Sunday, 17 June 2007 00:00

The Cross of Christ: A Portrait of God’s Grace

Genesis 22:9-13 (KJV)

And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

The Bible is filled with portraits of Christ, so much so that a person raised on just the understanding of the Old Testament would be able to see Christ. When Jesus walked with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, Luke says, "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself" (Luke 24:27). "Moses" in this verse refers to the five books of the Pentateuch—including the book of Genesis.

  1. The People
    Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest (Genesis 22:2). For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son (John 3:16). Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Luke 3:22). God spared not his own Son (Romans 8:32). Always remember that the person who receives and accepts the Son is on good terms with the Father.
  2. The Place
    Get thee into the land of Moriah (Genesis 22:2). Literally, Moriah is a mountain range, sometimes called "the land of Moriah." This is where we find that David purchased the "threshing floor" for his grain crops and later Solomon built the Temple (II Chronicles 3:1). Genesis 22:14 refers to it as "the mount of the Lord." It is the very place where Christ would later die for us.
  3. The Period
    Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes (Genesis 22:4). Christ died for our sins, according to Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (I Corinthians 15:4). The phrase "third day" speaks of the resurrection of Christ.
  4. The Proposal
    I and the lad will go yonder and worship (Genesis 22:5). I will worship toward thy holy temple (Psalm 5:7). Real worship takes place at the foot of the cross. It is at the cross that we see both the mercy and justice of God. It is at the cross that we see both the holiness and love of God. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. Are you satisfied in Christ?
  5. The Preparations
    Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it upon Isaac (Genesis 22:6). He carried the cross. Jesus, bearing his cross, went forth into the place of the skull, where they crucified him (John 19:17,18). Abraham carried the fire, which represents God's judgment.
  6. The Peace
    So they went both of them together (Genesis 22:6,8). In verse 5, God calls Isaac a "lad." This is the same word used in II Kings 2, when the children mocked Elisha, calling him, You baldhead. No man taketh my life from me, but I lay it down myself. (John 10:18)
  7. The Provision
    And Abraham offered the ram for a burnt offering in the stead of his son (Genesis 22:13). For God hath made Jesus to be sin for us, who knew no sin... (II Corinthians 5:21).

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