Lamb for Christmas

Monday, December 18, 2017 0 Comments

Our cultural traditions dictate pretty much what we will eat for Christmas each year. For those of us growing up in a Puerto Rican family, it is Arroz con Gandules (rice with pigeon peas), Lechon “asao” (roast pork), and of course, the “Piece De Resistance” pasteles puertoriquenos (a kind of tamale made of green bananas stuffed with flavorful meat).

Without these three staple dishes, there is no Christmas, at least, that is the sentiment for us Puerto Ricans.

Now that we are older, wiser and people of faith, we realize that there would be no Christmas if God had not sent the “Lamb.” When Jesus is called the Lamb of God in John 1:29 and John 1:36, it is referring to Him as the perfect and ultimate sacrifice for sin. In order to understand who Christ was and what He did, we must begin with the Old Testament, which contains prophecies concerning the coming of Christ as a “guilt offering” (Isaiah 53:10). In fact, the whole sacrificial system established by God in the Old Testament set the stage for the coming of Jesus Christ, who is the perfect sacrifice God would provide as atonement for the sins of His people (Romans 8:3, Hebrews 10).

It is not surprising to me now that I’ve been to the Holy Land, to understand who the Lamb is. I stood at the place called the “Shepherd’s Field.” At the birthplace of Jesus in nearby Bethlehem - the Shepherds would know Jesus because he would be the only newborn and as is well known from the often told Christmas story found in the Gospel of Luke 2, Mary wrapped her newborn son “in swaddling clothes” (Luke 2:7).

What on earth were swaddling clothes, and why would Luke have bothered to include this detail in his account of the birth of Jesus? Swaddling clothes are strips of cloth. This white linen was used to wrap the baby Jesus at the moment of His birth. The same swaddling clothes were used by the priests after they had bathed and cleaned the lambs that would be slaughtered at the temple in Jerusalem.

The clothes were used to wipe dry and clean the lamp going to be sacrificed. The newborn Jesus is already clean and pure. Jesus would go to Jerusalem, 30 years later, to be slaughtered for all humankind that would accept Him as Lord and Savior.

All Christendom believes that it is through His death on the cross as God’s perfect sacrifice for sin and His resurrection three days later that we can now have eternal life if we believe in Him. The fact that God himself has provided the offering that atones for our sin is part of the glorious good news of the gospel that is so clearly declared in 1Peter 1:18-21. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed town to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamp without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”

I rejoice in saying Have a Very Merry Christmas and Praise God for the Lamb!

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