Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. Then he shall take the two goats and set them before the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting.
Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. Thus he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins. And so he shall do for the tent of meeting, which dwells with them in the midst of their uncleannesses.
And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall present the live goat. And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins. And he shall put them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness. The goat shall bear all their iniquities on itself to a remote area, and he shall let the goat go free in the wilderness. Leviticus 16:6-7, 15-16, 20-22 ESV
But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. Hebrews 10:3-4, 12-14 ESV
Have you ever heard of a scapegoat? When there is trouble in a school, or a church, or a neighborhood, or some other community, sometimes people decide to blame all the problems on one person. This is usually terribly wrong, because most of the time everyone is a part of the sin and hurt that is making the trouble. But when one person is made a scapegoat, all the problems are blamed on this one person. Sometimes this person ends up leaving the community. When a church has problems, they might all be blamed on the pastor, or on some other person. That person might leave the church, but usually the problems continue. It’s really not possible for one ordinary person to take away all the sins of a group of people.
Sin is often a problem in a community, and for this reason there were more sacrifices made on the Day of Atonement for God’s people. After the priest offered the bull, he would also take two goats. One would be a sacrifice to God, but the other would be sent out to the desert. This second goat is often called the scapegoat. All the sins of the people would be put on this goat, and then it would be sent out into the wilderness, far away from the people. This showed that God would take all the people’s sins far away from them so that the sins wouldn’t hurt or trouble them anymore.
The two goats show how terrible sin is. One goat shows that we needed a Savior who would pay the price before our holy God for our sins. The other goat shows how much sin hurts us, and that we need a Savior who can take our sins away, out of our lives. When Jesus came for us, he did both of these things by dying on the cross and rising again. He paid the price for our sins, and he also took our sins away. No other person can do this, and the two goats couldn’t really do it. But Jesus did it all for us. What a wonderful Savior!
Dear Jesus, thank you for paying the price for my sins and taking them all away forever! Amen.