Charles Shultz had to fight the network to have Linus read the Christmas story. He refused to take it out. The animation was considered crude, the music unconventional, and the Scripture reading inappropriate. Shultz won the day and the rest is history: A Christmas classic was born. In the Luke 2 reading is a well travelled, but rarely understood phrase about "Swaddling clothes."
Luke 2:12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.
Why were the swaddling clothes a sign to the shepherds? First, we must remember that the Messiah was predicted and prophesied to be a “son of David.” His genealogy was a key indicator to knowing who was the one truly sent from God. Solomon wrote a book around 1000 BC called the Wisdom of Solomon where he states:
Wisdom of Solomon 7:4 “I was nursed in swaddling clothes”
So wrapped in Swaddling Clothes was a sign or code language that he was David’s son. Just as Solomon was David's real, physical son who was wrapped in "swaddling clothes," the Messiah, the ultimate son of David would also be wrapped in "swaddling clothes" confirming his Davidic lineage.
The Greek word SPARGANOO is translated to our English word "Swaddling Cloths." It comes from the base word “SPA” which means to "DRAW OUT." For readers of Exodus, you will remember that Moses was the Egyptian name given to Moses when he was drawn out of the Nile. Jesus was the ultimate Moses drawn out and wrapped up in flesh for mankind.
The most powerful secret to "swaddling clothes" can be found in reading the only other place where the phrase is used in the Bible. In the Bible, Adoption is a powerful image used to proclaim the main message of the Bible. God offers to adopt us, father us, and bring us into his family. While we might think this imagery is original with the apostle Paul, he probably drew it out of the book of Ezekiel.
In Ezekiel 16, God mentions "Nativity," "Swaddling Clothes" and the concept of adoption. He speaks of Israel (and all of us by implication) as those who were not accepted by our earthly parents. We were not loved, washed, or brought into our family. We were thrown out into a field to die. No one cared enough to wrap us in.... You guess it, "Swaddling clothes." God happens by and sees us struggling and dying. He finds us, loves us, cleans us, adopts us, and parents us to maturity. Read the words carefully and slowly and feel the power of knowing that the child wrapped in swaddling clothes was offering to adopt us and wrap us up in the ultimate swaddling garments.
4 As for your nativity, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed in water to cleanse you; you were not rubbed with salt nor wrapped in swaddling cloths...you were thrown out into the open field, when you yourself were loathed on the day you were born.
6 “And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ 7 I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful. Your breasts were formed, your hair grew, but you were naked and bare. 8 “When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,” says the Lord God.
This Christmas, God offers to adopt anyone who feels thrown into a field, discarded, and rejected. He longs to wrap you in the loving adoptive clothes that Mary and Joseph wrapped their son in as well.
For more information, check out Godonomics DVD at www.godonomics.com, Godonomics: How to Save Our Country and Protect Your Wallet whoever books are sold, or Fast Track Bible DVD curriculum at www.fasttrackbible.com.
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