Today begins one of the most important holidays in the Muslim world. All over the globe many sheep will lose their lives for this holiday– the “Sacrifice Holiday”. Muslims celebrate that when Abraham was going to sacrifice his son, Ishmael to Allah, a sheep was provided for him to sacrifice instead. (They then distribute the meat to the poor, hoping to gain favor with Allah for their good deeds.)
Does the Abraham story sound kinda familiar? Check Genesis 22:1-14
We, as followers of Jesus, don’t cut animal sacrifices to commemorate what happened on that mountain with Abraham, but I think it would do us some good to meditate on the story more frequently that we do. Do you know what this story is fore-telling? Do you see the beautiful imagery– the ram sacrificed instead of the son?
Pointing us to the Son sacrificed instead of us.
Can you see it?
It blows my mind and humbles my heart every time I think of it. All the layers in the story keep my mind tumbling over itself as I think about it– the emotion that must have ripped at Abraham’s heart as he raised the knife above the heart of his son. The wonder in the eyes of a boy at being placed on the altar by his dad. The unquestioning obedience. The faith. The journey. The answer to the servants. The oddity of God’s request.
And at the perfect moment, the ram.
Have you meditated lately on what Jesus did on the cross? How he took our place?
When we confess our sins, they don’t simply float away into oblivion. There has to be a payment made. There was a payment made. Paul puts it this way in Colossians 2:13-14–
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
We don’t have the physical reminder of sacrifice today because we don’t slit the throats of animals today and watch their blood pool in shallow dirt. But we can take a minute today to ponder the blood that spilled from The Lamb of God as he suffered and died, our Substitute Sacrifice.