No Lamb But Her Lamb…

by DanWolgemuth on December 10, 2010

The instructions were precise and clear. At the appointed time, Mary, the mother of Jesus was to present her son to the temple priest. And with the presentation came the prescription for the appropriate offering; a lamb and a bird. But an exception was granted… for the mother who couldn’t afford a lamb; two birds would suffice.

And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord… and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” ~ Luke 2:22-24 (ESV)

So when Luke 2 describes the presentation of Jesus in Jerusalem, it vividly exposes the reality of the financial condition of Mary and Joseph. There was no lamb to offer, only two birds. The narrative of the familiar story discloses the austerity into which Jesus was born. The Son of God not only propelled Himself into flesh and blood, but He chose to locate His earthly landing strip with the poor. The King of Kings moved from the throne room of heaven into simplicity. From awesome majesty to scarcity. A stable may have been the only thing that fit the budget… and the innkeeper might have found an appropriate room if the price had been right. And yet, this was God’s plan for His “only begotten.”

It would take thirty-three years before even Mary would realize that she had most certainly brought a lamb to the temple; before she realized that God had paid for what she couldn’t afford. For cradled in the tender teenaged arms of the virgin was the ultimate lamb. The spotless lamb. The final lamb.

Mary’s two doves were a deposit, a layaway, a promise.

For redemption, as a ransom, for our sin.

No longer would the offering be different for rich or poor. The extravagancy of God satisfied the demand… in full and forever.

Perhaps this is part of what Jesus meant when He said He had come to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17)… not just to bring the lamb, but to be the lamb.

Indeed, there was no lamb but her lamb – in Jerusalem and today.

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