Friday, December 10, 2010

Significant Trivia

When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'"
Matthew 2:3-6

A bit of shepherd trivia.

Shepherds, in Jesus' day, were considered one of the lowest classes of people. They were so suspect as liars and thieves that their testimonies were not accepted in a court of law. Yet they were the ones to whom the angels first announced the birth of Jesus, and were probably the first to begin spreading the word to others.

Shepherding was the chief industry of the little town of Bethlehem. The animals were raised to be sold in Jerusalem, to pilgrims who needed them for sacrifices in their religious ceremonies. Lambs were killed to atone for the sins of the people who gave them at the temple for sacrifice.

So this little town is where the Lamb of God was "produced"--the lamb whose sacrificial death on the cross was pre-ordained to "take away the sin of the world." (John 1:29)

With the destruction of the Jewish temple in 60 A.D., the practice of animal sacrifice was discontinued, and has not been re-instituted.

I love Christmas!


Lisa said...

Wow! The whole purpose of the lambs the shepherds were guarding was to be offered as a sacrifice. And this is where the Lamb of God was born. The Ultimate Sacrifice. There are no coincidences in God's Kingdom. Thank you for sharing this. Just amazing!

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