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lamb

courtesy of GrahamPics1 flickr.com

Genesis 22:2-14 – NIV

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

It may not look like it at first glance, but the story of Abraham and Isaac is a Christmas story. If you read carefully, you will note several interesting correlations between this story and the life of Christ:

Abraham’s sacrifice of his one and only son, is the same as God’s sacrifice of his one and only son, Jesus. Although in Abraham’s case, God provided a substitutionary sacrifice, a ram caught in the thicket. That in itself was a foreshadow of Christ, the great substitute for us all.

The location that God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son was on Mount Moriah. Moriah is only mentioned one other time in scripture, 2 Chronicles 3:1. It was the location of the temple that Solomon built. The temple and all of the animal sacrifices were a picture of the sacrifice that God would make when Jesus was crucified. In the Old Testament, the temple was God’s dwelling place, but now, scripture tells us that God lives within us. Jesus is Immanuel, which means “God with us.” We are the temple of God. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Moriah literally means “Seen by Yaweh.” To be seen by God is to be known by God, to be acknowledged by God. Abraham called the place Adonai Yireh, “The Lord will provide.” (hebrew4christians) God provided the sacrifice for Abraham that day and he provided the lamb for each of us in the person of Christ, the Lamb of God.

The purpose for Christ’s coming was to be a sacrificial lamb.

I know it’s hard to think about sacrifice and death when Christmas is all snuggles and gum drops, a star in the sky and a baby in a manger.

Matthew 1:21 – NIV

21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

The very name “Jesus” means savior. Jesus himself said it was for this purpose that he came, to die for the souls of men. John 12:20-36

I raise the mug today as a reminder – the coming of Jesus was and still is the result of men’s sin. Without the Christmas Lamb, none of us would have any hope.

All verse quotes courtesy of biblegateway.com