TITLE: Special Lamb January 7, 2019
By Marlene Custer
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“Oh, Micah, those reports of Jesus being alive do not surprise me,” Jacob replied to his grandson’s sharing of the latest news around Jerusalem. We
Micah furrowed his brow. “Do you really think it is possible? Do you think He could survive being crucified? I heard it was horrid.”
Jacob set down his cup of goat’s milk, and wiped his mouth. “Yes, Micah. Yes I do.” Jacob rubbed his jaw. “Let me tell you something that happened many years before you were born. I remember the night clearly...just as if it were yesterday.” Jacob was silent a moment, then he spoke slowly. “Your father was still a student. I raised sheep for the Temple sacrifices. One cold night we were in the fields near Bethlehem. The other shepherds and I built a blazing fire. It didn’t appear that any new lambs would be born that night, so we were swapping stories and keeping our hands and feet warm around the crackling fire. All of a sudden, a bright light split the darkness, and an angel appeared before us.”
“An angel?” Micah sat up straighter, his eyes wide open. “How’d you know it was an angel?”
“Ohhh, there was no doubt. The brilliant light nearly blinded us. I was paralyzed with fear.”
“That must’ve been scary!”
“It was, until the angel spoke. With a strong, clear voice the angel said, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’ As soon as the angel began speaking, an indescribable peace washed over me. Others that were there said they felt the same.”
“Wow! Did the angel say anything else?”
“Oh, yes. The angel said, ‘This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ By now our mouths had dropped open and our eyes were open wide as saucers. Do you know why this was so astonishing to us, Micah?”
Micah had a puzzled look on his face. “No, Grandfather. Why?”
“Well, Micah, we knew all about mangers and swaddling cloths. Our job was to deliver and care for the lambs that’d be sacrificed at the Temple. These lambs had to be perfect—no blemishes or defects. So when such a lamb was born we wrapped it in swaddling cloths to protect it from stumbling and becoming blemished or defective in any way. Often we laid the lamb in the manger while it gained strength.”
Micah leaned in, wide-eyed. “Did you look for the baby?”
“Absolutely! But let me tell you what happened before we started searching. As soon as the angel finished his announcement, suddenly a huge crowd of angels joined him, and they were all praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men...’. Oh, Micah, it gives me goosebumps just telling the story again!”
Micah rubbed his arms. “Me, too.”
“When the angels left, we looked at one another. No one said anything for a few minutes. Then everyone started speaking at once, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened.”
“Did you find the baby?”
“Yes,” Jacob replied softly. “Yes, we did. We found him just as the angels had said. When my eyes gazed upon that babe, I felt a peace and calm like I never felt before. I dropped to my knees as did most of the others.” Jacob sat silently, looking past Micah.
Micah picked up a cluster of grapes and picked one off. “What about the baby’s parents. Were they there?”
“Oh, yes. After we adored the babe for a time, we told them what had happened out in the field. The parents seemed to know that there was something special about this baby. The mother didn’t say much, but she listened to our report with an indescribable expression on her face. We were so excited, we ran through the streets of Bethlehem telling everyone about what we had seen and heard. Everyone was amazed.”
Jacob sighed, then Micah asked, “What happened to the baby? Did any other weird stuff happen?
“Well, not for many years. The little family seemed to disappear for a while. I heard a couple of reports about a precocious child a few years later at Passover time. But I never saw the family again. You know, I often wondered for many years why such a special baby would be born among animals.”
“Right,” Micah nodded his head. “A king should be born in a palace.”
“Exactly!” Jacob paused to finish his milk, then he continued, “just about three years ago, when John the Baptizer was so popular, I was in Jerusalem for Passover and Jesus was there performing miracles and irritating the religious leaders. I was certain he was the babe I had seen so long ago. Then I heard from more than one source that the Baptizer had referred to Jesus as ‘the Lamb of God’. It hit me like a lightening bolt. Now, after the events of recent weeks, I am beginning to understand the connection to the sacrificial lambs,” Jacob replied thoughtfully. “Jesus is more than an earthly king. Jesus is the Lamb of God — the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.”
“Awesome,” Micah uttered softly.
“I believe that, Micah. I believe it with all my heart,” Jacob finished, his voice choking with emotion.
Micah was quiet for a moment, then perked up. “I understand that many of Jesus’ followers are already gathering in Jerusalem for the Day of Pentecost. There is speculation that something big may happen. Are you going, Grandfather?”
“No, Micah, my strength is failing. But I want you to go. Go and continue your search for Truth.”
“I will, Grandfather. I will go.”
Read Acts 2 to find out what happened in Jerusalem.
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