Tag Archives: Sacrificed Son

Christ as the Sacrificed Son in the Book of Genesis

14 Jun

Read Genesis 22

“Then He said,’Take now your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’” Gen. 22:2

One of the most beautiful ways Jesus is portrayed in the book of Genesis is as the sacrificed son of promise, presented to us in the narrative of Genesis chapter 22.

Abraham and Sarah had waited a long time for God to fulfill His promise to them. Deciding maybe He meant for them to figure it out, they took matters into their own hands. Sarah gave her servant, Hagar to Abraham; Ishmael was the result.

But the son of the bondwoman was not the child of promise, Isaac was. Because of Isaac, Sarah and Abraham experienced joy in their old age. God had not forgotten His promise. He never does. It may just seem that way from our perspective.

Fast forward. Isaac is a young man. He doesn’t know that God has spoken to his father in the night, and he’s about to have a day he’ll never forget. Notice though, how God shows He understands the magnitude of the sacrifice He is asking Abraham to make. He knows, because one day, He’ll do it, too, but no one will stay His hand.

He says, “Take now your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and offer him …” Gen. 22:2   Wait. What? “Your only son”? What about Ishmael, the firstborn? Doesn’t he count? Not in terms of Redemption. It’s the son of Abraham and Sarah who is the son of promise. Ishmael represents the rejected bondwoman’s son, those who believe they can be saved by works. God’s plan is much better. Gal. 4:21-31

Read verse three. Notice that? “So Abraham rose early in the morning…” I know it’s stating the obvious, but in order to wake up you have to have gone to sleep. How could he have slept? More than that, he woke up early, eager to obey. I would’ve pressed the snooze button a few times at least. Notice also, that there’s no record of his telling Sarah what God had told him. With good reason. That would not end well. This is her baby, regardless of his age.

I find Isaac’s question to his father so heart rending. He understands what is needed for a sacrifice, and sees there’s something missing. “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Gen. 22:7 This shows us the concept of a lambs and burnt offerings was not foreign even before the Law was given. I’m sure Abraham swallowed the lump in his throat and could not look at Isaac as he answered, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” Gen. 22:8

And hasn’t He done that in history? All the repeated sacrifices of animals throughout the centuries only pointed forward to the perfect Sacrifice, which would put an end to all other sacrifices; the One provided by God, Himself. “The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 God took His Son, His Only Son Whom He loved, and sacrificed Him.

Did Isaac protest or struggle as Abraham bound him on the altar? There’s no record of it in Scripture so I’d conclude no. There was no, “Father, what are you doing?” or “How could you do this?” or “Please, Father, no.” Just submission to his father’s will, even though he knows it means an excruciating death at the will of his own Father.

Christ was the son of promise. All of history is His Story. All the types and shadows pointed to Him, the promised One, beloved of the Father. He was God’s “Son, His only Son, whom (He) loved.” “This is my beloved son”. Matt. 3:17 He also gladly submitted to His Father’s will, even knowing what it would cost Him. “What shall I say? Save Me from this hour? It was for this hour that I came forth. Father, glorify Your name.” John 12:27,28 and “In the volume of the book it is written of Me. I delight to do Your will.” Heb.10:7

Seemingly out of nowhere, after God/the Angel of the LORD tells him not to lay a hand on the boy, a ram appears. It’s significant that Scripture records the detail that it was caught in a thicket by its horns. This would mean its body would be unblemished, and so would be a suitable sacrifice.

In this narrative we see Christ as the sacrificed son, but we also see him as the substitute for the one under sentence of death. A thicket is a mass of thorns, and represents sin, and horns are a symbol of strength. So we see Christ pictured as held fast by sin, for us. Then the ram is offered up, “instead of his son.” Gen. 22:13 Here we see a beautiful picture of substitutionary atonement.

JD Greear  says, “Jesus did not merely die ‘for’ you, he died ‘instead’ of (2 Cor 5:21)

Abraham’s hand was held back by God. He was really going to do what God commanded. God knew his heart and his motives. He also saw his faith that in spite of this, God would keep his promise. As they were approaching the mountain, Abraham left the servants to wait, promising that, “the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” Gen. 22:5 Notice he saw what he was about to do as an act of worship. He didn’t say they would both return because he was lying to his servants or because he didn’t intend on following through on God’s command. In the book of Hebrews we’re told that Abraham believed God was able to raise him from the dead.

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.”                     Heb. 11:17-19   It was impossible for God to lie. Abraham was so sure of God’s character and God’s word. After all, He had already given Isaac to him, as He’d promised. “And Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Gen. 15:6 Abraham would do as God commanded, even though it seemed to go contrary to His promise that through Isaac the world would be blessed.

After the Angel of the LORD stayed his hand, He again reiterated the promise to multiply his descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand of the seashore.” He also tied the blessing into Abraham’s obedience. “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed because you have obeyed My voice.”   Gen. 22:18   But many years later, God the Father didn’t hold back His hand. He slew His own Son. Jesus felt the rejection of His Father as the worst part of the crucifixion.

“My GOD, my GOD, why have You forsaken Me?” Matt. 27:45 The answer: “For You are Holy.” Psalm 22:5   It was His Plan A. Jesus was “the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.” Rev. 13:8 That’s why all these narratives were given to us. Not just to entertain us or teach us a lesson in themselves. They were all glimpses of the future, and the great mystery hidden from the ages, but now revealed to us. Col. 1:26 It was the Master Plan. God meant to do this.   “He who did not withhold His own Son…” Rom. 8:32

“Jesus is the true and better Isaac who was not just offered up by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us. And when God said to Abraham, ‘Now I know you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love from me,” now we can look at God taking His Son up the mountain and sacrificing him and say, ‘Now we know that you love us because you did not withhold Your Son, Your Only Son, whom You love from us.’” Timothy Keller

“Neither Abraham, Isaac, nor any Israelites at that time could have ever fully grasped that God would one day not only demand sacrifice, dictate the sacrifice, substitute the sacrifice, and be satisfied with sacrifice, but would also actually become the sacrifice.” Dr. David P. Murray

Prayer– “There are times when what we read in Scripture is so overpowering to our souls. This account is one of them for me. I can’t imagine Abraham’s thoughts. I cannot fathom the kind of faith it takes to rise up early to obey. I don’t know if I would have that kind of faith to trust that if I killed my son, You would raise him up again. At the same time, I see beyond this narrative to the greater story behind it. The story of what my salvation cost You. It cost You Your Son. You did not hold back your knife of judgment, but buried it in the body of Your Son on the Cross. I stand amazed at Your willingness to part with Him when He came to earth, I stand even more amazed at Your willingness to allow Him to be killed by His creatures, and His willingness to be sacrificed for our sin. Thank You for so great a salvation.” Amen.

Questions– Are you holding anything or anyone more dear than God? Do you need to lay your “Isaac” whatever it may be, down on the altar and let God demand what He may? A scary thought, to be sure. But consider what God has done for you in giving His own Son. Now reconsider if you need to cling to it.

Response-Spend time alone with God and consider all the things you were sure were God’s plan for your life. Perhaps they are, but ask yourself if you’d be willing to let them go if God were to simply ask you.

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