Mary had a little Lamb

Written by Julie Steffers

I greet you all in Jesus name. I am titling my message “Mary had a little Lamb”

When people mention Mary had a little lamb the first thing that comes to mind is probably the nursery rhyme, which we are all so familiar with.

An extract is as follows:

Mary had a little lamb
Its fleece was white as snow
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go
He followed her to school one day
That was against the rule
It made the children laugh and play.
To see a lamb at school

When I was a teenager I heard a different version:

Mary had a little lamb

En toe gaan hy dood

She took him to school one day

Tussen twee snye brood

But today I want to talk to you about a different Mary who gave birth to very special Lamb. I tried my hand at poetry and wrote my own version of Mary had a little Lamb, which I will share with you after my message.

I want to take you on a journey to + 6 000 years ago when Adam and Eve ate something they should not have. Something that God clearly told them not to eat. So God confronts Adam about it and Adam points fingers at God saying: “You gave me that woman. She made me do it.” Not only does Eve get the blame but Almighty God does too. “You gave me that woman." God asks Eve for her version and she says: “The snake made me to it.”

So God said to the snake in Genesis 3:15:

And I will put enmity, between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”

Let me paraphrase this verse. God said:

Satan, Mary is going to have a little Lamb, and He is going to defeat you.

Because of what Adam and Eve did we got separated from God and we no longer have direct access to God. Romans 3:23:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Remember Abraham, Isaac and Joseph. Joseph father, Isaac, loved Joseph more than he loved his other sons. He gave him what Pastor Ken calls “A technicoloured dream coat.” I find this very interesting. Do you remember that there is someone in the New Testament that owned a seamless garment that was so valuable that people even casts lots to win it. It belonged to the Lamb we are going to talk about a bit later.

Joseph’s brothers were very jealous and even tried to kill him. He ended up being sold into slavery in Egypt, but Pharaoh loved him. There was great famine in the land of Canaan and Joseph’s sons came to live with him in Egypt. Pharaoh died and the new Pharoah that took over him was very mean one and subjected God’s people to slavery. God called Moses and his brother Aaron to help His people escape Egypt. But Pharaoh was stubborn and God sent 10 plagues to get him to change his mind.

I want to focus a bit on the 10th plague. The death of the first born. You can read about it in Exodus 11:1-10

To protect His children from this plague God institutes the Passover which Jews still observe today. We read about this in Exodus chapter 12

  • The lamb shall be without blemish Verse 5
  • Keep the lamb until the 14th day Verse 6
  • Blood on doorposts Verse 7

To this day, to honour that God spared His people, the Jews place a ‘Mezuzah’, which is a is a small box on the right doorpost of their homes. It contains a parchment scroll with verses from the Torah inscribed on it, including the Shema prayer from (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:13-21). The notion of a mezuzah comes from the Torah, where we read, “And you shall inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:9, 11:20).

  • Eat lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs Verse 8
  • Protection against 10th plaque Verse 12-13
  • Jews instructed to commemorate Passover Verse 14
  • Jews to ‘spring clean’ their homes Verse 5

Have you ever wondered where the term ‘spring clean’ comes from? Passover in the in the Middle East is observed during spring. Jews have to spring clean their homes and remove all yeast.

As soon as the sun sets, the Jews must begin to search for any yeast that might have been left behind. This is to make sure that none was left behind after the spring-cleaning of the house. First, a candle is lit, and a Hebrew benediction is recited. The translation is “Praised are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who has made us holy by commandments and instructed us concerning the burning of the hametz (yeast).

After the procedure a few crumbs of bread are placed where they can be easily found in order to prevent the recitation of the benediction in vain. The following morning the yeast is burnt and again the benediction is recited with a slight difference: “Any leaven that may still be in the house, that I have or have not seen, that I have or have not removed, shall be as if it does not exist, and as the dust of the earth.”

In Exodus 26, God instructs His people to build a contraption (tabernacle) and they must take be able to travel with it. The contraption must contain:

  • Outer gate
    • Altar of sacrifice – Exodus 27: 1-8
    • Outer court yard – Exodus 27:9
    • Laver (To wash hands) – Exodus 30:17-21
  • Holy place
    • Menorah – Exodus 25:31-40
    • Table of shaw bread – Exodus 25:23-30
    • Altar of incense – Exodus 25:10-22
  • Holy of Holies
    • Ark of the covenant - Exodus 25:10

The book of Leviticus sets the guidelines for what animals must be sacrificed for different types of sin. It basically boils down to – For sin forgiveness, there must be a shedding of blood.

A temple was built in Jerusalem and so the Jews no longer needed to carry the contraption around and everything was placed in the temple.  King Solomon built it in 1000 BC after David conquered Jerusalem and made it his capital. The Temple was destroyed in 586 BC by Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, when he conquered Jerusalem. 

The Second Temple period is from 586 BC to AD 70.  In 37 BC, King Herod enlarged the Temple Mount and rebuilt the temple with the consent of the public. The Second Temple was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans.

Today all that is left of the second temple is the Kotel, which we know as the Western Wall or the Wailing Wall,  Jews come to the Wall from all over the world to mourn the destruction of the second temple, which happened in 70 AD and pray prayers into the wall. There is a table with prayer books containing Hebrew prayers which they can read out into the wall. They slot handwritten prayers into crevices of the wall which is later removed and burnt with incense.

In Genesis 12:1-3 God calls Abram and said to him:

1 Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

The prophet Isaiah prophesied that Mary is going to have a little Lamb. Isaiah 7:14 reads:

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Micah prophesied that the Lamb was going to be born in Bethlehem. Micah 5:2:

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.

Remember we spoke earlier on about the shedding of blood. Hebrews 9:22:

“And according to the law almost all things a repurified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

So for forgiveness of sin there has to be shedding of blood. The Lamb shed all of His blood for us for the forgiveness of our sin. When every sin had been paid for he cried a Greek Amaric word “Tetelestai” which meant: "The debt is paid."  Because of this we have direct access to God through Jesus alone. Whether we want to accept the Lamb’s sin forgiveness is a choice that only we can make.

The blessing that God spoke over Abram is not only for Jews, but the same blessing is available for me and for you that are gentiles (non-Jews). Galatians 3:14:

That the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

But there is a condition. We must accept the Lamb as our personal Lord and Saviour.

Sin separated us from God and there is there is only one way for us to get to God. Through Jesus Christ alone. He is the only way we get to God. Not through any form of good works.

So, in closing , here is my version of Mary had a little Lamb

Mary had a little Lamb
Its fleece was soaked in blood.
Nails were driven into His wrists and feet
They pounded the nails hard with a thud
Yet, He uttered not a bleat
They rammed the cross into the ground
Causing Him to suffer extreme pain
In His own blood and plasma He drowned
He did not do this in vain
He did it out of compassion and love
On the third day He had new breath
And reconciled us with His father up above
He crushed satan’s head when He conquered death
For you and me His blood He poured.
I speak to you, sir and ma'am
He wants to be your Lord
For me, for you Mary had a little Lamb

Please pray this prayer with me:

Dear Lord Jesus

I admit that I am a sinner and that I cannot save myself.  I need you Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour, I now turn from my sins and trust you Jesus alone for my eternal life. I ask you Jesus to forgive me and to deliver me from sin’s power and give me eternal life. I now give you Jesus control of my life. From this time forward I will seek to serve you and obey you in all areas of my life.
In Jesus precious name I pray. Amen.

If you prayed this prayer for the first time to Tower Church would like to hear from you.

 God bless