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Jesus is our scapegoat, Reynolds says
by Emily Grooms
CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMCNews) – Groups of students huddled in prayer, boldly confronting their fears of sharing the Gospel after a sermon preached by Truett-McConnell College's Vice President for Academic Services Dr. Brad Reynolds, gave an invitation in Truett-McConnell College's chapel service this past Thursday.
Preaching a message from Leviticus 16.1-10 at TMC's weekly chapel service Nov.1, Reynolds presented a clear picture of the Gospel as he portrayed the sacrificial offerings required by God in the Old Testament. The high priest and two goats mentioned are representations of Jesus Christ and His Word, Reynolds said.
"The Gospel is rightly called the greatest love story ever told," he said. "It's about God and His unfailing love for us."
Giving brief recaps of box office hits involving heroes and sacrifice, Reynolds said many movies obtain their plots from the Bible. "There is something about His romantic, agape, love that calls to the souls of mankind. He pursues every single one of us," Reynolds said.
Reading the text, Reynolds shared how God described to Moses the proper way to enter into the Holy of Holies. The priest, who represents the person of Jesus, was required to wear "a holy linen tunic," (Leviticus 16.4), he said. "White symbolized purity and humility in the Old Testament, and the high priest would only enter the Holy of Holies clothed in humility."
Linking the high priest of the Old Testament to Jesus' role in the New Testament, Reynolds indicated that, "the beautiful thing about the person of Jesus Christ is that He humbled Himself but was still God."
Because the Holy of Holies was "off limits" to the Israelites and even the high priest at times, Reynolds said God made a statement: "You're a sinner, you sin. I am holy and pure – stay out."
Referencing the parallels to our own sin, Reynolds said God is allergic: "He cannot be in the presence of sin. No matter how good I am; if He allowed my sin into His presence it would stain Him."
"He cannot stop being God so he says to 'stay out' of His presence," he said.
Reynolds said many people entertain the idea that they're not that bad, but "any sin would contaminate heaven," he said.
Using the analogy of a load of laundry, Reynolds said that "any dirt, whether a spoonful or a bucket full would make it less than clean. Our sin is the same to God."
Referring to the goats mentioned in the text, Reynolds noted their importance: "Our sins symbolically transfer onto the goat that goes to the altar."
"When we break His law, we have offended a Holy God and a defense against an infinite God demands an infinite penalty – an eternity separated from God," Reynolds said, noting that Christians escape penalty ourselves because the goat becomes the sacrifice. "The goat didn't do anything wrong, but the sacrifice is a picture of the work of Christ."
The scapegoat represents our freedom, Reynolds said. Leviticus 16.10 says, "But the goat on which the lot for the scapegoat fell shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make atonement upon it, to send it into the wilderness as the scapegoat."
"The scapegoat would be sent out into the wilderness until it couldn't be seen any longer," Reynolds said. "That's what Jesus did."
Reynolds told a story of a bullfight that took place in 1993. A little boy was cheering and fell over the side of the stands and into the arena. The charging bull saw the boy and turned his attention to him. A teenager jumped into the arena, grabbed the boy, and ran quickly to the side, lifting the boy up to safety. While saving the boy, the bull's horns impaled and killed the teenager.
"The teenager took the place of that little boy because he couldn't save himself," Reynolds said. "Someone had to come and take his place."
Jesus came to take your place, he said, and there is coming a day when He is coming back, not to be judged but to judge mankind. "He's not coming as a lamb but as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He's coming, riding on a white horse; and its side will read 'King of Kings and Lord of Lords."
"Why did He die?" Reynolds asked. "He died to save you to Himself."
Reynolds noted the Israelites inability to enter into the presence of God. When Jesus took our sin, the curtain leading into the Holy of Holies ripped from top to bottom. "It's like He says to us, "Come in, I want to talk with you."
"If you're not saved, don't gamble for tomorrow," Reynolds said. "You are a fool to gamble with tomorrow."
Reynolds closed by challenging students to pray for one another. "Come pray for one of your fellow students who you know isn't saved. Put feet to your words and go to that person and let them know you're praying for them."
Emily Grooms is a Truett-McConnell student and a freelance writer for the college.