Wednesday, June 10, 2009



Isn’t it amazing to study the world we live in? Have you ever noticed how people play different games? Even little children need not be taught the game. They play it like professionals. Ever since the fall into sin, mankind has been quick to play the blame game. Looking for scapegoats is almost as old as time. Adam blamed Eve—“The woman [emphasis mine] You put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Eve blamed the devil—“The serpent [emphasis mine] deceived me, and I ate.” And Cain blamed God—“So Cain was very angry [emphasis mine], and his face was downcast” (Gen. 3:12-13; 4:5). Due to sin, human nature has the perverse proclivity to pass the buck and duck responsibility. Substituting someone else to take the blame for your mistakes is the name of the game. In politics today, the blame game is so bad; congressmen rarely can find anything good to say about an opponent. The congress blames the president; the president blames the congress; people blame their pastor, pastor blames his people; husband blames wife, wife blames husband; father blames son, daughter blames mother. Disassociating one’s self from one’s mistakes carried to a constant behavior pattern invariably looks for a scapegoat for all the ills of this world.

Our in-born sin causes us to play the blame game. We don’t wish to admit to any mistakes or sinning. It is so easy to scapegoat. A major challenge in our society is to try to have an equal field for all without unwittingly making some folks new scapegoats to pay for our mistakes or someone else’s mistake.

We play the blame game so often that we think that it is the only way to live. But that is not the case. Study Scripture and you will find God doesn’t permit us to get away with blaming someone else for our mistakes. Eventually, we have to stand before the judgment seat of God and give an account to our actions life-style.

But for us who believe in Jesus Christ we take comfort in what He did. The ultimate Slave of mankind, the Omnipresent Lord, Jesus, who willingly became mankind’s scapegoat, assures of this aspect of the scales of Justice. (Matthew 11:24).

Life is not fair.

God is NOT FAIR either! He doesn’t treat us like we deserve. In fact we are saved

How so?

Jesus the Just dies for the unjust in order that He might bring us to God, create within us the will to love all, and bring about reconciliation. One can wonder about the seemingly endless injustices in this world, yet one need not lecture the God of all grace who tasted eternal death and injustice for ALL. (Hebrews 2:9) In theology, we call this the sweet swap, the happy exchange, the great exchange—the Lamb becoming the scapegoat so that humans might cease their scapegoat-ways. While this works for us, it sure isn’t fair to Jesus!

The death of the Lamb of God on the Altar of the cross is the ONE cosmic redemptive, restoring, event capable of ending the perverse proclivity of humans to scapegoat. The term scapegoat originated in the famous ritual of the Hebrews described in the Book of Leviticus. (16:20-22) On the Day of Atonement a live male goat was chosen by lot. The high priest, robed in special priestly garments for that day, laid both his hands on the goat’s head, and confessed over it the sins of the children of Israel. The sins of the people thus symbolically transferred to the goat, it was then taken out into the wilderness and let go. Again good for us, NOT so good for the goat! This foreshadowed how God was sending a coming Redeemer who would once and for ALL take away their sins. In time, believers would realize this scapegoat was a lamb, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)

Study God’s inspired Word and you will see that it is no accident after John the Baptizer testified that Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world; our Lord went into the wilderness. He was driven [Greek emphasis by force] into the desert by the Spirit. (Luke 4:1; Mark 1:12) The goat that bore the sins of Israel into the wilderness in ancient times was sent to Azazel, to the devil, the one who had seduced mankind into sin. (Leviticus 16:8)

Now upon the heels of His baptism, Jesus is cast into the wilderness as a scapegoat to bear the sins of mankind. As mankind’s great high priest, yet living among the beasts, Jesus fulfills both the role of the High Priest and the poor beast in taking our sin into the wilderness to suffer in our place. Ultimately, Jesus would have to be sacrificed like the other wild goat—since there were two Day of Atonement goats. (Leviticus 16:7-10) That ultimate bloody sacrifice occurred on Good Friday when Jesus was killed dying upon the Tree of the Cross at the exact moment the Passover Lamb was being offered up in Jerusalem. Before eternity, this moment was planned to the very second.

Upon the wooden beam of the Cross, Jesus hung between time and eternity even though He was the eternal God come into the flesh. He who created our first parents became the scapegoat for all of mankind’s sin so that He would be the atonement Lamb for all mankind. In so doing, Jesus not only paid to God in full the bill for our sins, but at the same time, He put an end for any pretext on the part of humans scapegoating fellow humans. It is God’s unfair-ness that works our salvation. This is not something to be lamented but rejoiced in!

The blame game continues to be played in our lives and words. But No More Scapegoats are needed, since Christ became our scapegoat so that we might escape the fires of hell. God grant us the power to live for Him, acknowledging our sins and receive His unmerited and unearned grace. The next time you think of playing the blame game think of the Lamb of God—the Scapegoat—who died for you on the Tree of the CROSS.

In Christ’s love and in His service,

Rev. Nabil S. Nour Pastor and Foot Washer Phil. 1:6

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