Quest for Hope
The Scapegoat 2-19-16
Yesterday, our focus was on surrendering our weakness for Mercy’s Kiss—the power of Christ to conquer sin. Today, in our quest for hope, we will look at two covenant systems referred to in the bible: the old and the new and what makes them different. The old system involved outward cleansing ceremonies through the spilling of animal blood where only a priest could enter; it never brought a cleansing to the people’s conscience. The new system provides a personal Savior—the sacrificial Lamb and the Scapegoat—who enters and does a complete cleansing of the inner person. Someone say, “This is Grace!”
Hebrews 9:11-14 “So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that has come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.”
The Scapegoat is present in both covenant systems. In the old system, the High Priest conducts a sacred sacrificial ritual in the temple where only he can go; he sacrifices a young bull to atone for his sins and the sins of his family. Then, two goats are presented. Through the casting of lots (dice), one goat is selected to shed its blood in order to prepare and cleanse the Holy Place (the High Priest takes the blood of this goat and sprinkles it seven times on the horns of the altar in the Most Holy Place) and the other goat becomes the “scapegoat” or the one upon which all of the people will confess and confer their sins (this goat is brought out before the people and with the laying on of hands the High Priest will confess all the sins of God’s people). Then, this goat is taken into the wilderness where it is released; atonement is made and the sins of the people are taken away, again. This goes on year after year on the tenth day of the seventh month in the Jewish calendar: The Day of Atonement. The people would say, “It has been done!”
Around 33 AD the new covenant system became available. Jesus Christ our High Priest enters into the Most Holy Place; no more sacrifice is necessary. He gives his blood to cleanse our hearts and consciences and takes upon himself our sin, guilt, and shame so we can receive the Father’s forgiveness, mercy and grace. Religious outward rituals cannot cleanse us of our sin nor erase our guilt and shame; only upon faith in Christ entering our hearts and lives can we receive complete salvation. Now, Jesus says, “It is finished!” The people say, “Praise God!”
Prayer: Jesus and Loving Master, thank you for taking upon yourself my sin and cleansing my heart to be a holy place for your presence. I realize no religious ritual or good deed on my part can deliver me from evil or erase my sin from before the Father. Holy Spirit, continue to cleans my heart by helping me to quickly confess my sin to the Father, turn from it, and receive the power and grace to overcome it. I want to live worthy of the Holy Christ who lives in me; my hope is in your work, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.