Friday, March 15, 2024

The Scapegoat: Jesus the Sin-Bearer

In the Scriptures, you will find many fascinating things that God required from the book of Leviticus. It involves the sacrifice of a Scapegoat. How did this animal become relevant to us today? Let us begin our study on this fascinating topic. John Barnett shared this insight:

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The scapegoat was guilty of nothing. But the High Priest, as it were, laid all the sins of the people on the scapegoat and sent him away. He was without sin. But sin was credited to His account as if He had personally committed it and then God punished Him though the fact is He never committed any of it. That’s imputation.”[1]

Moreover, Bible Study Tools Dictionary expounded:

When the priest laid Israel's guilt on the scapegoat, the goat was sent into the wilderness as a reminder that their sins went away out of the land where the people lived. I think of God casting our sins away in Micah 7:19. Because a scapegoat “carried away” the sins of the people, Jesus is often compared to being the Scapegoat of all believers.”[2]

The Scapegoat is an extraordinary depiction of the Messiah yet to come. The prophet Isaiah saw Him so clearly and inspired to pen the following:  

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, everyone, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5–6).

Upon seeing Jesus, John the Baptist uttered, look and "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 NASB) Jesus became the Scapegoat of Leviticus. In this position, He carried all our sins for our complete redemption. In doing so, Jesus gave us an abounding hope and an inexpressible joy when “…our sins are removed as far as the East is from the West” (Psalms 103:12). It happened when He became the “scapegoat” carrying the sins of the people at the Cross of Calvary.

Emma Danzey wrote in her article, “How Is Jesus Our Scapegoat Today?” shared:

Knowing that Jesus is our scapegoat frees us from the burden of having to go through a priest anymore. We no longer have the pressure to have a ceremony correctly to cover our sins, but we have the blood of Jesus over our lives.”[3]

God sent His Son Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb and a Scapegoat to complete His redemption plan for us.

J. Allan Peterson shared this story:

I read about a small boy who was consistently late coming home from school. His parents warned him one day that he must be home on time that afternoon, but nevertheless he arrived later than ever. His mother met him at the door and said nothing. At dinner that night, the boy looked at his plate. There was a slice of bread and a glass of water. He looked at his father’s full plate and then at his father, but his father remained silent. The boy was crushed. The father waited for the full impact to sink in, then quietly took the boy’s plate and placed it in front of himself. He took his own plate of meat and potatoes, put it in front of the boy, and smiled at his son. When that boy grew to be a man, he said, “All my life I’ve known what God is like by what my father did that night.”

Because of His great love for the fallen humanity, He sent Jesus as the Lamb of God and a Scapegoat for our redemption and salvation. What is remaining is our response to this great love. We can only reciprocate by recognizing our need for a Saviour and Lord. Therefore, may we respond to His call and not harden our hearts now. Securing our eternal status in Christ is of paramount importance. Remember, if we missed this opportunity, we only have ourselves to blame. Hear what Peter said to the crowd when asked:

Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37b-38 ESV).

It’s your turn now to do so.

Let’s talk again!