Summary: Servanthood, Humility, God's Plan
THEN AND NOW – Swaddling Clothes Become a Servant’s Towel
Luke 2:6-7(pg. 715) December 27, 2015
Have you ever heard the saying “Clothes make the man?” or “Dress for success?” or “She’s decked out to the nines!” It comes from a Robert Burns poem which means... “dressed to perfection!”
Jimmy and I had a conversation the other day...“Jimmy’s my future son-in law this coming July...The conversation followed Kari and Karissa getting ready for a Christmas party...both had put on at least 3 different outfits before the event...Jimmy looked at me and said, “How many outfits did you put on?” I said “one.” “I chose a brown shirt with a collar.” We both laughed and said, “but they’re worth the wait huh?”
Let me show you a very scientific pie chart
SHOW PIE CHART PIC
Maybe the reason for this time difference is found in our closets.
SHOW PICUTRE OF MEN VS. WOMEN CLOSETS
I’m not saying that clothes aren’t important, but in most cases they hold a significantly different priority to men and women...about what they say about who we are...and about how much we care about what others see.
If by some miracle I have a conversation with Bobby, Brian or Tony about what they’re going to wear to an event it would go like this... “You wearin’ a T-shirt and Jeans...yeah!...cool...me too!”
But the same conversations between two women, I’m going to bet would be radically different...it would involve color...shoes...style...belts...purses...possibly makeup...accessories...and an absolute commitment that it wouldn’t be the same thing.
Uniforms make it easy for us all...Whether it’s in schools...or when required by a person’s job...in the military...the medical field...the police or firemen....We see the uniform and we instantly know a lot about that person.
Luke’s gospel tells us after Mary gave birth to Jesus “she wrapped him in cloths.” His first clothes are “swaddling cloths.”
In fact we learn that when the angel of the Lord appears to the shepherds, and the glory of the Lord shines around them the angel says:
“Do not be afraid (probably not so easy), I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.”
This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths...and laying in a manger.”
Remember signs are meant to give information about future events...signs let you know about what’s coming...and the angel specifically says one of these signs that identifies the Savior is “You’ll find Him wrapped in cloths.” Why tightly wrapped cloths...why are swaddling cloths so important?
I. LAMBS MEANT FOR SACRIFICE COULD HAVE NO BLEMISH
Micah 4:8 says “As for you, watch tower of the flock, stronghold of Daughter Zion, the former dominion will be restored to you...KINGSHIP will come to daughter Jerusalem.”
The watchtower of the flock was Migdal-Eder (Tower of the Flock) and it’s located about 5 miles outside of Bethlehem...It’s where shepherds tended their flocks...The newborn lambs that were set apart for temple sacrifices were bound with strips of cloth and laid in mangers so they would not be trampled or bruised, because they could not be blemished.
I doubt sincerely that this sign was lost on these shepherds... “who came to Bethlehem to see this thing that had happened, which the Lord had told them about.” (Luke 2:15)
No wonder “all who heard it were amazed, concerning what had been told them about this child by the shepherds.” (v. 18)
Fast forward to Jesus’ burial...The Lamb of God has died on a cross taking away the sins of mankind...The sins of all the people His sinless body has been beaten...His blood has poured out from His hands, feet, head and side.
Isaiah’s prophecy has come true.
ISAIAH 53:4-9 (p. 511)
We are all wayward, rebellious sheep...He was led as an obedient lamb to slaughter, we protest our goodness...He is silent...He died for our transgressions and is put in a rich man’s grave...Listen:
MATTHEW 27:57-60 (p. 698)
By the way...all this happens during Passover...remember...where the blood of a perfect Lamb is applied to a home for protection of the death angel while Israel was in slavery in Egypt.
Shepherds knew about perfect lambs’ and sacrifice.
No wonder they were the first visited by God...and given a “sign” wrapped in swaddling clothes at His birth...and wrapped in swaddling cloths at His burial.
From the very beginning we learn a great deal about God’s plan from the cloths that became a baby’s clothes...but let me take you to another cloth that says just as much about Jesus’ heart.
II. THE HUMILITY OF THE TOWEL
When Jesus died he only had one thing on Him of physical value. Scripture tells us “when the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into 4 shares, one for each of them...with the undergarment remaining, the garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.