Summary: A story sermon for the Easter season comparing Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaiah to Our Father’s sacrifice of Jesus.
THE SACRIFICE GENESIS 22:1-14
As you all know so well, this is Easter Sunday, the most important day of the year for Christians. Today we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the tomb. We celebrate because he defeated death not only for himself but as well for each of us who will but believe and put out trust in him.
So being that this is Easter Sunday you come fully expecting to hear a message about the resurrection. So you might have wondered a bit at the Old Testament scripture passage which was read this morning. You expected something from the New Testament talking about the resurrection.
Well, this Easter we are going to do something a little different. In order to truly appreciate the resurrection of Jesus from the grave you have to first appreciate what put him into that grave! So this morning I want to share a little story with you. It is a story entitled the Sacrifice.
*Abraham walked outside of his tent. He looked up into the sky. What a clear night sky it was! One of those nights you get out in the country, no city lights, no clouds to block our view, and there are so many stars you can’t hardly make out the constellations! You see the Milky Way glowing brightly across the night sky.
Can you imagine what a view Abraham must have had that night? Remember, for Abraham that night there were no city lights in all the world - no pollution - nothing whatsoever to dim the view of the stars. The sky must have been ablaze with starlight!
As Abraham stood staring up into the stars, God said to that old man, who had never produced a single child: "Look up! Number the stars, if you can, and you will number your descendants!" Can you even imagine that?
Can you imagine how that promise from God must have sounded to Abraham? Abraham was an old man! He had no children! His wife Sarah was an old woman - long past child-bearing age - and on top of that, she was barren and always had been! Yet God promised that the descendants of this old man and woman would number as the stars in the sky! That’s crazy!
But old Abraham was just crazy enough to believe God. His belief, his trust in God’s word was counted to him as righteousness.
Abraham believed God’s promise, and in time a child was born to this old man and woman. A fine boy and he was named Isaac, as God had instructed.
It was through this Isaac, this child of Abraham’s and Sarah’s old age that Abraham’s descendants would number as the stars.
The child was dedicated to God by Abraham and Sarah and as the years passed Isaac grew into a fine young man - the pride and love of his parents!
Then one fateful day something happened that threatened their happy existence as a family! God came once more to Abraham and told him that a sacrifice was to be made. A burnt offering was to be made unto God on Mount Moriah. And Abraham’s beloved son, the only child of Abraham and Sarah- the child of Promise - Isaac was to be the sacrifice!
Even the thought of it must have ripped at Abraham’s heart! How could God command Abraham to slay and then burn the body of his own son? The same son from whom the unnumbered line of descendants was to come!
How must Abraham have felt?! How could he possibly sacrifice his beloved child- the pride and love of his life?!
What a struggle must have taken place in Abraham’s heart! He must have wanted so much to talk with someone! But who could he talk to? He couldn’t talk to Sarah. He couldn’t go to Sarah and tell her that God had commanded him to kill her only child - the child of her old age! That would destroy her!
Besides, if he told Sarah of God’s command, she just might talk him out of it; and as terrible as it was, as horrible as it was - Abraham knew he had to be obedient to God! He could tell no one - he could share his burden with no one!
So early the next morning, with his heart being torn apart, Abraham instructed servants to prepare for a journey to go and make a sacrifice unto God.
The servants collected the wood for the sacrifice, the fire in the pot, and the knife; along with all else they would need for the journey.
Abraham told two of the servants that they would be going with him and then he called his son Isaac and said he was also to come along.
Can you imagine the scene in the camp? The questions that must have come to everyone’s mind. Sarah and the others are watching them prepare to go.