He had sinned! He had violated the commandment of God! He was embarrassed to admit it to others but he was afraid not to deal with it as God ordered. So he was here, among his herd, selecting a bull without defect for a sin offering.
As he led the bull toward the Tabernacle he thought of what it all meant. First, he would lay his hand on the head of the bull. Transference! His guilt was being transferred to this innocent, blameless creature. He would then reveal a razor sharp knife and quickly reach under the bull’s throat with it and pull it toward him. The life of the animal would escape quickly without a sound, with no resistance possible.
Death! That was what was required for sin. That was what the bull was doing in his place. The priest would dip his finger in the sacrificial blood and sprinkle it seven times on the altar before the sanctuary. Then he would take some inside and rub it on the altar horns, pouring the rest out at the base. God would see the blood, the proof of death, the satisfaction of the penalty, and the sin would be atoned for. Then the priest would offer up all the fat of the bull in fire on the altar. The gutted remains would be burned outside the camp.
The sin bearer is rejected, but the man would go free. Not without cost, the cost of his bull and his pride. But he would go free of the penalty for his sin.
I have sinned! I have violated many of the commandments of God! My pride would have prevented me from admitting it but I fear the consequences of not doing so. Besides, God’s offer is so gracious. I can bring nothing of my own in payment but He has already provided a sacrifice. I have not laid physical hands on Him, but He has been slain in my stead nonetheless. His life has ebbed from Him as he took the death penalty in my place.
God has seen the sacrifice and is satisfied. But I haven’t laid my hands on Him! I haven’t made that personal transfer of guilt. There is a way, though. He called it “faith.” He called it “looking to” Him. He called it “coming” to Him. He called it “receiving” Him. I do so. I claim Him as my only hope for going free. It costs me nothing but my pride. He has provided the sacrifice, the satisfaction before our God for my rebellion.
“He made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). “God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood” (Romans 3:25). “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).