A Substitute Death

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Genesis 22:9-14

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might. (Rev. 5:12)

Isaac climbing up Mount Moriah prefigures Jesus Christ carrying the cross up Mount Calvary. But suddenly the scene changes. Jesus did die on the cross, but Isaac did not die on the altar his father had built.

As they were going up Mount Moriah, Isaac had asked his father, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (v. 7). Abraham had answered, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son” (v. 8). Then, as Abraham was about ready to slay his son, the angel of the Lord stopped him and pointed his eyes to “a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns” (v. 13). Abraham then sacrificed this animal in place of his son, Isaac.

Isaac's death would have done nothing for the rest of the human race. He would not have died as a sinless son for the salvation of sinful human beings. Isaac needed rescuing himself, and thus God provided a substitute sacrifice for him—one that points ahead to the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). If we believe in Jesus, the Lamb of God, we too will be rescued from certain death and will take our place in the land of the living. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!


Thank you, God, for providing for us a Lamb, your Son Jesus, to take away our sin. Amen.