In our Christmas Eve service, we read Genesis 22…
Why should we read this story at Christmas? Genesis 22 is maybe the most provoking passage in the Bible. We wonder why God would challenge Abraham with this.
My answer is that it resonates with the Christmas story. If you play a note on a piano that same string on a violin or a guitar, if they are tuned the same, will resonate. The likeness will cause a vibration. Consider a few facts:
Isaac was a long promised child. We know that the Messiah was promised from the time of the Garden of Eden, later in the promise of a greater Moses, and then through he prophets in a variety of ways.
Isaac was a miracle child. Sarah had Isaac at 90 years of age. It was so unlikely that she laughed with the Angel told Abraham that she would have a child. It was so fantastic that his name “Isaac” means laughter. Jesus was born as a miracle – no human father and yet Mary gave birth.
Isaac was a beloved child. God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love – Isaac and go to the region of Moriah…” When we speak of Jesus as the Son of God, we capitalize it since he is the only one. God took his son, his only son, whom he loves – Jesus, and sent him into our world.
Isaac was obedient to his father – as was Jesus who submitted to the will of the Father when he became a sacrifice for sin.
There was a substitute – Isaac was spared and a ram found nearby was his substitute. Jesus was not spared, but he became our substitute.
The sacrifice was on a hill. In fact there is good reason to believe that this hill was in the same area and perhaps the same hill where Mt Zion sits.
Are all these just by coincidence? No. Did we pull them out of the text when they are not really there? No, they are there.
Genesis 22 points us to John 3:16. For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.
God the father did what Abraham did not have to do. If we want to imagine the gift of God, consider how hard it must have been for Abraham – and multiply it many times. Abraham had waited a matter of years to have a son, but God and the Eternal Son had forever.
Jesus the Son came willingly. Isaac was willing to obey his father, but he did not know what his Father was planning to do. Jesus knew his destiny before his birth. He fully and willingly obeyed the Father.
What string does this cause to resonate in you? We all desire to know Love. Can you begin to feel the love of God? Can you feel in your heart the incredible depth of his love? With long planning and total sacrifice, he sent his son to the world to rescue all who will believe.