Adrian Rogers - Mary's Little Lamb
Be finding, if you would please, Luke chapter 2. When I was a little boy, we learned a nursery rhyme, I think you learned it too. "Mary had a little lamb, his fleece was white as snow". I want to talk to you today about Mary's little Lamb. We read about that little Lamb in Luke chapter 2. Mary's little Lamb, beginning in verse 7 and let's read through verse 11, "And she brought forth her first born Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord.'"
A little Lamb was born in Bethlehem. The great I AM was born a Lamb. It was not incidental and not accidental that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. I have visited Bethlehem many times. But Bethlehem is a little village about five miles south of Jerusalem, and most of us would have heard very little if anything about it had not a little Lamb been born in Bethlehem. But I say it was not accidental, nor was it incidental. It had been prophesied for centuries in Micah chapter 5 and verse 2, "But thou Bethlehem, Ephrathah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting".
How fitting that Mary's Lamb would be born in Bethlehem. Did you know that for centuries the Jewish priests had been raising Passover lambs in Bethlehem? Those fields outside of Bethlehem, those shepherd's fields were fields where very special breed of sacrificial lamb was being raised and nurtured that those lambs might be brought to Jerusalem. And at Passover, they might be slaughtered. It was there where God's perfect Lamb, the Lord Jesus, was born. And, as we know, that He was born in a stable, and how fitting that a sacrificial Lamb would be born in a stable. Mary had a little Lamb, now listen to me, your destiny and the destiny of the world is wrapped up in Mary's little Lamb.
Four things I bring to your attention today about Mary's little Lamb. Very first thing I want you to understand with me today is what I'm going to call the prophecy of that Lamb. Would you take your Bibles and go backward to the book of Exodus, and find Exodus chapter 12? It's worth turning to. Turn to Exodus chapter 12 and let me read the first six verses, but before I read them, let me give you the setting. The Jews have found themselves in bondage, in slavery. They're down in Egypt. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is a cruel taskmaster, and they're there with the gnawing, tormenting chains of bondage. And they need to be redeemed. They need to be set free, and God has a plan to redeem His people and to set them free, and that plan is wrapped up in a little lamb. We're talking about the lamb in prophecy.
Notice Exodus 12 verse 1 through verse 6, "And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 'This month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, "In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man..."'" now watch this, "'"...a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house". And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it according to the number of souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.'" And here's the qualifications for the lamb, "'Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month. And the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.'"
Now you think about it, they're slaves, and God is going to deliver them. And what is He going to use to deliver them? A lamb. Of all of the creatures, the most gentle, the most meek, the most defenseless is a lamb. A lamb has no fangs, it has no claws, it cannot run, it cannot fight, it can frighten nothing. A lamb seems to say to you, "Are you hungry? Eat me. Are you cold? Shear me". A lamb seems to present itself to the slaughter. I heard a man tell one time of another man who worked in a slaughterhouse, and they slaughtered beef cattle. That man thought nothing of his job until one day the slaughterhouse began to process lambs. And a lamb came through the chute, and he said, "It was my responsibility to cut the throat of that lamb". He said, "I'd never done that before". He said, "I'd watch the steer as they would wrestle and fight, but," he said, "the little lamb just laid his neck back". And he said, "I put in the knife and the red blood came out on my hand, and the little lamb looked up at me, and then licked the blood from my hand". He said, "I laid down my knife. I resigned my job". He said, "I couldn't do that. I could not take the life of a little lamb".
So meek, so mild. Now, God is going to use a lamb to deliver them from Egypt. Do you know what the symbol of Egypt was? It was a serpent. Long ago, I visited the British Museum in London. I wanted to see the section on Egyptology. And I went in there specifically to see the crowns that the Pharaohs would wear. And as you see that Pharaoh's crown, you see that serpent coiled upon that crown there. As you see the Pharaoh's scepter you see that serpent coiled upon that scepter, and you're going to have a battle here. It is a battle between a Lamb and a serpent. A seemingly defenseless, gentle, weak, meek, mild lamb and a venomous, hissing, poisonous serpent.
I want you to notice this Lamb, the lamb in prophecy. Number one it was a special lamb. Look, if you will in Exodus 12 verses 5 and 6, "Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year; ye shall take it out from the sheep or from the goats". One blemish would disqualify this lamb in prophecy. The priests would take those lambs, those Passover lambs and examine them so carefully; they would open the mouth and look inside the mouth. They would examine the eyelids. They would look inside the ears. One blemish would disqualify this lamb, because he was the lamb in prophecy, and he spoke of Mary's little Lamb, a Lamb without spot or blemish, according to the Bible.
But not only was he a special lamb, look in verse 6. He was a slain lamb. Look at it, Exodus 12:6, "Ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month, and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it, shall kill it in the evening". They took this lamb on the tenth day, kept it till the fourteenth day, and on the fourteenth day, at 3 p.m. in the afternoon, the father of the family would lift back the chin of that little lamb, cut the throat and the blood of that lamb would be caught in a basin. Another prophecy of Mary's Lamb that would one day be butchered on a cruel Roman cross.
A special Lamb, a slain Lamb, but a saving Lamb. Look now in Exodus 12 verse 7, "And they shall take of the blood and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it". Skip down to verse 12 and 13, "And I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt will I execute judgment: I AM the Lord. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where you are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt".
This lamb, special lamb, slain lamb, was a saving lamb. God said, "Take the blood, put it on the door post. Put it on the lentil of the house. So that when everybody comes in the house they will come in through and under the blood, because that's the way they will be safe. Because my angel of judgment, my death angel is coming through the land of Egypt". But God said, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you". Now, they could have put poetry on the door; it would have no good. They could've encrusted the door with wonderful proverbs; it would've done no good. They could've overlaid the door with jewels and gold; it would've done no good. They could've put a little perfect, living lamb outside that door; it would've done no good. Salvation does not come from the life of Christ, but from the death of Christ. Salvation is not learning lessons from the life of Christ, but receiving life from the death of Christ. "When I see the blood, I will pass over you". For the Bible says in Hebrews 9:22, "Without shedding of blood, is no remission".
But now wait a moment, this special lamb, which was a slain lamb, which was a saving lamb, then became a shared lamb. Look in Exodus 12 verse 8, "And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs shall they eat it". That lamb was roasted. Not only was it slain, it was roasted. It speaks of Jesus who endured the fires of God's wrath for us, as Jesus baptized His soul in Hell for us. And they roasted their lambs. Can you imagine what it must have been like that night in Egypt? All the Egyptians smell lamb roasting. A quarter of a million roasting lambs. And these people, who'd slain that lamb, were now to eat that lamb. They ate it, they were to eat all of it. And as they were sharing a meal, a bunch of slaves were becoming a nation. And as they walked out of Egypt, a lamb walked out inside of them.
Now you understand me, friend. It is Christ in you, the hope of glory! It is Christ that gives you your strength! That lamb, that special lamb, that slain lamb, that saving lamb, was a shared lamb. What a prophecy of Mary's Lamb that you and I feed upon day by day. So, the first thing I want you to see as we think about Mary's Lamb, was what I want to call a Lamb in prophecy. And now I want you see secondly the Lamb in history. Because, you see, Moses' lamb only prophesied Mary's Lamb. Mary had a little Lamb. John the Baptist knew that the babe that was born in Bethlehem was a Lamb. When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming, John the Baptist said in John chapter 1 verse 29, you remember it? What'd he say? "Behold the Lamb of God. Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world"!
Now I want to say about Jesus. Number one, He was a special Lamb. Jesus was a Lamb without spot, without blemish. He was the virgin born Son of God. He was a miracle Lamb. You say, "Pastor Rogers, I believe that a virgin birth is an impossibility". Well, I do too. But, I also believe with God all things are possible. With God all things are possible. And that little baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger was and is the eternal, uncreated, self-existing, Word made flesh; the Great I AM became a Lamb. The Infinite became an infant, and God lay in a manger. He was a special Lamb without spot or blemish, He was a slain Lamb. Remember what John the Baptist said in John chapter 1 verse 29, "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world". Why was He born of a virgin? So that He could be sinless. Why was He sinless? So He could make a blood atonement. Remember, the Bible says it is the blood that makes atonement for your sin.
The Bible says in Hebrews 9:22, "Without the shedding of blood, is no remission". Why couldn't God just overlook our sin? If God would overlook our sin, and just say, "That's all right, I forgive it, and there's no blood atonement," God Himself would be unjust. God would be unholy. There needed to be a sinless sacrifice, no child of Adam could satisfy, because, "In Adam all die". First Corinthians 15 verse 22. The bloodline comes from the father. The bloodline is not established by the mother, but by the father. None of the baby's blood circulates through the mother's body. The mother may have one blood type, and the child have another. The blood line comes from the father. And while Mary was the earthly mother, God the Father was the heavenly Father, and the blood that flowed through the veins of Mary's Lamb was the very blood of God.
Now I want to give you a verse, I've given it to you before, but I want you to take heed to it. It's in Acts chapter 20 and verse 28, where Paul told the pastors of the church in Ephesus this, "Take heed, therefore, unto yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers to feed the church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood". "Feed the church of God which He," God, "has purchased with His own blood". Whose blood was shed on the cross? God's blood.
You say, "Well, God doesn't have blood, He's a spirit". God had blood when Jesus was here. When Jesus was on this Earth, He had blood. The blood that flowed through the veins of the Son of God was the rich, red, royal blood of Almighty God! He was a special Lamb, He was a slain Lamb, He came as He did, born of a virgin, to be what He was, sinless. He was what He was, sinless, to do what He did, die for our sins. And He died for our sins that He, being what He was, made us what we are not and ought to be, and that is sons of God! He came to Earth that we might go to Heaven. He was born of a virgin that we might be born again. He, friend, was made the Son of Man that you and I might become sons and daughters of God. He died for us. Thank God for that.
Remember that I told you about the Passover lambs that were born in Bethlehem? Have you ever wondered why so much time was given to the last week in the life of Jesus? About one-third of the Gospels is given over to that last week. Why? Because, you see, those Passover lambs, being raised by the priests in the fields of Bethlehem, those shepherds were watching those Passover lambs when the angel appeared to them. And over here, is born Mary's Lamb. The angel says, "There's a Savior born". Well, there came that special day, that we call Palm Sunday. The Lord Jesus is coming down the Mount of Olives, and He is ascending up to the temple mount. The same time the Lord Jesus is going in through that Eastern Gate, those Passover lambs are coming in through the Sheep Gate; the same time. And up there on the temple mount, those priests are examining those Passover lambs to make certain that they're perfect sacrifice.
At the same time, God's Lamb, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world, is being examined by the Sadducees and the Pharisees and the Herodians and the scribes and the Roman officers. They were nit picking. They were examining, trying to find some fault in the Lord Jesus, but Pilate had to confess in Luke 23:22, "I find no fault in Him". They had to confess in John 7 verse 46, "No man ever spake like this man". It became blatantly obvious that every charge that they laid against Him was a blasphemous lie. He was a perfect Lamb. Jesus went from that temple mount to the last supper and then out to dark Gethsemane, and by 9 a.m. He was on His way to the cross. And where was this cross? It was on Mount Moriah. And what was Mount Moriah? That's where the temple was. Where else was Mount Moriah? Mount Moriah was where God had told Abraham in Genesis 22 verse 8, "I will provide Myself a sacrifice".
Right there on Mount Moriah, this same place, this same rocky limestone hill where those lambs were. God's Lamb is being lifted up on a cruel Roman cross. It is three o'clock in the afternoon. The priests are lifting up the chins of those little Passover lambs and they're cutting their throats at the same time the Lamb of God is hanging on that cross! And in John 19:30, He is saying, "It is finished"! It is paid in full. And I want to tell you, priest, you can go home now. We don't need you anymore. Levites, we're finished with you. And shepherds, you don't need to raise any more lambs out in the field of Bethlehem. Because Mary had a little Lamb; His fleece was white as snow. He was a special Lamb. He was a slain Lamb. He was a saving Lamb. The Bible says in First Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 7, "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us".
May I ask you a question? In this Christmas season, have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? I tried my hand at poetry, I thought I would try to rewrite Mary had a little Lamb. Here's what I wrote, "Mary had a little Lamb, His fleece was white as snow. Son of God from Heaven above, for sinners here below. Mary's Son, Eternal God, He, the Great I AM! With wool so white on Christmas night, became a little Lamb. Mary had a little Lamb. His fleece was white as snow. That spotless Lamb was crucified to pay the debt I owe. Oh, spotless Lamb, with wool so white, Thy crimson blood, I know, can take away my crimson sin, and wash me white as snow".
I thank God for Mary's little Lamb that died upon that cross. But not only was this Lamb a special Lamb, not only was this Lamb a slain Lamb, not only was Mary's Lamb a saving Lamb, but Mary's Lamb is to be a shared Lamb. That's why when we come to the Lord's table we are going to have a feast! We're going to have a celebration! We're going to feed upon the Lamb. Because in First Corinthians 11 verses 23 through 25, the apostle Paul said, "I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed took bread. And when He had given thanks He brake it and said, 'Take. Eat. This is My body, which is broken for you. This do in remembrance of Me'. And after the same manner also He took the cup when He had supped, saying 'This cup is the New Testament,'" that is, the new covenant, "'in My blood. This do ye as oft as ye drink it in remembrance of Me.'"
And folks, when we share Lamb, we don't come to mourn a corpse. We come to hail a conqueror. Now, there's something else I want you to see. Not only the Lamb in prophecy, and not only the Lamb in history, but I want you to see the Lamb in victory. Would you take God's Word and turn to Revelation chapter 5 with me for a moment? Revelation chapter 5. The Lamb in prophecy and the Lamb in history is now the Lamb in victory. Read the first seven verses of Revelation chapter 5.
The apostle John is caught up into Heaven. He has a glimpse into glory. He sees the throne of God, and notice, "And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat up on the throne a book written within and on the back side, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, 'Who is worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof?' And no man in Heaven nor in Earth, neither under the Earth, was able to open the book neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, 'Weep not. Behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.' And I beheld," now, notice he's looking for a lion, "And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the Earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne".
Pay attention now, for just a moment as we think about the Lamb in victory. This seven-sealed book is the title deed to the Earth, and the heavens and the netherworld. It represents the right to rule. John the apostle sees this book, and he sees that there's no one who has the secret. There's no one who can break the seals. There's no one who can open the book. No angels in Heaven above can open the book. There's a search sent out throughout all of the Earth and no politician, no religionist, no artist, no scientist, no philosopher, no military genius is able to open the book. There's a search made in the netherworld of Hell, and there's no demon, no power of Satan that can open the book. John is about to weep because, he says, "History is going to come to an untimely end". But the angel says, "John, don't weep. Behold, the Lion-King! Behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah".
And if you're here this morning with a broken heart, I want to say the same thing to you, don't weep. Behold Him! Put your eyes upon the Lord Jesus. And John turns to see the Lion, and he sees the Lamb! And I want you to see Mary's Lamb that he saw. He saw a small Lamb. Look, if you will, in verse 6 of this chapter, Revelation 5, and he says, "In the midst of the four beasts stood a Lamb". This is not the ordinary word for lamb; it means 'A little lamb.' It means pet lamb. It means baby lamb. Remember they were to take a lamb the firstlings of the flock and they were to keep it up for four days? It has the idea of a little household pet. It's the same word that Jesus used to John in John 21:15 when He said, "Feed my lambs". Here is a small lamb. A little lamb! Over here is Satan, the serpent. Over here is antichrist, the beast. Over here is the little Lamb. Mary had a little Lamb. A small Lamb.
But now wait a minute. John also saw a slain Lamb. Look, if you would, in Revelation 5 verse 6, "And in the midst of the elders stood a Lamb as it had been slain". This Lamb still bears the marks of the nails. And He will forever bear the marks of the nails. And when I go to Heaven, I'll see the nail prints in His hand. These are the souvenirs of Earth. The emblems of redemption that He bears forever. A small Lamb, a slain Lamb, but a standing Lamb. Notice again in Revelation 5:6, there, "Stood a Lamb". He laid down in death in a grave, but the grave could not hold Him and He is now standing, making intercession for us. It speaks of the resurrection of the Lamb. And then he sees a strong Lamb.
Notice as it is, He has seven horns. Horns in the Bible are emblematic of power. An animal would take his horns to ram and to butt and to gore and to fight. Notice the contrast, He's a little Lamb. Don't miss the horns. He has seven horns. Seven is the emblem of perfect power. He is, friend, a standing lamb. He is a strong lamb, He is a searching lamb. He is full of eyes. That speaks of intelligence, omniscient. He is omnipotent, He is omniscient. He is the searching Lamb; he knows what you're thinking this very moment. He sees every move that you make. And He is the sovereign Lamb. Look if you will in Revelation 5 verse 7, "And He came," the lamb came, "and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne". He and He alone, Mary's little Lamb is the secret of history. He is the mystery of history. If you were to ask Him, by what right do you have to take that book? He would say, "I have this right, I have the right of creation. I made it all. And then I have the right of Calvary. I died; I shed my blood for it. And I have the right on conquest. I was raised from the dead. And I have the right to take this book and to open it, for I AM the great I AM. And I AM was born a Lamb".
Mary's Lamb was sovereign God. And one last thing, and very quickly, you've seen the Lamb in prophecy, you've seen the lamb in history, you've seen the lamb in victory, but now see the Lamb in majesty. Revelation chapter 5 and verses 8 through 12, look at it, "And when He had taken the book, the four beasts and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, every one of them, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours," that's incense, "which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, 'Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof, for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. And hast made us unto our God kings and priests and we shall reign on the Earth.' And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands saying with a loud voice, 'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.'"
Mary had a little Lamb, His fleece was white as snow. And I know that you'd like to join me this Christmas season to say, "Worthy is the lamb". Exclusively worthy, exceedingly worthy, eternally worthy. In a few days we'll have a new year. And you're going to be thinking about what your plans are for a new year, what you're going to be doing, thinking, your ambitions, your goals. He alone is worthy of your love. He alone is worthy of your life. He alone is worthy of your deepest loyalty. Now look, Mary had a little Lamb, His fleece was white as snow. That little Lamb was crucified to pay the debt you owe. And I'm telling you right now if you will receive Him as your Lord and Savior, His scarlet red blood will take away your scarlet red sin and make you whiter than snow. If you'll trust Him.
Would you bow your heads in prayer? Heads are bowed and eyes are closed. If you're not certain that you're saved, would you like to be saved, would you? Would you like to know that you really do have life? Jesus said, "I've come that you might have life". Could I lead you in a prayer? We'll call this prayer the sinner's prayer. And you can pray and accept Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. You can do it right now. Would you pray this prayer?
Dear God, I know that You love me. Thank You for loving me. And I know that You want to save me. Jesus, You died to save me and You promised to save me if I would trust You. Jesus, I do trust You. I believe You're the Son of God. I believe you paid for my sin with Your blood on the cross. I believe that God raised You from the dead. And now I receive You as my Lord and Savior. Forgive my sin. Cleanse me. Come into my life. Take control of my life and begin today to make me the person You want me to be. And Jesus, give me the courage to make it public. Help me never to be ashamed of You. In Your name I pray, Amen.