In Leviticus 16, the Day of Atonement is outlined. As you might recall, this is the one day of the year, Yom Kippur, that the high priest alone goes behind the curtain in the temple and enters the holy of holies. This is the day when an atonement is made for the entire nation, all of God’s children.
In past lessons we have discussed how Jesus is the Lamb of God, the sacrificial lamb as foreshadowed in the Passover, magnified by the fact that he dies at Passover, at the hour the lamb would be killed.
But what about the goats in Lev 16. Two goats are selected. One is sacrificed as an offering to the Lord. The other is the scapegoat. The scapegoat is taken out of the city. The high priest lays his hands on the scapegoat, transferring all the sins of the people onto the goat. It is then released, alive, into the wilderness.
Not only do all past events point to Christ, but this one, in particular, is relevant because of what we read about happening at Jesus’ death in Mark 15:38, where the curtain of the temple is torn in two from top to bottom. This is the curtain that separated the holy of holies, the place that could only be approached on the Day of Atonement, the day of the scapegoat.
But there are 2 goats and only one Jesus, right? Yes, but, and here is where it gets kind of deep, Jesus is both. Jesus is fully man and fully God. Jesus, the man, is sacrificed and killed, as an offering to the Lord. Now, keep in mind, an offering is like a gift. The slain animal now belongs to God, like any gift given to someone else. It no longer belongs to itself or to any man (more on this in a moment). Jesus, spirit of God, is also the second goat, the scapegoat. The one taken outside the city. The one whom all sin is transferred to, ALL SIN! The one that cannot be killed but instead is released into the wilderness. How did John word it? “With that, he (Jesus) bowed his head and gave up his spirit”. His spirit went, alive, because the spirit of God cannot die, into the grave, for 3 days.
Now, we haven’t gotten there yet in our reading, but after 3 days the really amazing thing happens. After 3 days the spirit of Jesus returns and claims the body of Jesus. Now, keep in mind, that body no longer belongs to any man, it was a gift to God. For Jesus to claim that body once again is a testament that He is God. He took our sins, carried them into the wilderness, left them in the grave, returned and accepted the sacrifice of his own body delivering it, ultimately, into heaven.
He bowed his head and gave up his spirit – it was finished and/when He died.
by bowing his head and giving up his spirit
curtain torn in two from top to bottom
The payment for sin has been paid in full