Moses: A Lamb for the FamilySaturday, December 3, 2016
“Tell the whole community of Israel, ‘In the tenth day of this month they each must take a lamb for themselves according to their families—a lamb for each household" (Exodus 12:3).
Either the lamb dies, or the firstborn of the family dies.
The blood must be shed either way. Suppose you were an Israelite being asked to sacrifice your prized lamb and smear its blood on the door for all the neighbors to see. Would you do it? Or would you be embarrassed by such a thought?
Suppose an Israelite had refused to sacrifice a lamb. His firstborn would have died. Being a Jew could not save on that fateful night. It’s not national origin that matters to God but faith in God’s appointed way of salvation.
In the same way, it is not your religious affiliation that matters to God. It’s not about being Catholic or Baptist or Lutheran or Brethren. It doesn’t have anything to do with your education, your wealth, your status, your achievements, the money you’ve made, the awards you’ve won, and it certainly doesn’t involve how many important people you know.
God wants to know one thing: “Do you have faith that the blood of Jesus can wash away all your sins?” Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). The blood of Jesus cleanses us from every sin (1 John 1:7). What the Passover lamb represented in the Old Testament, Jesus fulfills in the New Testament.
That explains a poignant part of the Christmas story. When Simeon took the baby Jesus in his arms and blessed him, he said Jesus would the cause of the rising and falling of many in Israel--thus indicating that while some would follow him, others would bitterly oppose them. Then he added a special word for Mary: “A sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:35).
From the very beginning, Jesus was marked out as God’s lamb. He was born to die! Although Mary could not then know all the details, from the earliest days she knew suffering lay along the pathway of his life.
Since the lamb must die for the blood to save, Jesus must someday die and his blood must be shed. This is the destiny of the Lamb of God who comes to take away the sin of the world.
Jesus is the Lamb you need. He is God’s Lamb for your sin.
Sleep on, Lamb of God. Snuggle tight to your mother’s breast. The road from Bethlehem leads to the Cross.
Heavenly Father, thank you for providing a way for sinners like us to be saved. By the blood of Jesus we have passed from death to life everlasting. Amen.
Musical bonus: Andy Williams recorded a Christmas album in 1963. More than a half-century later, his version of Sweet Little Jesus Boy holds up very well.