Most everyone has seen at least one of the Marvel Comic Movies, many have seen most, if not all. Individually they have been some of the biggest blockbusters of the last couple decades. Combined they refer to the movies as the MCU, The Marvel Cinematic Universe. Each movie is great on it’s own, but is a part of a larger story when combined with the other movies. Often, connections and realizations are not made from earlier movies until much later in another movie, but when you go back and watch the old movie, there were subtle hints to things to come in later movies. Subtle things, small details at the time, that play a bigger role later.
They call these: Easter Eggs.
It got me thinking about Easter, and it got me thinking about Easter Eggs! No, I am not thinking about hard boiling and dying our favorite breakfast food, but Easter Eggs in the Old Testament about the New Testament that make the Bigger Story so much better than the sum of the individual stories!
There are over a hundred messianic prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament.
From Isaiah 7:14 we know that He was born from a virgin: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and you will call him Immanuel.” The name Immanuel means “God with us” and indicates the divinity of Jesus.
Reaffirming that Jesus is from the line of King David, we have this prophecy from 2 Samuel 7:12-13, which was actually spoken by Samuel to King David: “When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”
From the prophecy of Micah, 5:2 we know He was born into the tribe of Judah in the region of Ephrathah, in the town of Bethlehem: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
Bethlehem, The City of David!
David is one of my favorite historical figures. He was the youngest of the 8 sons of Jesse. He was pretty much the runt of his pack, a mere shepherd boy. A shepherd! Something we hear a lot about in our Christian Faith, but have you ever thought about that profession? Along with fishing, it was the lowest of occupations one could have, you basically live with the sheep, sleep outside, keep away predators!
Sheep are very dumb animals, if one lamb goes off a cliff, other lambs will follow, they are dirty, unable to clean themselves like other animals, they are very prone to “Nose Bugs” the “sheep bot fly”, they lay eggs and the larvae become parasites. Sheep require a shepherd! Like any profession today, there are varying skill sets, and attitudes towards how you do your job. Some Shepherds didn’t care too much about their sheep. David was a Good Shepherd, he took pride in his job. He would put oil on the heads of his lambs to keep the bugs away, he would use his Staff to corral the sheep, to keep them from danger, or to lift them from the water when they fall in. He would use his Rod to scare off predators or control an unruly flock. He was also pretty good with a sling shot! He once killed a Lion and a Bear protecting his flock!
Of course David would go on to slay a Giant and Become a King, play a harp, and write music. I could go on about this guy, but I want to focus on David the shepherd, and how much he used that as a metaphor in his writing. The Rod & Thy Staff Comfort Me. You Anoint My Head with Oil…
What about Bethlehem? What kind of place was Bethlehem? We know Jesus was born there, we know that Joseph and Mary were only there because of the census. We sing about it at Christmas! Bethlehem was the largest exporter in the region of a very specific commodity. Any guesses? Yes, Sheep! But not just any sheep, the sheep coming out of Bethlehem were Blemish Free! They would be wrapped in clothes to protect them because these lambs were being sacrificed, these were the Lambs being used for the Passover. At Passover a Lamb would be sacrificed and it’s blood put on the door post of the house so that the angel of death would “Passover”… i.e. the blood of the lamb would save them.
Shepherds, Lambs, and Bethlehem are all Easter Eggs for a Later Story!
A Thousand Years Later… Jesus is born in Bethlehem, in the same kind of manger as the lambs, wrapped in the same clothes that would keep the lambs blemish free, so that they would be worthy to be later sacrificed.
Who did the Angels appear to and announce the birth of our Savior? Shepherds!
27 Years Later, at the Jordan River, John the Baptist said. “Behold, the Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world”
Again, as Christians we sing about the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. But did you ever connect the dots of, God’s Lamb, was born amongst other sacrificial lambs, and for the same reason!
Now let us fast forward to what would become the final week of the life of Jesus before he is betrayed and crucified…. Guess what week it is? It’s Passover! Everything he did, his whole life has been leading to this moment!
The Lambs of Bethlehem are being shipped to Jerusalem, and Jesus, the Lamb of God, is making his Triumphant Entry!
Jesus squeezed a lot of teaching into this final week, not the least of which was telling his disciples at the last super, that his blood would be shed for the forgiveness of sins, that this was the new and everlasting covenant. God is putting the blood of his lamb on the door post of all of humanity to save us!
In the MCU, the writers and producers all know and intended for the stories to be connected,, but in the Bible, David had no idea at the time, the bigger significance of his shepherd and lamb metaphors. Isaiah had no idea that 1000 years later John the Baptist would refer to Jesus as the Lamb of God.
The writers of these stories were not aware of each other, yet the whole thing plays out like it was written by the same person.
There are all sorts of Easter Eggs!