Hebrews 13:15 “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise.”
“Therefore” tells us that this is a conclusion, a response, the logical result of what comes before.
What was that? In the preceding verses, the inspired writer draws a comparison between Jesus’ sacrifice for us and the sacrifices offered on the Great Day of Atonement. The blood of the animals sacrificed was used in the ceremonies of the tabernacle, but the bodies were taken outside the camp to be burned. Things that God commanded be taken outside the camp were unclean. There was a distance between such things and God’s people, an end to contact between them. God’s people wanted nothing to do with such things anymore.
When Jesus, our sacrifice for sin, was crucified, he also suffered “outside the camp,” outside the city. His body was treated like the bodies of those sacrifices on the Great Day of Atonement. He was regarded as unclean. The people wanted nothing to do with him anymore. Among all the other indignities he suffered in paying for our sins, there was also this disgrace. It may not have been the greatest insult he suffered, the most intense pain that he endured. But it is surely another example of the great extent of his love for us. That our God should let himself be treated so–as someone so unclean, so lowly, a reject to be gotten rid of–this is one more way in which he demonstrates the depth of his grace. He would not let such humiliation and rejection prevent him from cleansing us from our sins. How dearly he must love us!
Nor are such examples of his great patience with us missing from any other era of his life. We may wax sentimental about the manger scenes with which we decorate our homes. The scene looks warm and inviting–to us! There was nothing warm and inviting about it for our Savior. It has more to do with humiliation and rejection for him. No one would make room for him and his parents. He was relegated to a place among the animals. Still, he was not so great, so high, so proud that he refused to humble himself this way. If this was what it took to save us, so be it. He would suffer worse things on the way to his mission’s end.
What does this have to do the words of Hebrews 13? “Therefore.” “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise…” What we offer God is not something we initiate on our own. It is not a way by which we hope to convince him to love us. It is not a bribe that will move him accept us and give us heaven. No, it is our response. We are merely responding to God and what he has done. He initiated any service we offer. His love convinced us to love him, not the other way around. He has already accepted us and given us heaven, and thus our service is born of salvation.
Let us not miss the sacrifice and love that ever lead to our “therefore.”