“He shall carry the bull outside the camp and burn it up as he burned the first bull; it is the sin offering for the assembly.” “He is a leprous man, he is unclean. The priest must pronounce him unclean. The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.” “Bring out of the camp the one who cursed, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him.” “They put him in custody, because it had not been made clear what should be done to him. And the Lord said to Moses, ‘The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.’ And all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, as the Lord commanded Moses.” Leviticus 4:21; 13:44-46; 24:13-14; Numbers 15:34-36
“For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 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.” Hebrews 13:11-13
Inside the camp was belonging, identity with God’s people, communion. Outside the camp were the burned sacrifices for sin, the unclean, the criminals, shame and isolation and punishment. In the Old Testament, banishment outside the camp was a cruel curse for the banished and corrupt, a protection for God’s people inside.
Then came our Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The Perfect Insider became the perfect sacrifice. The sinless One bore our sins on the cross. He took in Himself our curse and punishment. He walked the road outside the camp to be crucified so we could be let in and secure forever. Curse for cleansing, penalty for forgiveness, death for life. What a Savior! (Isaiah 53:4-6; Matthew 27:32-33; John 1:29; Galatians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:24)
What shame do I carry? Jesus carried it to Calvary. What sins burden, what guilt nags and eats away at inner peace? He finished their curse on the cross. What relationships are scarred by isolation, bitterness, misconception or misunderstanding? Where do I feel cast out? Our Redeemer was broken that we might be healed, restored, and unified. When we meet Him outside the camp and bow under the cleansing blood, He begins His glorious work of sanctification in every crevice. (John 17:11; 19:30; Hebrews 12:2)
“When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.” ~Isaac Watts (1707)
My Lord and Great High Priest, get me up and willing to join You outside the world’s camp, and bring others to Your Cross.