In our childhoods, most of us learned the little song entitled, “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” It went something like this,
“Mary had a little lamb.
Its fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went.
That lamb was sure to go.”
As we sang that song while we were children, we had no idea that something like that had actually happened. It never dawned on our childish minds that the Bible told the same story. That a young girl named Mary did indeed have a little Lamb.
“Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son;”
Well, that’s what is happening in these verses in Matthew. It seems that Joseph is engaged to a young maiden named Mary. They were betrothed, which means that they were legally married, but were not yet living together. During this time, word comes to Joseph that Mary is pregnant. Joseph knows that he isn’t the father, but he is sure someone is! He believes that Mary has been unfaithful to him and he decides to get a divorce. Yet, because he loves Mary, he wants to do this thing quietly because the penalty for committing Mary’s crime was death by stoning. However, before he can put his plan into action, God sends an angel to tell Joseph that things aren’t at all like he thinks they are. He tells Mary’s husband that she is carrying a child that was miraculously fathered by the Holy Spirit of God. He is told that this child will be a special child with a special mission. That, in fact, this child is to be the Savior.
Joseph’s reaction is to take Mary into his home and wait with her until the day the baby is born. What they didn’t realize is that this baby, who was growing in Mary’s body was none other than the Lamb of God who would one day die for the sins of all men. Verse 25 tells us that Mary eventually delivered this child. When she did, the Lamb of God was born. In one of the greatest stories in all of Scripture, we learn the truth that Mary Had A Little Lamb. It is that Lamb, that special baby boy, that saves us all.
But what makes this little child, this Lamb so special:
1. Jesus Christ had no human father! His Father is God Himself! What makes the conception of the Lord Jesus so fantastic is the fact that He was born to a virgin! Now we all know the traditional method by which babies are conceived and brought into this world. However, the conception of Jesus was different! His mother was a virgin.
2. From the day Jesus came into this world until the day He ascended back into Heaven, He was a very special person indeed! He could feed multitudes, open blinded eyes, heal the sick and even raise the dead. Walking on water posed no problem for the Lord Jesus, neither did stilling a violent storm. Everything He did marked Him as being special. These activities were merely proof that He was indeed who He claimed to be.
3. Jesus was never shy about telling people who He was. Jesus claimed that He was the Son of God in Heaven. All the people supposed Him to be the son of Joseph, Mark 6:3. However, Jesus claimed a special relationship with the Father in Heaven. It was these very claims that ultimately lead to His death, and resurrction.
As we can see, Mary’s little Lamb came into this world for one purpose. It was not to walk on water, it was not to heal sick folks, it was not to open blinded eyes, it was not to calm storms. Jesus came for the sole purpose of dying! He was a special Lamb, because He came to be a sacrificial Lamb. You see, Jesus came to die for the sins of humanity. Luke tells us that His mission in this world was “to seek and to save that which was lost“, Luke 19:10. If He was going to accomplish this, then a price had to be paid, and He paid that price when He went to the cross and died for our sins.
If the story ended here, with Jesus dead on a cross, this would be a sad story to tell. There would be no reason to celebrate Christmas and no need to come to church. There would be no salivation and no hope for our souls. If He died and that was the end of Him, that would be the end of us as well. But, thank God, the story doesn’t end there! Three days after Jesus died on that cross, He emerged, alive and well, from the tomb, Matt. 28:1-6.
In conclusion, when you think about Christmas this year, rushing around trying to buy that last minute gift, or attend yet another boring office party, try to keep things in perspective. Christmas is about that special day when God sent His Son into the world to be the sacrifice for our sins. Christmas is about more than presents, brightly-lit Christmsas trees, endless parties, and long to-do lists. Its about us all stopping for a moment, and asking ourselves-Yes, Mary had a little Lamb, do you?