Sometimes needs take the form of negations rather than additions. Sometimes what we need most is not to get something, but to get rid of something. Garbage is an example of this, and a plague upon God’s fallen world. I’m no greenie, but I do know the daily bother of taking out the trash, and the weekly imperative to have the cans ready curbside for the truck!
Our guilt before God is cosmic garbage, and it must be removed. Who will take it away? In ancient Israel, the famous scapegoat was a symbol of this. The goat bore the sins of the people far distant into the barren wasteland, well away from their dwellings. To put a crude mark upon such a lofty institution of God, the goat was the Mosaic garbage man. Once a year it facilitated the atonement by taking away sin.
The Son of God is our cosmic scapegoat. Did he not die outside the camp, bearing our cosmic crimes far away? Did he not remove them as far from us as the east is from the west? He suffered in the wilderness of God’s wrath alone, for us.. The place of Gehenna was his dwelling, the very filth of hell. Our guilt and filth being removed by this mighty Champion, we now breath the fresh air of freedom in God’s glorious courts.