Good morning, friends!
Well, it is my great pleasure and privilege to share with you today something very awesome. We were at a conference last weekend, and we were blessed to hear lots of wonderful speakers. Something that one of them said was so cool and amazing that I just had to share it with you. It's slightly complicated-ish, so bear with me, but trust me, it's well worth it!
The Significance of the Swaddling Cloths and the Sacrificial Lamb
Luke 2:8-12 KJV
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
So here we have some shepherds, and they're busy in the field, keeping watch over their flock of sheep. Suddenly an angel turns up and tells them that the Christ has been born, and he's wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
Why were those words so significant? What special meaning would swaddling clothes have to a bunch of shepherds?
Well, firstly, the shepherds in those days were not ignorant. To be a shepherd was a highly qualified job, believe it or not. They were called shepherd-priests and were well trained in all the Scriptures. Why? Because they had a very important job, that of caring for and preserving all the special sacrificial lambs.
There they are to present their offerings to the Lord: a year-old male lamb without defect for a burnt offering, a year-old ewe lamb without defect for a sin offering, a ram without defect for a fellowship offering....
In ancient Israel, in the Old Testament times before Jesus came, lambs without defect were very precious because they were the ones that were used for the sacrifices and offerings. God had commanded that only perfect animals were to be used. When a ewe was about to give birth, the shepherds would take the ewe into the special birthing place. There, inside, the shepherds would catch the lamb, and if it was perfect, without spot or blemish, would wrap it real tightly in swaddling clothes and lay it on its back for an hour. It would lie there, struggling away, getting stronger and stronger. Then after an hour or so the shepherds would unwrap it and stand it up by its mother to drink. They would do this so the lamb would gain strength trying to escape from its swaddling. If they didn't do this, the lamb would struggle to stand on its own and would fall over trying to drink from its mother, which would make it not perfect, and unable to be used for the sacrifices.
So a potential sacrificial lamb was wrapped in swaddling clothes.
Do you see the significance of what Jesus was wrapped in now?
As soon as the shepherds heard that the baby was wrapped in swaddling clothes they would have been like, "sacrificial lamb!" Being shepherd-priests, they were well trained in the Scriptures and were familiar with all the prophecies about how the Messiah would come.
Don't you think it's awesome that the very first people the wonderful news was told to were shepherds... the ones who would understand the significance of what was happening.
The shepherds would put the potential sacrificial lambs in swaddling clothes. They found Jesus in swaddling clothes.
Jesus was perfect, without defect, spot or blemish. He never sinned. And He sacrificed himself... for the sins of the world!
Christ was the ULTIMATE sacrificial lamb.
Isn't that amazing!