Sermon – Leviticus 16.15-22 (Good Friday – 2021)

Pardon to Pardon

Grace to you and peace from God, our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

15 “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat.

 16 “So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins; and so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness.

 17 “There shall be no man in the tabernacle of meeting when he goes in to make atonement in the Holy Place, until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself, for his household, and for all the assembly of Israel.

 18 “And he shall go out to the altar that is before the LORD, and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and some of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar all around.

 19 “Then he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, cleanse it, and consecrate it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.

 20 “And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat.

 21 “Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man.

 22 “The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.

These are Your Words, heavenly Father. Sanctify us by the truth. Your Word is truth. Amen.

Dear fellow redeemed,

We saw throughout the Lenten season how particular sections of the Old Testament Scripture point forward to Christ and His saving work. We get a look at another one here that gives us a very vivid picture. It describes the Passion and death of our Lord Jesus from two different angles of the one saving work. We see it in the two goats.

Two goats were chosen. Lots were cast to determine which one was for the LORD and the other for Azazel.

The goat that was for the Lord is the goat that would be used for the burnt offering. This offering showed that sin requires death. It takes a life. God said that the day that you eat of the tree which you are not to eat, you shall die. Sin requires a life, not just bodily death, but death that is separation from God, who is the fount of goodness and love. Well, we ate of the tree in Adam and Eve, and we have sinned, as Adam and Eve. We have the same greedy eyes that see what our hearts desire and it looks good. We wish to be like God, rather than to be subject to our Creator. We make our own law, follow our own path, we do what is right in our own eyes, to disobey God and obey our passions. And so we act selfishly, we put ourselves first, we lust, we greedily chase after the treasures of the world, we get our priorities out of whack. These sins cost a life, our life. For those of the Old Testament, a goat was given. Its lifeblood is shed, and it is sacrificed, as it is burnt on the altar and the smoke rises to God. Its life is taken in place of sinful man, and thus through this sacrifice, the people are pardoned. Yet it is not the sacrifice that earns this forgiveness, but this sacrifice saved the Old Testament believers because God’s Word was connected to that sacrifice and the sacrifice points forward to that once for all sacrifice that would really atone for the sins of the world.

Christ is the fulfillment of this sacrifice. In love, He willingly offers His life to God. Whereas the goat of the burnt offering is offered to God on the altar in the tabernacle or Temple, Jesus is brought out of the Holy City, away from the Temple and gives His life on the altar of a torturous cross. So there on the cross He doesn’t enter the Holy of Holies made of wood and stone and fabric built by the hands of men, but He goes before God in the heavenly Temple offering His blood and His life to atone for your sins. Scripture says, “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another… but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many” (Heb 9:24,25,26,28).

He gives His life for ours–His divine, righteous life without spot or blemish for our life, so that sin and the death that sin requires is answered for, and thus life is won for us.

Another aspect of Jesus saving work on the cross is typified by the other goat, the goat that was for Azazel.

Azazel is a hard Hebrew word, and there are many different theories as to what it means, one common one that we see in numerous translations is scapegoat. And that’s a really fitting one. A scapegoat is simply the goat that escaped. Nowadays we say that a scapegoat is someone who takes the blame for something.

Aaron placed his hands on the head of the goat, and he confessed the sins of the people of Israel upon the goat, transferring their sins upon the it. That goat takes the blame, and is driven out from among the people and from God’s presence into the wilderness.

Jesus is our scapegoat. He has taken all of our sins, transferring every one of them upon Himself. Therefore “He who knew no sin, became sin for us.Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed” (Is 53:4-5). He becomes our sin. And He is driven away outside of the city bearing our sins. But more than that, He is driven away from God’s presence. God, His Father abandons Him, and this is literally what hell is. And in the absence of the Father’s love and goodness, with only the wrath of God to be felt, Jesus cried out, “Eloi, eloi, lama sabachtani.” And since He has done that, your sins are removed from you! They have been placed on Jesus, and they have been taken away. As far as the east is from the west, so far has Christ taken your sins from you.

O what sadness there is in this night. For it is not a couple random goats that are sacrificed, but our soul’s great Friend, the righteous and holy Son of God is treated the way we sinners should be treated. He suffers hell. He is killed. And we see how awful our sins are, for what tremendous cost there is to atone for them and to remove them from us!

But also rejoice, because in such unfathomable love for us, He willingly does this. And in His suffering and death we are redeemed from sin, death, and hell. In His gory death, He crushes the serpent’s head that we may share in the spoils of His glorious victory.

So, in this rejoicing, we give our lives as a sacrifice of thanks and praise to Him who sacrificed Himself to make us His own redeemed people. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, forevermore. Amen.

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