The last major frame for the gospel might be termed ‘The Priestly Story.’ This is not an event of history but a Jewish institution established after King David. Given the demands of the Mosaic Law and the failure of Israel to fulfil it, provision was made through sacrifice of animals by priests to overcome sin, guilt, impurity and judgement. This washing away of sin was a key role for the priest. An experience of forgiveness is the goal.
Today the metaphor has value for those conscious of their sin and plagued by guilt. Jesus the High Priest, once and for all, became the scapegoat himself – the ‘lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’. He sacrificed himself in the place of guilty sinners and offers an exchange of items – our sinfulness for His holiness; our guilt for His freedom before God.