Over the past several days, I’ve been writing about scapegoats. These are people or things that, often undeservedly, get the blame in any given situation.
In my first blog in this four-part series, I wrote about the Garden of Eden and how Adam blamed both God and Eve for his unethical appetite. Eve then pointed to the snake as the real culprit of their disobedience. Adam, Eve, and the serpent each played a part of the Fall of mankind into sin, but none of them wanted to take responsibility for their actions.
In my second blog, I discussed sports figures Bill Buckner and Steve Bartman as famous, rather infamous, examples of individuals who took the blame for losses by their respective teams. Buckner became the scapegoat for Red Sox fans when he let a ball go between his legs, while Cubs fan Bartman made a play on a ball he should never have touched.
In my most recent blog, I confessed to a thirty-five-year-old secret concerning something I did in the second grade. My brilliant plan of framing a fellow student was derailed by my friend Billy’s poor spelling and grammar. Admittedly, I was just as at-fault as Billy, but I kept quiet while he took the blame.
Today, I am attempting to wrap-up this series on scapegoats with a Gospel (“good news”) message. I’ve already shared that the scapegoat dates all the way back to the Old Testament of the Bible. The sins of the Israelites would be ceremonially placed upon this poor goat which would then wander off into the wilderness to die. With the scapegoat went the guilt and shame of the Israelites.
Here’s the issue, though. The Israelites had to do this scapegoating activity every year. A year is a pretty long time to fuss over unresolved and unforgiven sin. And while there were other sacrifices performed in addition to the scapegoat, each of them were inadequate to say the least. That is why Jesus’ sacrifice for sin was so important.
The writer of the Bible Book of Hebrews puts it this way, “… (Jesus) does not need to offer sacrifices day after day… He sacrificed for (the people’s) sins once for all when he offered himself” (Hebrews 7:27, NIV). Jesus is our ultimate scapegoat. He took our sins upon himself and carried them to the cross. Because of that, we are forgiven and free.