Going Deeper with the Message:
A Picture of What Was to Come
by: Andrew Archer
This past Sunday, Pastor Tim continued our series “He is…” by sharing a rather unique title given to Jesus, “Lamb of God.” As we read in the accounts of His life, we see that John the Baptizer called Jesus this when he baptized him. For those of us reading this today, we may know what John was referring to, but those who heard him utter the phrase firsthand, would not have fully understood what he was foreshadowing. There are many accounts in the Old Testament that point to Jesus dying in our place, for our sin, just as first century Israelites would have sacrificed animals as atonement for their sin.
In Genesis 22 we read that after God had finally given Abraham the son promised to him, God asks the unthinkable of him. God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, the son ‘whom he loves.’ The practice of animal sacrifice to atone for sin had already been established by God at this point, but to ask Abraham to sacrifice his own son seems bizarre. Why would God do this? How could God do this? Surely, Abraham would deny God’s request.
Abraham’s response continues the theme of surprising things that happen in this account. He agrees to offer his son as a sacrifice. He wakes up early in the morning to gather what will be needed for the journey God has asked him to embark on. The journey that will end in the death of his son. When Abraham and Isaac can see the mountain where the sacrifice is to take place, Isaac asks his dad the question Abraham must have been dreading to hear. “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” How was Abraham to respond? “Son, you are the burnt offering!” Again we are surprised by his answer: “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering my son.” Abraham displays a great faith here, one that assumes God will be faithful, even though the situation looks grim.
With blade in hand and fire ready, as Abraham is about to sacrifice his son, God sends an angel to stop him and provides a ram to be sacrificed in Isaac’s place. God never intended for Isaac to die that day. He was always going to provide an offering in his place. What an incredibly faithful God. He did this not only to test the faith of Abraham, but also so that it would be a picture of what was to come.
Do you see it? Have you connected the dots? A few thousand years later, a Father once again offered His Son, whom he loved, as a sacrifice. This time though, it was Jesus, the Lamb of God. He died in our place as the ram died in Isaac’s. The difference is—the ram saved only one person’s life while Jesus died so that every person would have the opportunity of eternal life by placing their faith in Him.
Living out the Message: