For my wife’s recent birthday treat we visited Manchester Art Gallery, a wonderful place. There are a lot of Pre-Raphaelite paintings on display, including some by Holman Hunt, the artist famous for his picture of ‘The Light of the world’. On this visit another of his paintings, 'The Scapegoat', caught my eye.
The term ‘scapegoat’ usually refers to someone who is blamed - the fall guy or whipping boy.
Did you realise the word ‘scapegoat’ comes from the Bible?
In chapter 16 of the Book of Leviticus, God instructed Moses and Aaron to select two goats for an offering. One goat was used as a sin offering for the forgiveness of the sins of the people. Once killed, its blood was sprinkled on God’s mercy seat on the Ark of the Covenant. God would see the blood of the sin offering and have mercy on the people and forgive their sins. The high priest would then lay his hands on the second goat and confess the sins of the people. The goat would then bear the blame for the sins of the people and be set free into the wilderness. This goat was the scapegoat.
These Old Testament sin offerings all find their fulfilment in our Saviour’s amazing sacrifice. The New Testament shows us that the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross is the final sacrifice for sin. He willingly became the sin offering and scapegoat, taking our sins and the blame upon Himself (Hebrews 7:27). Because of this we can be forgiven and have peace with God.
Have you confessed your sin and trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour?