With lambing season over, fields across the land are dotted with lambs grazing in pastures new. For many shepherds, the joy of seeing the new additions to the landscape is mixed with the sadness of losing lambs along the way.
But all is not lost: the lambs that didn't make it play a vital part in helping lambs that have been rejected by their mothers, or indeed lambs that have been left orphaned. For centuries, shepherds have been cutting the fleeces from dead lambs and placing them on rejected/orphaned lambs, to enable them to bond with another ewe until she eventually adopts it.
When the lambing season is over, the shepherd marks all of their sheep with a unique mark on their fleece which identifies them as belonging to that particular farm.
In the Old Testament of the Bible, it was necessary to sacrifice the best lamb of the flock in order to atone for sin. When Jesus came to this Earth, he became the lamb that was sacrificed, meaning that our sins were eternally atoned for and we no longer have to sacrifice our livestock.
"For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God." - 1 Peter 1:18-19
Jesus' sacrifice meant that - like orphaned sheep- we are able to be adopted as God's own sons and daughters, and marked as belonging to Him through the blood of His son - Jesus. With this adoption comes a new lease of life, unconditional love and a new identity that is found in Christ. Belonging to God's family means that we are accepted just as we are and have the freedom to be exactly who we were created to be.