That he might sanctify the people - That he might consecrate them to God, and make an atonement for their sins, he suffered without the gate at Jerusalem, as the sin-offering was consumed without the camp when the tabernacle abode in the wilderness. Perhaps all this was typical of the abolition of the Jewish sacrifices, and the termination of the whole Levitical system of worship. He left the city, denounced its final destruction, and abandoned it to its fate; and suffered without the gate to bring the Gentiles to God.
Wherefore, Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood - That there might be a conformity between his death for sin and the sacrifices which typified it. It is implied here that it was voluntary on the part of Jesus that he suffered out of the city; that is, it was so ordered by Providence that it should be so. This was secured by his being put to death as the result of a judicial trial, and not by popular tumult; see the notes on Isaiah 53:8. If he had been killed in a tumult, it is possible that it might have been done as in other cases (compare the case of Zacharias son of Barachias, Matthew 23:35), even at the altar. As he was subjected, however, to a judicial process, his death was effected with more deliberation, and in the usual form. Hence, he was conducted out of the city, because no criminal was executed within the walls of Jerusalem.
Without the gate - Without the gate of Jerusalem; John 19:17-18. The place where he was put to death was called Golgotha, the place of a skull, and hence, the Latin word which we commonly use in speaking of it, Calvary, Luke 23:33; compare notes on Matthew 27:33. Calvary, as it is now shown, is within the walls of Jerusalem, but there is no reason to believe that this is the place where the Lord Jesus was crucified, for that was outside of the walls of the city. The precise direction from the city is not designated by the sacred writers, nor are there any historical records, or traditional marks by which it can now be known where the exact place was. All that we know on the subject from the New Testament is, that the name was Golgotha; that the place of the crucifixion and sepulchre were near each other; that they were without the gate and nigh to the city, and that they were in a frequented spot; John 19:20. “This would favor the conclusion that the place was probably upon a great road leading from one of the gates: and such a spot would only be found upon the western or northern sides of the city, on the roads leading toward Joppa or Damascus.” See the question about the place of the crucifixion examined at length in Robinson‘s Bibli. Research., vol. ii. pp. 69-80, and Bibliotheca Sacra, No. 1.
Yet this glorious Being loved the poor sinner and took upon Himself the form of a servant, that He might suffer and die in man's behalf. Jesus might have remained at His Father's right hand, wearing His kingly crown and royal robes. But He chose to exchange all the riches, honor, and glory of heaven for the poverty of humanity, and His station of high command for the horrors of Gethsemane and the humiliation and agony of Calvary. He became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, that by His baptism of suffering and blood He might purify and redeem a guilty world. “Lo, I come,” was the joyful assent, “to do Thy will, O My God.” 4T 121.1
The sacrificial heifer was conducted without the camp and slain in the most imposing manner. Thus Christ suffered without the gates of Jerusalem, for Calvary was outside the city walls. This was to show that Christ did not die for the Hebrews alone, but for all mankind. He proclaims to a fallen world that He has come to be their Redeemer and urges them to accept the salvation He offers them. The heifer having been slain in a most solemn manner, the priest, clothed in pure white garments, took the blood in his hands as it issued from the body of the victim and cast it toward the temple seven times. “And having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” 4T 121.2
The body of the heifer was burned to ashes, which signified a whole and ample sacrifice. The ashes were then gathered up by a person uncontaminated by contact with the dead and placed in a vessel containing water from a running stream. This clean and pure person then took a cedar stick with scarlet cloth and a bunch of hyssop, and sprinkled the contents of the vessel upon the tent and the people assembled. This ceremony was repeated several times in order to be thorough and was done as a purification from sin. 4T 121.3Read in context »