As we prepare to celebrate the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross this Friday, a great way to look forward is to first look back. About 2000 years before Christ, Abraham the Father of Faith, was commanded by God to sacrifice his only begotten son, Isaac. Coincidence? Absolutely not! God was setting into motion prophetic symbolism that would verify the authenticity of Jesus Christ as Messiah.
God’s plan for delivering you and me from sin and evil did not come about on the spur of the moment. All the way back in the book of Genesis, after the fall, He had already put in motion the method by which we would be redeemed and restored into His loving care.
“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3:15 NKJV)
This Scripture reveals that God’s intent from the time of the fall of Adam and Eve was to raise up a Messiah who would restore what they lost. As Scripture progressed, God used other people and events to foreshadow His plans, and to establish a standard by which the Messiah could eventually be judged.
One such event is the story of Abraham and Isaac. Here are some of the ways that this ancient story reveals God’s plan for the sacrifice of His Son for our sins:
- Abraham is called the Father of Our Faith; God is called Our Father.
- Two unnamed men accompanied Isaac; two unnamed men accompanied Jesus at the crucifixion.
- Abraham saw the mountain on the third day; Jesus rose on the third day.
- The wood was laid on Isaac; the cross was laid on Jesus.
- Abraham offered his son on Mount Moriah; God offered his son Jesus near Mount Moriah.
- Isaac was Abraham’s covenant son; Jesus was Father God’s covenant son.
- Isaac was Abraham’s only son; Jesus is God’s only son.
- Isaac was the first-born of many; Jesus is called the first-born among many.
- Isaac got up off the altar; Jesus got up out of the grave.
- A ram replaced Isaac; The Lamb of God (Jesus) replaced us.
Another interesting note, when Isaac asked about the sacrifice, Abraham told him that a lamb would be seen. The actual animal that replaced Isaac, was a ram. The Lamb, spoken of by Abraham, was the Lamb of God who is the perfect sacrifice. All other sacrifices before him were merely symbolic of the price Jesus paid for all our sins; past, present, and future.
So on this Good Friday, let’s celebrate Jesus who heals our past, walks with us in the present, and holds our future securely in the palm of His nail-scarred hands. As another prophet wrote between the time of Abraham and the cross,
“… I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands…” (Isaiah 49:15b–16a)