Feb. 24 Scapegoat

Leviticus 15:1-16:28;  Mark 7:1-23;  Psalm 40:11-17;  Proverbs 10:13-14

Once a year the Israelites celebrated the Day of Atonement.  Think Sin Spring Cleaning Day.  Everything was to be made pure, from the bodies of the priests to the garments of the animal handlers, all so that the atoning sacrifice of bulls and goats might be made.  The shedding and sprinkling of the sacrificial blood in special ways in special places fulfilled God’s demands for purity.

(It seems ironic to me that blood would be considered a special cleanser–I struggle to get blood stains out of my clothes–sometimes the blood is so set in that it can’t be removed and I end up tossing that piece of clothing into the rag bin.)

Talking about the blood of Jesus and it’s ability to cleanse sins seems ironic too–especially when we think to ourselves–

‘I’m not unclean….I haven’t killed anyone…I don’t drink or do drugs…I do good deeds…’

But Jesus knows—He even said, “what comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean’.  For from within, out of men’s hearts comes evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.  All of these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean’.  Mk. 7:20-23

God knew we NEEDED a scapegoat.

After the sacrifices on Atonement day were completed, the Israelites watched as the designated scapegoat trotted away from their camp.  They knew the high priest had ‘laid both hands on the head of the live goat and confessed over it ALL the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites–all their sins–and put them on the goat’s head.  The goat would carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place”–far, far from them.

Lord God,  thank you for Your Son, Jesus, my Savior, who took all my sins upon Him and shed his blood on the cross.  He was my scapegoat sent by You.

“All we, like sheep, have gone astray;  we have turned–every one– to his own way;  and the Lord has laid on him the iniquities of us all.” Isaiah 53:6

Glory be to Jesus, who in bitter painsPoured for me His lifeblood from His sacred veins. (Italian, 18th Cent.)

Amen

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