For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
~ 800 years before Christ ~
Every Passover Israelite’s had to offer a sacrificial lamb in Jerusalem. But not just any lamb, one spotless and without blemish. Now the Jewish people were not allowed to raise their own lambs for sacrifice, they had to be raised by expert shepherds, and it was under the care of these shepherds that a lamb was approved for its future sacrifice in Jerusalem. The lambs then would be purchased by those who wished to atone for their sins in Jerusalem.
These shepherds dwelt in the small city of Bethlehem, just 4 miles south of Jerusalem. Where they would watch over their flock in the surrounding fields. – (The Hebrew word Bethlehem means “House of Bread”)
But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.
~ 700 years before Christ ~
Now every firstborn male lamb from the area around Bethlehem was considered holy, set apart and were to be used exclusively in the Temple.
After these lambs were born they were immediately wrapped in swaddling cloths, to protect them from injury, because baby lambs tend to thrash about and harm themselves in the first couple of hours after birth. Remember the lamb for sacrifice must be without blemish. A bruised or broken bone would disqualify it.
Although the shepherds would wrap the sacrificial lambs in swaddling cloth, the primary use of swaddling cloth was to wrap up dead people for burial. So they were sometimes referred to as grave clothes.
As we start to peel back the layers it becomes so interesting to see the hand of God working things out with precise detail. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, where the sacrificial lambs needed to be born, He was wrapped in the very clothes that symbolized both sacrifice and death. The angels appeared to the very expert shepherds of Bethlehem in Luke 2:8-21. Which sent them looking they Lamb, so when they found Jesus, He officially became a lamb prepared for sacrifice in Jerusalem.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.
Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways!
In the end all this was both good news and bad news for the shepherds. Good news because the savior was born and would end all sacrifices needed hence forth. Bad news because this was their day job. They now needed to hit the unemployment offices.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!