being spiritually rejected, in the most profound sense, by the Jewish leaders and the Law of Moses. Verse 13: Because of this there is no escaping the implications of Jesus’ disgraceful death. It’s a fact that doesn’t go away and therefore forces every generation to decide whether His death “outside the camp” (v 11) took place because He bore our sin or His own (Heb 1:3; 9:14; Col 2:13, 14; 2Co 5:21; Titus 2:14; Isa 53:3-12). This is what makes the author’s plea so powerful. To ask his readers to “go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach (insults)” was to ask them to embrace the same rejection Jesus faced. It meant they too would be rejected by Israel’s spiritual leaders. They too would be placed “outside the camp”—cut off from their people and considered blasphemers.

Wednesday: Hebrews 13:14
Verse 14: And yet if Jesus is the Messiah, the rewards for sharing His sufferings are eternal (Heb 11:26). The “lasting city” to which the author refers is of course, the “heavenly Jerusalem” he described earlier (12:22). It is the eternal dwelling place where believers will experience perfect fellowship with God (12:23) and His Son Jesus (12:24). Like Abraham (11:10, 16) and Moses (11:24-26) they must seek the “riches” God promises to give them rather than the world’s riches (Mt 6:19-21; 19:21). It’s a costly choice, but those with eyes of faith will recognize that “…here we do not have a lasting city, but we seek the one which is to come” (literal).

Thursday: Hebrews 13:15
Verse 15: How should believers respond to the fact that God has sent His Son to be our ultimate sin-offering? The author says the first thing we should do is thank Him by presenting a peace-offering. The term he uses here, which means “sacrifice of praise,” is also used in Leviticus 7:12 (7:2 in the Septuagint) where it describes a peace-offering presented to give thanks to God. Peace-offerings were intended to express thanks for some saving act which God had performed or to make a vow or to express fellowship with God by being His guest at a symbolic “meal” with Him (Lev 3:1-17; 7:11-38). But the author does not want his readers to literally go to the temple and there present an offering. Rather he wants them to thank God by continuing to confess His Son’s name. The “sacrifice of praise” God wants is the “fruit of lips (Hos 14:2) confessing His (Jesus’) name” (literal).

Friday: Hebrews 13:16, 17
Verse 16: In addition to confessing Christ, the author adds another “sacrifice” by which his readers can give thanks to God. He tells them to be financially generous by both giving to the poor in general (lit: “doing good”; Mk 14:7) and by contributing to the support of impoverished believers (lit: “Kononia”; 2Co 9:12, 13; Heb 10:33), “for with such sacrifices God is well-pleased.” Verse 17: In verse seven of this chapter the author told his readers to imitate the faith of the apostolic leaders who first spoke the word of God to them. But in this verse he urges them to obey their present generation of leaders. He tells them “the ones leading you” have been charged by God to sleeplessly watch over your souls and will render to Him an account of their faithfulness on the day of judgment. He wants them to quit fighting or ignoring their leaders—to listen to their teaching and submit to their authority.

Saturday: Hebrews 13:17
Verse 17 (continued): Obviously, he believes those leading the churches at that time were attempting to teach sound doctrine and were spiritually healthy people because otherwise he would not have said this. And yet, we need only look back over the Book of Hebrews to recognize that many in the churches were no longer listening to their teachers. So trying to lead such people had become an increasingly heavy task. Leaders were losing their “joy” and had begun “groaning.” Caring for people who refuse to be taught and are unsubmitted brings sorrow. The struggle and disappointment drains away the energy needed to do effective ministry, “for this would be unprofitable for you.”

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