He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.
Our Lord’s being “made . . . sin”1 for us is pictured here by the very significant transfer of sin to the bullock, which was done by the elders of the people. The laying of the hand was not a mere touch of contact, for in some other places of Scripture the original word has the meaning of leaning heavily, as in the expression, “Your wrath lies heavy upon me” (Psalm 88:7).
Surely this is the very essence and nature of faith, which not only brings us into contact with the great Substitute, but also teaches us to lean upon Him with all the burden of our guilt. Jehovah made all the offenses of His covenant people rest upon the Substitute, and each one of the chosen is brought personally to confirm this solemn covenant act, when by grace he is enabled by faith to lay his hand upon the head of the Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world.
Believer, do you remember that wonderful day when you first realized pardon through Jesus the sin-bearer? Can you make a glad confession and join with the writer in saying, “My soul recalls the day of deliverance with delight. Burdened with guilt and full of fears, I saw my Savior as my Substitute, and I laid my hand upon Him—timidly at first, but courage grew and confidence was confirmed until I leaned my soul entirely upon Him. And now it is my unceasing joy to know that my sins are no longer imputed to me but are laid on Him. Like the debts of the wounded traveler, Jesus, like the good Samaritan, has said of all my future sinfulness, ‘Set that to My account.'”
Blessed discovery! Eternal solace of a grateful heart!
My numerous sins transferr’d to Him,
Shall never more be found,
Lost in His blood’s atoning stream,
Where every crime is drown’d!