Many people have written on the uncanny similarities between the Jewish Passover and Chinese New Year observances, so I’m not going to cover that ground yet again. If you’re interested in finding out about the similarities, just do a web search for something like “chinese new year and jewish passover similarities” and you will find plenty of material to whet your appetite. This is excellent material that can be used when approaching those celebrating the Chinese New Year (which falls on February 19 this year) to have a discussion about the hope we have through Jesus Christ.
What I find interesting this particular year is that this Chinese New Year ushers in the year of the Goat. This gives Believers in Christ yet one more avenue to help make a connection with the story of Jesus Christ.
Leviticus 16 in the Old Testament describes the priestly duties required on the Day of Atonement (or Yom Kippur). The Day of Atonement is the most important day of the Jewish year, where the sins of the people committed over the past year can be fully atoned for, and full fellowship with God restored.
Leviticus 16 mentions the use of 2 goats during the rituals required on the Day of Atonement. One goat would become the “scapegoat” upon which the High Priest would confer all the sins of the people of Israel and then cast out into the wilderness. The other goat would be offered as a sacrifice, the blood of which would be sprinkled upon the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies (or Most Holy Place) to atone for the sins of the people.
Jesus fulfilled the role of both the scapegoat and the sacrificial goat when He willingly offered up His own life to atone (or pay the price for) the sins of all of mankind. All of mankind’s sins were placed upon the person of Jesus Christ as He was on the cross.
God 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 (NIV)
Not only were our sins placed upon Jesus as our “scapegoat”, but the blood He shed upon the cross is the final sacrifice ever required to cleanse us from our sins and reconcile us with a holy, righteous God.
Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? — Hebrews 9:12-14 (NKJV)
Share Jesus Christ with those celebrating the coming of the Year of the Goat this February 19th. Share how Jesus is our Passover lamb, whose blood covers the mantle and posts of the doors of our hearts so that death will pass over us. Share how Jesus is our scapegoat and our sacrificial goat who took upon Himself all of our sins and paid the penalty for those sins with His own blood so that we can be reconciled with the one true living God.
My prayer is that you would be bold to share your faith in Jesus Christ, and that those with whom you share will have the eyes to see and the ears to hear what the Spirit of God has for them.
With Jesus, we can truly wish each other “Congratulations!” and “May your happiness be without limit!” this Chinese New Year.
—– Paul —–