I was at the garden shop, lifting a bag of potting soil to place in my cart. A couple in their fifties happened by. She stopped and said with urgency, “Oh can I help you with that?”
Well, I hope that kind lady didn’t see the outrage and humiliation on my face. “Hey, I ain’t that old yet! Maybe your husband and I should arm wrestle. I’ll show you who needs help.”
That was embarrassing! Do you know what else would be embarrassing? If Jesus had been known as the “goat of God.”
It was a possibility!
When John the Baptist first looked upon Jesus on the banks of the Jordan River, this is what he said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” – John 1:29
John spoke metaphorically of Christ and quite literally of what He would take away.
John knew the sacrificial system of Israel quite well. He understood that it was designed to pre-shadow the actual work of redemption that Jesus would one day bring. The sacrificial blood of a lamb was a type of the blood of Christ which would be shed for us on the cross.
But here’s the thing. There were multiple kinds of animals that were perfectly suitable as a sacrifice for sin. A young bull would work according to Leviticus 4:3. A male goat would also an acceptable option (Leviticus 4:25) and of course a lamb would also suffice.
So, was there a reason then, why Jesus was known as the Lamb of God and not the goat or bull of God? I can think of at least one possibility.
Obviously, a bull would be most costly, the goat less and the lamb the least. The value of the animal that was offered had to do with a person’s social rank and economic standing.
The high priest was required to offer a bull. A ruler had to offer a goat. Those guys were well-to-do relatively speaking.
But suppose you were just a regular Joe – a paycheck-to-paycheck kind of person. How could you ever be able to afford to buy a bull and then surrender him to the flames of the altar?
God, in His goodness, thought of this guy in Leviticus 4:27-28. There it says, “‘If an ordinary individual sins by straying unintentionally when he violates one of the Lord’s commandments which must not be violated, and he pleads guilty, or his sin that he committed is made known to him, he must bring a flawless female goat.”
An ordinary individual! I can relate. Other translations use synonymous phrases like commoner or common people.
So, this everyday guy could offer a goat if he wished, but if that were not possible then the passage goes on to say, “‘But if he brings a sheep as his offering, for a sin offering…” Leviticus 4:32 A sheep could be substituted.
So, because Jesus was the Lamb of God, and not the bull or the goat, the message to us is this: Jesus’ sacrifice is for all of us – including the commoner.
You don’t have to be the cream of society to be saved. The balance in your bank account does not matter to God. Your social standing is irrelevant to God.
Jesus’ blood is also for the common person – the truckdriver, the mother, the garbage collector, the accountant, the teacher and on it goes.
Hey, scour the Gospels and you will find that it was the common folk that most quickly responded to the ministry of Christ.
I am the son of a truckdriver. I worked in the warehouse and often loaded my dad’s truck. My roots are not with the elite of this world. So, I am thrilled that the grace of God reaches out to people like me – and you.
A PRAYER: God you are so omnipotent, and I am so ordinary. Thank you for reaching out to me
This has been Jim Johnson and pickleheavenpress.com
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Scripture passages are from the NET Bible ®