Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the Lord and sacrifice it for a sin offering. But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat. Leviticus 16:9-10
The burnt offering, the grain offering, the fellowship offering, the sin offering, the guilt offering…..the purification after childbirth, regulations about infectious skin diseases, regulations about mildew, cleansing from infectious skin diseases, discharges causing uncleanness. What?! You guessed it; I am reading the book of Leviticus. Twenty-seven chapters of rules, regulations, definition, lions and tigers and bears, oh my! This morning as I spent another day dragging through the text, I decided to sit on my deck and pray, Lord, show me something in here that I can apply to my life, help me find Jesus. And guess what? He answered.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. “ “Wait,” you say. “That’s not in Leviticus.” And I would tell you that you are correct, it is 2 Corinthians 5:21. That’s what I saw in the above referenced verse. After all of these chapters about sin and disease, clean and unclean, purification and regulation, God reminded me that Jesus is our scapegoat. Leviticus 16 tells us the priest must bring two goats as an offering . He would choose one to kill as penalty of sin and the other would be sent away in token of the remission of sin. They called the later a scapegoat. Regardless, both goats were sacrificed but in different context. Today we still use that term “scapegoat”. Dictionary.com defines scapegoat as “a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place.” That is exactly what Jesus did for me! The goats didn’t do anything wrong but they paid the price for the sin of their owner, a sin sacrifice. Thankfully today every time I sin I don’t have to find my local priest and slaughter a goat. Can you imagine how many dead animals would be lying around these days? Now, I know I am being very general and silly in my interpretation and I apologize. According to Leviticus 16 this sacrifice was required of Aaron as a priest on the Day of Atonement for himself and his household and included additional animal sacrifices and rituals, which were very serious.
My point is this: I found Jesus in Leviticus! In the midst of the most (forgive me for saying) legalistic section of scripture full of rules and rituals, I found Jesus! There is not one part of the Bible that I should “skip” or feel is unimportant or irrelevant to me today. “Jesus is the same yesterday today and forever”, Hebrews 13:8. Where in your life do you need to look for Jesus? Is it in the midst of pain and trial? He is there. Is it among chaos and calamity? He is there. Is it in boredom and mediocrity? He is there. I am rejoicing today because “I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy,” Psalm 116:1.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2