Lent Devotional: Leviticus 16:15-22
by Jonathan Haefs
Leviticus 16:15-22 (click here)
“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.”
“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.” (Leviticus 16:15 and 21)
The day of atonement.
The high-holy day that came once a year for the people of Israel. This was the day when all the sins of the people from the past year would be dealt with through propitiation and done away with through expiation.
There were two goats used in the main sacrificial ceremony of this day. Once was sacrificed on behalf of the people. The rightful punishment for sin, death, was placed upon this substituted and the righteous wrath of God toward sin was propitiated.
The second goat lived, but was kicked out of camp. Symbolically carrying away the sins of the people into the wilderness… never to return. Their sins had been expiated.
However, the day of atonement had to happen again… the next year… and the next year… and the next year. It was never final. Why? “Because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:4)
A goat could never actually represent the people of God. A human can only represent humans. But in order for our the penalty of the peoples sin to be paid by this substitute… you would need a human with no sin of their own! The only one with no sin of their own is God himself!
God alone can pay the price for our sin, but humans alone deserve to pay it! We need a God-man! We need Jesus!
“And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never 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” (Hebrews 10:11-12)
For his people! We often miss that! Yes, Jesus died for you as an individual, but even deeper than that, he died for his people! Christ loved his bride, the church, and gave himself up for her!
Don’t miss the cruciform community aspect of the day of atonement and the Gospel… through the sacrifice of Christ, we are bound together as a community of sinners first. Sinners who see their need for a savior. And then, we are gloriously redeemed as the people of God! We become, together, a community of saints!
The cross binds us together as the bride of Christ! Have you embraced all that the sacrifice of Christ purchased for you? Not just personal propitiation and expiation, but communal participation?