1st March 2017
This week I have been reading Leviticus! It’s the third book in the Bible and part of the Old Testament. The name means ‘that which relates to the Levites’, as the majority of the book contains various instructions God gave to Moses on how to run the Tabernacle, their place of ‘worship’. The Levites were one of the 12 tribes, which God gave special duties in the Tabernacle. In Ch 16 God told Moses about a unique day, known as the ‘Day of Atonement’ which was to be an annual ceremony where the Israelites could be reconciled to God through sacrifice and the ‘removal’ of their sin. It was quite a complex procedure in which various animals had to be sacrificed(!) by the chief priest Aaron (Moses brother). A live goat was also involved in the process, God said...
He (Aaron) will put both his hands on the head of the living goat, and he will confess over it all the sins and crimes of Israel. In this way Aaron will put the people’s sins on the goat’s head. Then he will send the goat away into the desert, and a man who has been appointed will lead the goat away. So the goat will carry on itself all the people’s sins to a lonely place in the desert. The man who leads the goat will let it loose there. Lev 16:21-22 The NCV Bible
I’ve often wondered about this goat! This is the scapegoat. It had a year of sin from the whole nation of Israel dumped on it then it was sent off. But the animal was still alive and could roam wherever it wanted, still carrying the ‘sin’. This would have continued for years and years, all this ‘sin’ still be carried around by some poor goats! However all this was to change! When Jesus came, he did something better than the scapegoat. When Jesus was crucified on the cross he did not took a years’ worth of Israel’s, but ALL the sin for ALL humanity for ALL time upon himself. He not only took it all upon himself but he died, as a great ‘sacrifice’ killing all that sin with him. It’s gone, no more, dead! Jesus has dealt with it once and for all! Jesus...better than a scapegoat!
Gary Bastin - TC church leader