Luke 2:8-12 was the first scripture I recall memorizing as a child; yet it wasn’t the result of attending Sunday School because we were not a church-going family. No, this scripture memorization was the result of my brothers and I watching a Christmas special on TV—specifically “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” And what better theologian to share this message than the thumb-sucking, blanket-wielding cartoon character, Linus Van Pelt. And who would think that through the medium of an animated Christmas special, God would have Charles M. Schultz, Linus’ creator, share this profound truth about the Passover Lamb. Remarkably so, even now, this gospel truth is still being shared over the airwaves through this program
The Passover Lamb from Bethlehem
But what was so special about the shepherds that the angel appeared to? And why Bethlehem? Why not Jerusalem, which was also referred to as “David’s city”? It was in and around Bethlehem where the passover lambs were raised that were sacrificed in the Temple. The shepherds, though considered lowly and unimportant, were charged with raising and tending those spotless, unblemished lambs.
The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Again, the next day John was standing with two of his disciples and he looked at Jesus as He walked and said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” John 1:29, 35-36 NASB
Jesus is referred to as the Lamb of God. He was the ultimate Passover Lamb. So, in order for the words spoken by the prophet Micah to be fulfilled, Jesus had to be born in Bethlehem.
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2 NASB
Did I know and understand this when I memorized the lines that Linus spoke as I watched as a child? No, but like Mary, I treasured these words, this profound truth in my heart. I am warmed in my soul every Christmas when Linus takes the stage to recite these verses, telling Charlie Brown and the entire viewing audience, the true reason for Christmas.
What about you, friend? Will you take the Baby Jesus from the manger this Christmas to be your Passover Lamb? To be your resurrected Savior? Will you take the angel at his word, “A savior, which is Christ the LORD.” The shepherds rejoiced and were the first to find Jesus, what about you?
LORD Jesus, thank You for coming to earth so many years ago, to take on human flesh and be born the pure, spotless lamb. Thank You for being my ultimate Passover lamb and saving me from my sins. May I be willing to take You from the manger, to the cross to the empty tomb and recognize that I cannot live this life on my own, I need You, LORD Jesus. Come into my life and make me a new creation. Amen.
And there were in the same country, shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, an angel of the LORD came upon them and the glory of the LORD shone round about them and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a savior, tis Christ the LORD.” Luke 2:8-12 KJV