December 13, 2019
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. . . . And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger . . . LUKE 2:4–7
. . . every man shall take for himself a lamb . . . Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. . . . EXODUS 12:3–5
When I was a little boy, I learned a nursery rhyme that went like this: “Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was white as snow.” Well, Mary’s Christmas Lamb was the virgin-born Son of God!
We read in Luke 2 that when the Roman decree went out for a census of the Roman world, Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem. Now, we know that it was not incidental or accidental that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. That little village about five miles south of Jerusalem would probably have passed into obscurity except for that one wonderful night. The event that took place that first Christmas had been prophesied centuries earlier by the prophet Micah (5:2).
It was fitting that Mary’s Lamb would be born in Bethlehem. Why? Because for centuries, the Jewish priests had been raising Passover lambs in Bethlehem! In those shepherds’ fields outside Bethlehem, a very special breed of sacrificial lambs was raised and nurtured, that those lambs might be brought to Jerusalem. At Passover, those lambs were sacrificed to cover the sins of the people.
Mary’s little Lamb came to be the final Passover lamb, the one sacrifice for sin forever. The destiny of the entire world is wrapped up in Mary’s little Lamb.
Today I want you to see the prophecy of the lamb. That’s why you found Exodus 12 listed in today’s Scripture reading. This chapter has some crucial things to say about the Lamb of Christmas. The Israelites were in slavery in Egypt, groaning under the cruel bondage of Pharaoh. They needed to be redeemed. God had a plan to redeem His people and set them free, a plan wrapped up in a little lamb (Exodus 12:1–3).
Notice the qualifications for this lamb: It had to be “without blemish, a male of the first year” (v. 5). This lamb had to be perfect. Why? Because it was going to die to redeem God’s people. What a wonderful picture of the Lord Jesus, the Lamb of Bethlehem!
Gather information and pictures about Bethlehem using books, magazines, or the Internet. Learn about the town in which Jesus was born. Try to imagine what Bethlehem must have been like on the night Jesus was born. Gather items to make your own nativity scene.
Take advantage of the related activities and resources at ExperienceChristmas.org.