April 10, 2011

The Scapegoat

2 Corinthians 5:16-21

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21


In the Old Testament there was a solemn Day of Atonement each year for the sin of all God’s people. On that day, just once each year, the high priest of Israel was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place of the temple, where God’s presence dwelled. Before he did that, the priest had to sacrifice a bull and a goat so that he could sprinkle their blood inside the Most Holy Place as a symbol of atonement for sin.

Then the high priest would come out and place his hands on the head of a live goat, and he would confess over this animal all the rebellion and sin of the people. This goat, called the scapegoat, would carry upon itself all the sins of the people. It would be led away to be released in the wilderness—banished to die in a remote place alone. (See Leviticus 16.)

As our Savior who took upon himself the burden of all our sins, Jesus became our scapegoat. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us.” When this happened on the cross, God turned away from his Son, meaning that the full punishment for sin was upon him.

As Christ took on the full weight of this unimaginable burden, he cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Jesus bore this burden, once for all of us, so that we would not have to face the horror of being forsaken by God. What a Savior!

Father, thank you that Jesus takes away all our sin. Thank you that he tasted hell for me, so that I will not have to. In his powerful name, Amen.

About the author — Shawn Brix

Rev. Shawn Brix has served as pastor in several Ontario churches. He and his wife, Jenny, have three children.

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