The Scape Goat

Scripture: Leviticus 16:21, ‘He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task.’


Observations: In this chapter God gives instructions for the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), where every year on the 10th day of the 7th month (v29), the high priest is to make atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tabernacle, the altar, for all the priests, and all the people (v33). This involves sacrificing a bull for his own sins, a goat for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. But unique to this day was the ‘scape goat.’ The high priest would ‘lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites.’ And then he would send the goat away into the desert. This symbolized how the sins of God’s people were sent away and no longer stood between them and God. Isaiah refers to this idea when he talks about how God would lay our sins on his servant (Isa 53:5-6). This was fulfilled in Jesus Christ who bore our sins on the cross. Jesus is our scape goat who takes our sins and removes them from us so that they no longer stand between us and God.


Application: Our sins aren’t automatically transferred to Jesus. Like the high priest had to lay his hands on the goats head, so we have to put our faith in Jesus Christ. It’s only by faith that our sins are transferred to Jesus and Jesus’ perfect righteousness is transferred to us. Do you believe that Jesus has removed your sins on the cross? Is Jesus your scape goat? That once-for-all-time transference means that you have been forever set free. Such a gift should result in a life of worship and praise to our gracious God and His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, like You provided a scape goat for Your people in the Old Testament, so You have given me Your own Son who has taken away my sin so that I can approach You with confidence and full assurance of forgiveness. Lord, You have poured out Your grace so that I may be set free to love and worship You. Lord, may I always be grateful for the new life that I have been given. Help me to praise You always and thank You continually. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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