No Lamb For The Lamb

lamb of God

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If a woman has conceived, and borne a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days; as in the days of her customary impurity she shall be unclean. And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. She shall then continue in the blood of her purification thirty-three days. She shall not touch any hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary until the days of her purification are fulfilled. ‘But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her customary impurity, and she shall continue in the blood of her purification sixty-six days. ‘When the days of her purification are fulfilled, whether for a son or a daughter, she shall bring to the priest a lamb of the first year as a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove as a sin offering, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then he shall offer it before the Lord, and make atonement for her. And she shall be clean from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who has borne a male or a female. ‘And if she is not able to bring a lamb, then she may bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons–one as a burnt offering and the other as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’ ” (Leviticus 12:1-8)

No Lamb For The Lamb

The birth of Jesus was in most parts not uncommon with all births. His conception was miraculous but the process of birthing was the same as in all women. When her time was complete, Mary gave birth to Jesus in the city of Bethlehem as prophesied by Micah. In accordance with the Law of Moses, Mary was unclean for seven days and on the eighth day, Jesus was circumcised and His name given by the Angel before He was conceived in the womb. The Law prescribed that Joseph and Mary bring the baby Jesus to the Temple with a lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or turtledove for a sin offering. However, a provision in the Law was given if the family did not have a lamb or could not afford a lamb, two turtledoves or two pigeons could be substituted. Luke writes that Joseph and Mary brought the sacrifice according to the exception.

It would seem clear the family of Jesus was not affluent. The King of Kings came into the world as an impoverished family. He who would be called by John the Baptist the Lamb of God was presented at the Temple without a lamb. His impoverished presentation before the house of the Lord was an eternal testimony of the poverty He suffered in coming to the earth to die for all men. The confusion for many of His day was the quiet manner He presented Himself as the Messiah. For many, the demeanor of the man from Nazareth did not fit the model of the greatness of the coming King. Jesus lived an austere life. He had no home and no place to rest His head. He was of the lower class as the son of a carpenter. His brothers and sisters were known by name and they were of no distinct character. Remarkably, the Son of God who formed the world came into the world as a servant.

What made Jesus great was not what he owned or His pedigree of family. Men measure success by the wealth of things and treasure of knowledge. Jesus was a common person who came with the simple message of divine redemption. His preaching was plain yet forceful. The spirit of His presence was demonstrative and people realized He came with authority. His birth was as humble as possible. Born in a place where animals are tended to a family of no importance. Eight days later as an infant child, the Son of God was presented to the Temple without a lamb. It would not matter because He would grow up to become the Lamb of God.

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