Years ago, I was driving down a Colorado road with a nativity scene coming up on my left. As I passed by, I looked over and was stunned as never before by such a scene. It wasn’t the nativity set itself that moved me, but on a hill behind it was a cross.
We often think of Christ as the lamb at Easter, the Great Shepherd the rest of the year and a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes at Christmas. That baby was the Lamb, come to be slaughtered.
Exodus 12:5-6 described the lamb sacrifice; “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year … Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it…”
Then Isaiah 53:7 prophesied of Christ’s role; “…He was led as a lamb to the slaughter…”
Finally, in John 1:29 John the Baptist officially introduced Christ to the world; “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
Think About it
Protect the sheep. They are vulnerable and (at least for the most part) innocent.
As my wife first suggested to me, baby Jesus needed active protection (not just by prayer or the nature of who He was) by those so entrusted. Jesus was more innocent than any baby before or since and just as vulnerable. What an honor and responsibility for Joseph and Mary to have been assigned His guardians.
Imagine Joseph’s rabbi saying, “He’s from God? Well then, let God protect Him. Just pray and trust; God will do the rest.”
Honor the sheep. I’ve discredited them at times. I publicly apologize for every time I’ve discredited sheep in any way.
The pillar dissertation of a guardian is Lt. Col. Dave Grossman’s On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs (from his book, “On Combat.”). I know Dave personally; he doesn’t mince words. He says, “I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep.”
I continue using his term “sheepdog” for protectors, as it is most descriptive of the calling. The concern is that some miss the message and consider the sheepdog an elitist. Never forget you are both a sheep and a sheepdog. Isaiah 53:6 remains true today, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray…”
Christ was both the quintessential lamb and shepherd. When you speak of sheep, take heed who you are speaking of.
Protect and honor them as you would the baby in that manger.