Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes at his birth according to the prophetic descriptions the angels gave to the Shepherds. They found him that way. The Angels said that would be a sign for them. It may not have meant a lot to others because swaddling was not uncommon. Yet the Shepherds practiced it with their sheep to insure that the new born lambs would remain fit for their deaths as sacrifices for the sins of the people. Jesus was wrapped in the swaddling at his birth to speak to them of his perfection as a fitting sacrifice. Mary wrapped him at birth, and Mary wrapped him in his grave clothes as well.

As the perfect sacrifice for our sin, He was wrapped in swaddling at his birth and again upon his death. But he did not remain in the garments of death! He left them behind in the empty tomb as a sign, not to the shepherds, but to us! The empty grave swaddling, the empty tomb is the sign that the dirge of sin and death have been expunged from mankind. Paul writes to the Corinthians (see 1 Corinthians 15:55-58), through faith in Him, we have victory over death and the grave. Death is robbed of its sting. MacDonald, in the Believer’s Commentary put it this way, “ It is a known fact that when certain insects sting a person, they leave their stinger embedded in the person’s flesh, and being thus robbed of their “sting,” they die. In a very real sense death stung itself to death at the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and now the King of Terrors is robbed of his terror as far as the believer is concerned.”

Many of us have been struggling over the events at the elementary school in Connecticut last week. Such evil is hard to process in the view of a God who is supposed to love us and care for us all. In our minds death seems so permanent and irrevocable. But that’s simply not true. The “sting” of death has been destroyed. The “victory” that we think has been won by the grave has been reversed! Paul goes on in this passage in 1 Corinthians to exhort us all to be steadfast, immovable, and abounding in the work of the Lord, “knowing that our labor is not in vain.” You see the truth of resurrection changes everything. It provides hope and steadfastness, and enables us to go on in the face of overwhelming and difficult circumstances. There is so much more to come for us, and for the innocent people who lost their lives last week.