21 October, 2008

The Sufferings of the Scapegoat

Leviticus 16:22 The goat shall bear all their iniquities on itself to a remote area, and he shall let the goat go free in the wilderness.

As the scapegoat was released into the wilderness to suffer and die, we can think of Jesus Christ being sent outside of the camp to suffer and die on behalf of his elect.

Follow the scapegoat, and see its doom. Is there not here a criminal led along? There is something that speaks of the Man of Sorrows, made sin for us. Is there not here a criminal led away to an unknown woe? There is something that speaks of one “made a curse for us”. Why is he left alone, defenseless, trembling, amid a wilderness? There is here enough to remind us of Jesus left to suffer without sympathy… The scapegoat’s solitary cry is re-echoed by the barren rocks, and the howling of beasts of prey terrifies it on all sides; the gloom of night settles down upon it and shrouds it in deeper terror. Perhaps too, it was not uncommon for Jehovah himself to direct His lightning’s stroke toward the victim, and to cause it to perish amid the tempest’s roar. Wounded by beasts of prey, from whom it has scarcely escaped, it is now stretched on the ground by a stroke from that thunder-cloud, its eye glaring with convulsive fear, and its piteous cries echoing through the dismal wilderness. Perhaps it was generally thus that the sin-bearing scapegoat died. ‘Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness’… That victim’s sufferings are my sufferings.

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