Stephanie Pavlantos: The Coat and The Lamb
One Sunday, a friend commented that my husband’s coat reminded her of the ’70s. We laughed, agreeing. My husband has taken good care of his coat so it doesn’t look worn at all.
Speaking of clothes, when the garments of the priests wore out, the priests tore them and used them for other things because they could throw none of them away. God made these clothes holy. These pieces of cloth were used to wrap around the scrolls of the Torah, or Law to protect them from dirt and wear and tear. The priests used other strips of the cloth for torch wicks within the Temple.
And yet, they used others for the sacrificial lambs. There was a group of shepherds known as Levitical shepherds who worked for the high priest. They lived in Bethlehem and raised sheep for the Temple sacrifices. As new lambs were born, the shepherds swaddled them with cloth from the old priestly garments to protect them from cuts and bare spots in their wool.
They needed to be perfect.
The night Jesus (Yeshua) was born, it was these shepherds who the angels visited with the Good News. They were told there would be a sign, a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths….Hebrew tradition tells us Mary would have wrapped Jesus in the same priestly cloths as the sacrificial lambs. That was the sign these shepherds understood.
God gave another sign or clue way back in Genesis. This sign is easy for us to miss, but the Jewish people who heard the story of Abraham and Isaac didn’t miss it.
Abraham was told by God to take his only son Isaac and sacrifice him.
Genesis 22:1-2 ESV reads, “After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
After getting everything ready for the sacrifice, Isaac asked his father, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” Genesis 22:7-8 ESV.
But, did God provide a lamb? Genesis 22:13-14 tells us, “And Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, ‘The Lord will provide.’”
Does it matter that God provided a ram instead of a lamb? Yes, it does.
The rabbis read these stories aloud to the Jewish people, so they recognized that God provided a ram instead of a lamb. Since God did not provide the lamb in this situation, the Jewish people waited for Him to provide the Lamb.
That is why John’s announcement in John 1:29 is very important! “The next day [John] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” Only John called Jesus (Yeshua) a Lamb. He was the expected Lamb and prophet the Jewish people were waiting for. Glory!
Are you ready to meet the Savior when He comes again?
Heavenly Father, thank You for providing salvation through Jesus (Yeshua). I accept His gift of eternal life.
Genre: Bible study
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