Listen to this devotional:
Hebrews 13:12-13 – And so 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, bearing the disgrace He bore. (NIV)
On a tour of Jerusalem recently, I was made aware of the controversy over the location of Jesus' tomb. Since the early centuries, it has been claimed that the location of the church of the Holy Sepulchre covers the spot where Jesus was crucified. The split in the rock from the earthquake that occurred that day is even shown. This area was outside the city gate at the time of Jesus' death, but was taken into the city in the second century.
There is also an area outside the city gates with a tomb in a garden and a hill with a rock formation resembling a skull that is shown to tourists. It looks exactly like many of us have always envisioned it in our minds.
Whichever spot one chooses to accept as being the actual site, the main thought in every Christian's mind is that Jesus went outside the city gate, or outside the existing system of His day, to bring a new belief system that would bring salvation to all who accept and believe in Him. He spilled His blood on the cross, freeing us from flesh sacrifices, and offers us forgiveness by faith in Him.
Hebrews 13:15 – Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of the lips that confess his name. (NIV)
It doesn't really matter which spot is the exact one where Jesus died and was buried. What matters is that He rose again, showing us the way to a new life through believing in Him. This truth should be sufficient to make us want to offer our sacrifice of praise for the new life He has given to us.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the gift of Your Son who died outside the city gates for our sins. Thank You that He arose from the grave, showing us the way to a new life, paid for in full by His spilled blood on the cross for us. May we continually praise His holy name. Amen.