Seeing Jesus in Abraham’s Testing

I am inspired when I read the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament and see God foretelling Jesus’s life, death and resurrection hundreds of years before it happened.

Today I read Genesis 21-22 where God asked Abraham to give up his son as a burnt offering1 to him. Isaac asks what they are going to sacrifice; Abraham tells him that ‘…God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering…’ (Genesis 22:8). At the last moment before Abraham kills Isaac, God tells him it is a test and that he is not to lay a hand on the boy. Isaac is effectively brought back from the dead when God provided a ram to be used instead of him for the offering. Abraham calls the place, ‘The Lord will provide’ and then says ‘…to this day it is said, ’on the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’’ (Genesis 22:14).

I was moved to praise God as I marvelled at the parallels of this story with the death of Jesus. God gave his own son for you and me, as John 3:16 says: ‘for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ Therefore in the same way that Abraham didn’t have to provide the sacrifice to be reconciled with God neither do we. This is because Jesus was the perfect sacrifice, he took the punishment for humanity’s sin once and for all (Hebrews 9:14 NLT). Jesus is described as ‘…the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,’ (John 1:29). God did provide for humanity on a mountain as Abraham prophesied, it was a hill called Golgotha in Jerusalem where Jesus died (e.g., Matthew 27:33). Jesus was then brought back from the dead three days later when he rose again (e.g., Mark 16) as was foreshadowed by Isaac.

So God the Father sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins and that means we have peace with God through his blood (Colossians 1:20). The story of Abraham and Isaac in the Old Testament, is one example of how it was always God’s plan to reconcile us to him though the death of Jesus. God provided a way for us to know God and be with him forever through Jesus.

God is also the provider in the day to day, the Lord’s prayer encourages us to ask God for our daily bread (Matthew 6:11). He is always with us and knows what we need before we ask, this is on both the good and hard days (Matthew 6:8). Why not reach out to him now and ask him for provision in your circumstance?

1 People have never been able to be reconciled with God on their own. Before the death of Jesus people sacrificed burnt offerings; the animals were their substitute and took the punishment for their sins; but in a temporary and incomplete way as it had to be done again and again.

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