Summary: To follow Christ is an amazing adventure
9 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.”
15 The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
19 Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.
8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
11 By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Christmas, Good Friday, Easter are all holy days because they mark the major moments of the coming of the Kingdom of God amongst us –
God’s coming to us as a baby in a manger;
Christ’s death on the cross to redeem us from the consequence of our sin;
His resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday morning to proclaim the victory over death.
These are amazing, mind-boggling events which proclaim God’s deep concern for those who are made in His image.
On the other hand, Ascension and Pentecost are not even public holidays anymore, though they used to be. They were removed from the holiday calendar because Christians no longer seemed to be too interested in what they represented – the ascension of Jesus to heaven to take His place on the throne,
- the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to empower the followers of Jesus to become citizens of God’s Kingdom.
In a sense, the loss of Ascension Day and Pentecost as holy days is symptomatic of our life as followers of Christ. Just the other day someone said to me that the Church lost the plot when we decided to be “worshippers of Christ” rather than “followers of Christ” – focused on sacrifice rather than obedience. Whether that is true or not, we HAVE tended to make our faith something which we add on to an already busy life, rather than allowing it to be the life we live.
To follow Christ is to embark on an adventure. It is to journey into the realm of infinite possibility. It allows us to find ourselves in that place – the Kingdom of God – which we have always known about and always longed for. We know what it is, but we can’t always adequately define it.