Up the Hill“Both of Them Together”
This is a synopsis, or quick review, of the sermon for Good Friday, April 15, 2022. I am only hitting the highlights of the message, not reproducing the entire sermon.
“Eloi, Eloi, Lema sabachthani?” Those were the words shouted by Jesus Christ from the cross at 3:00 PM on the day of His crucifixion (Mt 27:46 & Mk 15:34). The Gospelers translated the words from Hebrew for both their Greek speaking audience and for us. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
God the Father and God the Son had had perfect unity and fellowship from all eternity past to this point. But now Jesus Christ hung on the cross as a sin bearer for the whole world. Fellowship with the Father was broken. Even the sun was darkened at midday, as He hung on that cross. In His humanity, He cried out in Hebrew, “Eloi, Eloi, Lema sabachthani?”
Many sermons have been preached and illustrations made as to the physical pain of Jesus on the cross. I am awed as I see Mel Gibson’s, The Passion, as he depicts the physical pain of Christ on the cross dying in our place. But have you ever considered the spiritual pain of Jesus Christ as He is separated from the fellowship of the Father. I contend this pain was greater than His physical pain.
In this shout, Jesus is quoting Psalm 22:1. It might be a good exercise to read that Psalm, along with the passages on Christ in Gethsemane to see the spiritual warfare Christ suffered to bring us salvation.
One might ask, where was God when Christ was being crucified? I submit He was right there all the time. Just was we go through a trial and wonder where God is, only to find later that He was holding our hand all the way through the trial, so God the Father was there carrying out His plan and overseeing the events that won us our redemption.
Our passage we read tonight from Genesis, shows us that fact in picture form as we see the sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham. It is a beautiful picture of the Father (Abraham) and the Son (Isaac) in the act of sacrifice.
In the narrative, God tells Abraham to sacrifice his “only son, whom you love” (v 2), and Abraham obeys. They go to a hill called “Moriah” (see also 2 Chron 3:1, it will later be the Temple Mount), three days journey away.
In verse 6, Abraham took the knife and fire, symbols of death and judgement. He then placed on Isaac’s back “the wood for the sacrifice.” What a picture! Father Abraham is carrying the knife and fire, while Isaac carried the wood, symbolically the cross, on his back. “And the two of them went together.”
Isaac was old enough and smart enough to ask, “where is the lamb for the sacrifice?” Abraham replied, “God will provide the lamb for the sacrifice.” He knew that Isaac was “the son of promise” and could not die till he had offspring. So based on God’s promises, he knew God would provide the lamb. And yes, through Isaac’s offspring Jesus came as that sacrifice.
Once up the hill, Abraham built the altar and laid the wood in place, then bound his son. Abraham was quite old and Isaac very youthful. Isaac could easily have resisted his father’s demand to be bound, but he did not. Jesus, too, was a willing sacrifice.
It was Abraham that raised the knife and was ready to slay his son. So too, it was God who killed Jesus to pay for our sins. Look over at Isaiah 53:10, “Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days.” It was not the Romans who killed Jesus, not the Jews, nor even us and our sins. It was God making Him a sacrifice for sin.
God was so gracious to us, that He gave us His one and only Son to die for the sins of all mankind that all may have life through Him.
The story continues with the Angel of the LORD halting Abraham mid-knife-thrust, and showing him the ram caught in the thicket (v 15). Another beautiful picture, Isaac was saved from death by the substitution of the ram in the thicket dying for him.
God was gracious to give us his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. Jesus was willing to be that sacrifice, and became our substitute to die for us. Because of His death for our sins we can have His salvation and thereby have everlasting life simply by believing on Him.
May this be true of each one here today.
CH Jim Odell