“Momma, tell me the story again.”
“Son, it’s time for sleep. And besides you have heard the story so many times you can probably tell it better than I.”
“I know, but I like it when you tell it.”
“Goats…. What is it with you and goats?”
“Oh please, please…pleeeease?”
“Okay, okay…. But only if you promise to go to sleep.”
“You are just like your father. He could talk me into anything.” She said smiling while touching her finger on the end of his nose.
“Is my father ever coming back Momma?”
She smiled, running her fingers through his hair. “I don’t know my love.” I hope he fell off a cliff somewhere, she thought to herself. How could he have just walked away from his family, not to mention his son?
“Now let’s see…. Yahweh said unto Moses that he should take from the children of Israel two male goats for a sin offering. He shall take the two goats, and set them before Yahweh at the door of the Tent of Meeting. Now Aaron, the priest, would cast lots for the two goats; one lot for Yahweh and the other lot for the scapegoat.”
“What is a scapegoat Momma?”
“Now how will I finish this story with all these questions?”
“Now let’s see, where was I? Oh yes…Now the goat whose lot fell for Yahweh was to be the sin offering and was sacrificed for the sins of all the people. His blood was sprinkled on the Mercy Seat itself according to the Word of the Lord.”
“This goat makes me sad Momma.”
“I know my love. But look how this one small life atoned for the sins of all of Israel? God chose him to be a worthy sacrifice for such an important thing.”
“I know Momma, but I still feel sad for him. He didn’t do anything wrong.”
“Yes I know my son, but praise the Lord for the sacrifice. Would you rather you and I to stand before Yahweh and pay for our sins?”
“No Momma, I don’t.”
“They give of themselves to us everyday. But how many of them are actually chosen by God to atone for the sins of all Israel?”
“I know Momma, but tell me about the other goat. This one makes me want to cry.”
“I know it does, so why do you always want to hear this story?”
“Because the other goat makes me happy.”
“Oh, I see. Well let’s get to the happy little scapegoat then.” She said smiling as she gently patted him on the side of his leg.
“Now Aaron, the priest, presents the live goat before the Lord. Then he lays both of his hands on his head like this.” She said as she placed both of her hands on each side of his face. Pausing for a moment to gaze at her smiling little boy. She could not help but to lean over and kiss him on his forehead. Remembering the joy that came into life the day he was born.
Sitting back up, she continued, “And as Aaron places his hands on the head of the goat, he confesses all the sins of the children of Israel onto the head of the goat.”
“This is the part I like.” He said bursting with excitement.
“Do you want me to finish this story or not?” She said puzzled by his excitement over a story he’s heard many times before.
“Yes, yes, yes.” He said giggling out loud.
Shaking her head she continued, “Then a man standing ready, chosen for this task, would lead the scapegoat out into the wilderness….”
“AND SET HIM FREE!” He shouted finishing the story, while leaping from his pallet and dancing around the room.
“Alright that’s enough, it’s bed time young man.”
He made three hops with the last landing back into his bed. “I love that story Momma.”
“I know, I know. Now sleep, goodnight, it’s bed time, we can talk again tomorrow.” She said tucking him in his bed and kissing him on the forehead again. “Maybe you should have been born a little goat instead of a little boy.” She said lightheartedly.
“I love you Momma.” He said as she walked toward the doorway.
“I love you to, Barabbas,…. And God loves you…goodnight.”
Inspired by and paraphrased from Leviticus 16:1-34 and Matthew 27:15-26 (KJV)
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