The Significance of Jesus Dying Outside of the Camp – Charles Spurgeon

“And it is remarkable that the Romans should have chosen a hill on the outside of the city to be the common place for crucifixion made for punishments by death. We might have imagined that they would have selected some mount in the center of the city, and that they would have placed their gibbet in as conspicuous a spot as our Newgate, that so it might strike the multitude with the greater awe. But, in the providence of God, it was arranged otherwise. Christ must not be slain in a tumult, he might not die in the city; and when he was delivered into the hands of the Romans, they had not a place of execution within the city, but one outside the camp, that by dying without the gate, he might be proved to be the Sin-offering for his people.

Concerning this great truth, I have one or two remarks to offer to you very briefly. First, I want to ask you a question. Do you know who the people were who lived outside the gate? If you could have gone to ‘the great camp of Israel, you would have seen the tents all placed in order, the standard of Dan there, of Judah there, of Ephraim there,—surrounding the ark of the covenant; but you would have seen a few wretched huts far away in the rear, outside the camp; and if you had asked, “Who lives, there? Who are the poor people that are put away from kith and kin, and who cannot go up to the sanctuary of the Lord, to present their offerings unto him, or to join in the songs of praise unto his holy name?”—the answer to your enquiry would have been, “The people out there are lepers and others “who are unclean.” And if, in later days, you had walked through some of the shady glens around the city of Jerusalem, you might, have heard in the distance, the cry, “Unclean! unclean! unclean!”—a bitter wail that sounded like the sighing of despair, as if it came from some poor ghost that had been commanded to walk this earth with restless step for ever. Had you come nearer to the unhappy being, who had uttered so mournful a sound, you would have seen him cover his upper lip, and again, cry, “Unclean! unclean! unclean!—to warn you

not to come too near him, lest even the wind should blow infection towards you from his leprous skin. If, for a minute, he had moved his hand from his mouth, you would have seen, instead of those scarlet, ruddy lips of health, which God had originally put there, a terrible, white mark not to be distinguished from his teeth. His lips were unclean, for there the leprosy had discovered itself; and, in a minute, he would have again covered up that lip that had the white mark of disease upon it, and again he would have cried. “Unclean! unclean! Unclean!” Of whom was that leper a type? He was a picture of you and me, my brethren, in our natural state; and if the Holy Spirit hath quickened us, and made us to know our ruined condition, we shall feel that the leper’s cry doth well become our unholy lips.

Leper, leper! be of good cheer; Christ died without, the camp, that thou mightest be sanctified through his blood. I see the leper now stealing through the desert places, not daring to sip of the clear stream that lies in his track, lest he should communicate contagion to the next person who drinks from it; but seeking out some filthy puddle, that there he may satisfy his thirst, where no others are likely to drink. I see him covering up his lip. If his father met him, he must run away from him; if the wife of his bosom saw him, she must shun his presence, for a loathsome disease is in his skin, and in his gay merits; and in the very breath that comes from his lips there is death. Well, suddenly, as he steals along, he sees a cross, and on it lifted up One who is dying. He standeth there astonished; he thinketh that surely he may come near to a dying man, leper though he be; to the living, he must not approach, but to the dying he cannot bring a new death. So he draweth nigh to the cross, and the lips of the dying man are opened, and he says, “Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Oh; what joy and rapture, rush through his poor leprous spirit! How his heart, that had long been heavy, and baked like a black coal within him, begins again to burn with lambent light! He smiles, for he feels that that, marvellous Man upon the cross has forgiven him all his sins; and ere he has begun to feel it, his leprosy is cleansed, and soon, he goes his way, for his flesh has come unto him like unto the flesh of a little child, and he is clean. O leprous sinner hear this, and believe it for thyself! To-night look unto him who died without the camp, that poor unclean sinners might find a Savior there.” – Charles Spurgeon

2 Responses to “The Significance of Jesus Dying Outside of the Camp – Charles Spurgeon”

  1. Such a powerful picture! How wonderful that we can be forgiven and renewed even in all our filth. What a loving Saviour we have!

  2. Woe unto me!

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