Jesus was blamed for the sins of all in both the philosophical sense (others blamed him) and the theological sense (he willingly accepted that blame). The reason he was the last scapegoat, the final one we ever need recognize, is that his death was not the end of the story. Jesus was resurrected into new life, conquering death, and in so doing, he exposed the violent scapegoating tendencies in the human heart and forced us to realize precisely how much evil we are truly capable of performing.

Faced with our own complicity to sacrifice others for our benefit, as though we were looking into a mirror showing us how morally hideous we have become, we recoil from our sinful nature and embrace God and his plan to heal the world. Jesus’ victory, then, is the starting point for his present work in the world, where he continues to triumphantly break down sin’s power and deify men through his Spirit.

Adapted from Why God Died