"For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come."
It seems that most of us have some place in our past that we fondly think of as home. Usually, it is where we lived in the impressionable years of our lives. When I think back about growing up, I remember a little neighborhood in Stockbridge, Georgia, where I spent several years of my life. To this day I can remember each of my neighbors names, hearing the train coming down the tracks at the bottom of the hill, riding go-karts with my friend Paul, and climbing to the top of the tree that stood between ours and our neighbor's drive way. The yard was the perfect size for a baseball game, the streets were quiet enough to ride our bikes and pretend that we were Ponch and John from CHIPS (might have to explain that to the kids), and the basketball goal at the end of the drive way was used quite regularly. In my mind this will always be "home". However, at age 15 or so we moved away from that house, and I haven't lived any where near their in 23 years. It is full of good memories, but it is not a permanent dwelling place.
The writer of Hebrews understands this sentiment. He explains in verse 12 that Jesus suffered outside the gate. A crucifixion or even a stoning was never done outside the city gate. It was a picture of the fact that the person being executed was not a part of that city any more. They were truly an outcast. Their name was to never even be discussed again, because they were a shame to the whole of society. When you study the life of Jesus, you read that He never even had a place to lay His head. When He went back home to minister, they only could see Him as the son of Joseph the carpenter. Because of their lack of faith, He could not do mighty works even in His hometown. Through His love for His people (Israel), Jesus Christ came. John tells us however that He came to His own but they would not receive Him. They completely rejected Jesus as the Messiah. They hated the One that came to them so much that they said He was possessed by the devil, that He was a blasphemer, and that He was only worthy of death. To this day there is no celebration of Jesus as the Messiah in His hometown. He is still despised and rejected of men. However, there is a home for the Savior in the eternal abode of Heaven.
One of the greatest identifications that we could and should make with Jesus is that we are not home yet either. This world is not our home. Jesus told His disciples in John 14 that He was going to prepare a place for us. The writer of Hebrews was saying that we shouldn't get too comfortable here. What comforts does this world have for us that even begin to compare with the glory that will be revealed to us for eternity? The world has nothing of lasting benefit for the child of God. It is missing the one thing that makes life worth living, our Savior.
May you look forward to the joy of going home!