One of the most moving accounts in all of human literature is the record of Abraham and Isaac in the Book of Genesis. Abraham, the Father of our faith, had a son born to him and Sarah when he was one hundred years old and Sarah was ninety. Isaac was the child of God’s promise to Abraham. He was their only son – the one they had longed for across decades. Then, in an incredible turn of events recorded in Genesis 22, God gave Abraham a strange directive:
“Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you …But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering. And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering, So the two of them went together …And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son…And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (v.2-12).
God did indeed provide a lamb that was an acceptable sacrifice in place of Isaac. “Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up…” (v.13).
Across the centuries that followed, the world spurned God’s plans and His attempts to save them from their own destructive ways. In the words of the hymn writer, Phillip Bliss, “The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin.” Finally, when the right time had come, God unfolded His plan. “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5 NKJV), and “…at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6, NIV).
On the night that Christ came into our world, the dark skies near Bethlehem exploded with light: “And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:8-11, NKJV).
Once again, God provided for Himself a sacrificial lamb. This time it was His only begotten son, Jesus. Jesus was the only one worthy to take away our sins. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NKJV).
This Christmas season, hear again the words from the Gospel of John: “…John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, NKJV).
Jesus Is Our Christmas Lamb
~ Brother Roy