Sunday, April 4, 2010

Why We Love Lambs

Have you noticed that we have a sizable flock of sheep here at the Baybeary Cottage?  Well, we thought that since today is their favorite holiday, we'd explain why!

A long time ago, the first man and woman made a huge mistake, and that brought something called Sin into the world.  Sin makes us imperfect.  We do things we aren't supposed to do, and we don't do the good things that we should do.  No matter how hard we try, we mess up and sin.  In Old Testament times, God gave his people, the Israelites, a way to gain forgiveness for their sins.  They would sacrifice a perfect lamb without blemish to God to pay for their sins. When they were slaves in Egypt, God sent a series of plagues to show Pharaoh who is the true God and to persuade Pharaoh to release them.  He told them to pick out a special lamb, kill it, and then spread the lamb's blood on their door posts and over their doors.  That night, the Angel of Death went throughout Egypt and killed the first born son of every household.  But the Angel of Death Passed Over the homes with the lamb's blood on the door posts.  After that plague, Pharaoh told the Israelites to get out of Egypt!  The Jews celebrate this holiday as Passover.

Many, many years later, a Jewish man, who was born in a town called Bethlehem, rode a donkey into Jerusalem.  The people were really excited because they had heard about how he had raised Lazarus from the dead.  They hoped that he would be their new leader.  The man, Jesus, and his disciples celebrated Passover together.  But there were a lot of people who were jealous of his popularity and insecure in their positions of power.  Those people conspired to arrest Jesus and persuaded the political powers to crucify Jesus.  But that was all part of God's plan, because Jesus was God's son, the Messiah, He was perfect!  His sacrifice paid the debt of ALL sin, from the first man to the last.  There's nothing we can do wrong that God won't forgive, because Jesus already paid the price of sin with his suffering and death on the cross.  All we have to do is believe it!  God let us know that Jesus' death was sufficient when Jesus was resurrected from the dead on Easter Sunday!  Jesus appeared to women, the disciples and hundreds of other people before he ascended into Heaven.  The disciples went from being frightened cowards, hiding from the authorities in a dark, locked room to being bold proclaimers of the good news.  They were willing to die martyrs' deaths because they knew the Truth of the Gospel message and that they could look forward to eternal life with God in Heaven.  And centuries later, we have the same hope.

So now we don't need to sacrifice lambs, because the Lamb of God paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.  We may be dumb, stupid, stubborn sheep, but God still loves us and offers us the gift of salvation for believing in Him.