Advent 2015: Born Is The King

Day 6: Jesus Is The True & Better Isaac

Genesis 22:1-22, John 3:16-17, 1 John 4:7-9

Are you waiting on God to do something impossible?

Abraham and Sarah named their son Laughter (Isaac) because he was the result of an impossible promise come true. God’s first call on Abraham was to go to the land God would show him, where God would make Abraham and Sarah into a great nation. The only problem was they were unable to have children.

Still they obeyed, trusting that God would somehow bring to pass what made no sense otherwise. It took thirty years before God gave them Isaac. Thirty years of following, of wandering, of trying other schemes—like having Abraham take Sarah’s servant Hagar as a surrogate.

What need or desire are you waiting on God to meet? We live in such culture of immediacy that we are used to doing and having things instantly. But Abraham and Sarah had to wait thirty years for this promised heir. Without Isaac, there could be no kingdom from Abraham’s line. There would be no one to father the next generation. But there was nothing they could do to hurry God. Nor can we.

Isaac was more than the fulfillment of a promise God made to Abraham and Sarah. He was a miracle, an unlikely heir to an unimaginable kingdom. But then…

Then God asked Abraham to take his only son up on a hill to offer him up. The son carried on his back the beams upon which he would be sacrificed, and as they made their way to the top of the hill, the son said to his father, “I see the wood for the offering, but where is the sacrifice?” Imagine the pain, confusion, and desperate faith Abraham must have felt in that moment. God had promised to bless the entire world through this miraculously born son, and now He was asking Abraham to offer him up as a sacrifice.

What else could Abraham do but trust that God had a plan? But it seemed like such a hard plan. Abraham assumed, Hebrews tells us, that God would raise Laughter from the dead (Hebrews 11:19). But still, Abraham had to reckon with the fact that he would have to experience sacrificing his only son. If he followed through, that pain would follow him forever.

But just as Abraham was about to go through with it, God sent angels to stop him from bringing down the knife and He supplied a ram caught in a nearby thicket as a substitute.

What God did with Isaac is not what He did with His own Son. With Jesus, God did not stay the executioner’s hand. As with Isaac, the sacrificial site was up on a hill. And like Isaac, Jesus carried the wood for the sacrifice on His back. But unlike Isaac, Jesus laid down His life.

Here is the main difference between Isaac and Jesus: Had Isaac died, the promise of a nation belonging to God would have died with him. The line of Abraham would have ended. But had Jesus not died, there would be no Kingdom at all.

Jesus’s substitutionary death opens the way for people across every tribe, tongue, and nation to be brought into the family of God. He was our sacrifice, caught in the thicket of Roman ambition and Pharisaical self-righteousness. By His death, we find life.

God tested Abraham’s love for Him by calling Abraham to trust Him with the precious treasure of his son Isaac. But God demonstrates His love for us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

Whatever it is you are waiting for, hear the promise that comes from Jesus as our true and better Isaac: “He who did not spare His own Son but gave him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:32).

written by Russ Ramsey