Then Aaron shall lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness. – Leviticus 16:21
Once each year, on the day proscribed by God, the high priest of Israel would be brought two goats. One of the goats would be killed and its blood sprinkled upon the mercy seat (the lid of the ark of the covenant) within the holy of holies (the innermost room of the Tabernacle). The other goat, the “scapegoat” chosen by lot, would undergo the ritual described in Lev. 16:21. It would then be led outside the camp of the Israelites into the wilderness to symbolically carry away their sins.
Today, according to those who have visited it, the place where Jesus was supposedly crucified looks like a garbage dump above a busy, smelly bus stop. Apparently, it is only visible through a fence bordering the Garden Tomb. I have never been there, but I take their word for it. Without taking anything away from this tourist attraction, it is once again clear that eternal significance often trumps temporal grandeur when it comes to the history of our faith.
On a nondescript hill outside the “camp,” our Savior removed the sins of the condemned and carried them all away. One time for all time.
Every time we look at the cross, Christ seems to say to us, “I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.” Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. – John Stott