God will provide the sacrifice Genesis 22:1-14

In the weeks before Jesus went up to Jerusalem to die, he had told his disciples three times what was going to happen. The first time was after the conversation at Caesarea Philippi where Peter had declared, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Matthew 16 21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
After Transfiguration Jesus said this.
Matthew 17 22 …. ‘The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. 23 They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.’ And the disciples were filled with grief.
Matthew 20 17 … On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, 18 ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified.’
As he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey in triumph, Jesus knew very well that a week later he would be nailed to a cross. He knew that it was God’s plan that he should sacrifice his life.
Mark 10 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’
In John 10 Jesus taught, 11 ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. …
14 ‘I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me 15…. …and I lay down my life for the sheep. … 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life …. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.
John the Baptist had announced that Jesus was the Lamb of God.
John 1 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
Jesus came to be the Saviour of the world. To set people free from the penalty and the punishment of their sins. The title, “The Lamb of God”, would have reminded any Jew of at least three parts of the Old Testament. Firstly, it points to the Passover Lambs. When the Tenth Plague of the death of the firstborn came on Egypt, only the children of the Israelites would be spared, and that was because they had sacrificed a lamb and smeared the blood of the sacrifice on their doors. The Passover Lamb was a pattern, a type, of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for the sins of the world. In echoes of the Exodus, the Lamb of God brings salvation and freedom to God’s chosen people.
Secondly, the Lamb of God would remind any Jew of the most important sacrifice of the year, which was offered on the Day of Atonement. Just once a year, only one man, the great High Priest was allowed into the most holy place in the Temple, the Holy of Holies, to present this sacrifice for sin. This sacrifice on the Day of Atonement was also a type, or a pattern, for Christ the Lamb of God who deals with all the sins of all the people.
The Letter to the Hebrews picks up this understanding of Jesus’s death.
Hebrews 9 11 … Christ came as high priest … 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, so obtaining eternal redemption. … 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
27 …. he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 … Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many;
So the Passover Lamb and the lamb sacrificed on the Day of Atonement are patterns, or types, for the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. But there are also two human figures in the Old Testament who point forward specifically to Jesus’s death. We have seen other patterns of the Saviour in Moses and Joseph and last week in Melchizedek the king and priest.
Then we have talked many times about the prophesy in Isaiah chapter 53 of the Suffering Servant who would sacrifice his life so that sin could be forgiven.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.
But this sacrifice was God’s way of dealing with the sins of the world.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows,
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, …. and he will bear their iniquities.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
These are all things the prophet Isaiah foretold about God’s Suffering Servant.” Jesus himself knew that he would be fulfilling those prophecies by dying on the cross for the sins of the world. “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
But there is one more Old Testament figure who the church through the ages has interpreted as a type, or pattern, for Christ. That is Isaac in the story of Abraham offering Isaac on Mount Moriah. There are actually a number of similarities between Isaac and Jesus. The birth of Isaac was promised repeatedly; so was the coming of Jesus Christ. Both were “miracle babies”. Abraham and Sarah were too old to have children, yet Isaac was born, because as God said to Abraham, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14) Just as Isaac’s birth was the result of the supernatural power of God so too was Jesus’s Virgin Birth. Isaac was the only and dearly beloved son of his father; Jesus Christ is the only-begotten and beloved Son of God, in whom His Father is well pleased. Isaac was obedient to his father, and Jesus was obedient to His Heavenly Father, to death, even to death on the Cross. Some preachers have even noticed how just as Isaac himself carried up the mountain the wood on which he was to be sacrifices, so in the same way Jesus carried up to Calvary the Cross on which He was to die.
When we read Genesis 22 we need to pay close attention to verse 1. Some time later God tested Abraham. We need to understand that it was never God’s intention that Isaac would die or that Abraham would kill him. The whole incident was God testing Abraham’s faith and Abraham’s obedience. Would Abraham actually obey a command which would mean the end of all God’s promises to him.
2 Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain that I will show you.’
Isaac was Abraham’s beloved and only son. More than that, all the promises God had made to Abraham would be channelled through Isaac.
Genesis 17 19 … ‘your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.
Descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. A great nation and a promised land. All were to come through Isaac, and would be lost if Isaac died as a child. God does sometimes calls his servants to give up things which we hold most dearly, to show that we love and obey and trust Him. This was a test of loyalty, a test of priorities, a way for Abraham to show that he loved God with all his heart and soul and strength and mind. It was also a test of obedience
9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’
‘Here I am,’ he replied.
Let’s pause on that cliffhanger to note that God was testing Abraham but it was also a test of obedience for Isaac. To allow his father to tie him up and lay him on the altar. This was a test of Abraham’s faith in God, but also of Isaac’s faith in his father. The catalogue of the great Old Testament heroes of faith in Hebrews chapter 11 celebrates Abraham’s faith. It makes clear to us that the whole experience was a test of Abraham’s faith. God never actually intended Abraham to kill his son. God was just wanting to find out how much Abraham trusted him or whether there were limits to his obedience.
Hebrews 11:17-19 17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’ 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
God will sometimes test OUR love, OUR obedience, OUR faith. God will sometimes demand sacrifices from us too! Are there limits to our obedience or our faith? Are there things in our lives which come between us and God?
God will provide! Although he could not have known what God had planned in this test of faith, Abraham still trusted in God. And God did provide. Just in time the angel spoke from heaven.
12 ‘Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ he said. ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.’
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.’
God was only demanding from Abraham the same sacrifice He himself would give for the salvation of the world. Abraham was challenged to give up His only son Isaac. God the Father DID give up His only Son Jesus Christ for the sins of the world. Jesus was the substitute. Jesus died not only in the place of Barabbas but in the place of every sinner who truly repents and believes the gospel.
There is so much symbolism in this story. Abraham representing the Father willing to sacrifice up his only Son. Isaac representing Jesus the obedient son, the one would die as the perfect offering for sin. God has provided such a wonderful Saviour! Abraham’s love and obedience and faith released great blessings not only for him and his family but for the whole world. How much more has Christ’s sacrifice brought us all the blessings of forgiveness and eternal life. Isaac was indeed a pattern, a type, for Christ. The big difference was that Isaac did not die. Jesus did die.
God provided the sacrifice for Abraham, the ram caught by its horns. And God himself did provide the sacrificial Lamb of God. That is how 1 Peter explains Jesus’ death on the cross.
1 Peter 1 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
So Isaac was a pattern for Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. God loves us so much! When Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem, and as he entered the city riding on a donkey, he knew he was going to die there. He knew that just a week later he would be nailed to the cross. Still Jesus went. That is how much God loved the world! That is how much Jesus loved you and me!

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