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Where Is the Lamb?

Written by | March, 2014
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Abraham offers up the son he loves : Genesis 22:1-19

Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 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.” 

So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. 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. 

Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So he said, “Here I am.” 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.” 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 for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” 

Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba. 

Isaac was old enough to carry all the wood that he and his father would need for worshiping the Lord with a burnt offering on Mount Moriah.

He was also old enough to realize very quickly that something was missing as he and Abraham made their pilgrimage up the mountain. “My father,” he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

In these unfolding weeks of Lent, we join Isaac in realizing that we daily need a suitable sacrificial Lamb as atonement for our sins. As we again follow Jesus from the Upper Room to Calvary, we see that it is our sins, our iniquities, our faults that are the cause, the reason, for which Jesus endured His Passion. It is painfully clear to us that there is nothing we can bring before God that would even begin to atone for our sins–not a lamb, not our works, not anything–for the price that was needed for our redemption is not something within our ability to pay.

Abraham told his curious son: “God will provide Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” That was enough for Isaac; the two of them continued on together. And the words Abraham spoke proved to be true. Isaac did not have to die. God provided a ram, caught by its horns in a thicket nearby, for use as the burnt offering.

God be thanked that the same is true for us. You and I do not have to pay the penalty for our own sins. Redemption has been made. There is a Lamb which has been offered on the altar of the cross in our place. Death with all its ways of bringing separation has been defeated. As the apostle Paul says, “[Nothing] shall separate us from the love of God…” (see Romans 8:35-39).

Yes, the Lamb we need is one that God Himself has provided–it is His own Son, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

God had a goal in mind when He sent Abraham up Mount Moriah with his son, his only son, the son whom he loved. It was a test to see if Abraham loved God more than he loved his own son.

God the Father also had a goal in mind when He sent His own Son to that very same mountainous area (see 2 Chronicles 3:1). His goal was to show the love He has for you and me and all people in His Son.

“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).

There was no other way! Jesus had to shoulder the whole burden! There was no other lamb to be offered as a substitute for Christ. The Father’s silence upon His Son’s request in the Garden of Gethsemane showed that Jesus was the only One–that He was the lamb to be sacrificed.

And it is in Him, the One who was the Seed of Abraham through Isaac, that “all the nations of the earth are blessed” (Genesis 22:18).

Where is the Lamb? He is even now at the right hand of God, in that place where we together with all the saints will forever proclaim: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12)