There were two goats used on the Day of Atonement. One was slaughtered and its blood was carried into the Holy of Holies by the high priest. That blood covered the guilt of the people in the sight of God. Their conscience was purified and they could serve the living God.
The other goat was held at the entrance of the tabernacle until the high priest came out and laid his hands on its head. Acting on behalf of all the people of Israel, the high priest confessed the sins of the people and transferred their sins to this animal. This second goat is the “scapegoat.” Nowadays, that’s what we call someone who takes the blame for everyone’s mistake. This goat not only received the blame but also carried the guilt far away into the wilderness–as far as east is from the west.
Together those two goats picture the redemptive work of Jesus. His blood has covered our sins in the sight of God, just as the blood of the first goat did once each year, but now, in Jesus, once for all time. He became the scapegoat for all his people. Jesus our Savior was loaded with all our sins and carried them far, far away–as far as east is from west.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
God, thank You for replacing my sinful nature with that of Your Holy Spirit. As I walk in Your ways year after year, I am aware of that my sins wreck my relationship with You. Help me to remove one by one those sins, so that I may walk straight Your path.
Lord of Glory, impress on my mind that because of the cross of Jesus Christ there is for me a crown of glory, because I have placed my trust in Him.