Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram. . . . He . . . took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.
Abraham’s faith is tested with the ultimate challenge: Is he willing to give up his most precious treasure to God? And at the last possible moment, God intervenes, telling Abraham to stop. So Isaac is spared, delivered from a death sentence. And God provides a substitute, a sacrificial ram to be offered instead. The place is then called “The Lord Will Provide.”
Abraham could not have known that about 2,000 years later an even greater sacrifice would be made. God would again provide a substitute, who actually became “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). That substitute was Jesus, God’s only Son, who gave up his own life to pay for all our sin so that all who believe in him may have eternal life (John 3:16).
God’s judgment against sin fell on his own Son. Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb, stepped in and took our place. On that day, through Jesus’ death on a cross outside Jerusalem, a sufficient sacrifice was provided (see Mark 15:33-39).
Abraham could not have known all this, but by the grace of God he had received the gift of faith and could trust that God would somehow keep his promises.
Lamb of God, thank you for being our substitute and dying in our place, opening the way for us to be saved. Give us faith to believe in you and to serve you every day. Amen.
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