All Posts Tagged: Lent

Snapshots of the Cross in the Old Testament—the death of a son

The Father did not hesitate to spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all. Can we not trust such a God to give us, with Him, everything else that we can need? (Romans 8:32)

cautionTo understand this episode one must know one historical fact: “The request to sacrifice Isaac was 100% in keeping with all Abraham knew and believed about the gods of his culture. However, its conclusion turned those beliefs upside down and revealed a loving God.” Don’t move on until and unless you understand this cultural fact!

God did for Sarah exactly what He had promised. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son for Abraham in his 100th year” (Genesis 21:1-2). Think of the excruciating anguish of a young couple today that desperately wants children but all efforts have failed. Well, Abraham and Sarah went through an entire marriage of barrenness (viewed as a curse in ancient cultures). So, it’s impossible to exaggerate the ecstatic delight that the birth of Isaac brought to the old couple!

Sometime later (Isaac carried the wood so he was a young lad) God said, “Take your only son, Isaac, whom you love deeply, and offer him to Me as a burnt offering on one of the mountains.” Astonishingly, Abraham obeyed immediately!  “When they arrived Abraham built an altar and laid out the wood. He tied up Isaac and laid him on the wood. He reached out and took the knife to kill his son.”

Suddenly the austere silence was broken. “Abraham! Don’t lay a hand on that boy! You didn’t hesitate to place your only son, your dear son, on the altar for Me.” Abraham looked up in the direction of the Voice and spotted an entangled ram. After retrieving the ram, he “sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.”

FATHER ABRAHAM SPARED THE LIFE OF HIS DEEPLY LOVED, ONLY SON!

It’s centuries later—

The moment Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters a Voice declared: “This is My Son, marked by My love, the delight of My life.” (Matthew 3:16-17)   

Jesus knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, remove this cup from Me. But please, not what I want.’” (Matthew 26:39)

Carrying His cross, Jesus went out to the place called Skull Hill, where they crucified Him.” (John 19:17)

Around mid-afternoon Jesus groaned, crying loudly ‘My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me?’” (Matthew 27:46)

Jesus said, ‘It’s done . . . complete.’” (John 19:30)

GOD THE FATHER DID NOT SPARE THE LIFE OF HIS DEEPLY LOVED, ONLY SON!

Snapshots of the Cross in the Old Testament—Jesus defeated Satan

serpentThe Lord God said to the serpent, “I will put open hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall fatally bruise your head, and you shall only bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3:14-15)

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, a forty day period in which we have an opportunity to view the Cross and Resurrection through the lens of our brokenness and dis-ease. WARNING—“Like the cancer patient that refuses to acknowledge he has cancer and thus rejects all treatment, refusal to acknowledge our brokenness prevents us to be healed” (John Kelley).

During Lent I shall be presenting seven snapshots of the Cross from the Old Testament. My purpose is to deepen our understanding of what Jesus did for us at Calvary. Astonishingly, the Gospel is first announced in Genesis 3:14-15. Let’s examine the Good News in these words!

So, the serpent of ancient times, who is called the devil and Satan, was hurled down upon the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him” (Revelation 12:7-8). After Adam and Eve had been deceived by the serpent God addressed Satan: “I will put open hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring.” Two facts are revealed. First, earth will be the battleground of the hostility. Second, history will be the record of the hostility. The word “ISIS” is more than ample evidence of these facts!

He shall fatally bruise your head, and you shall only bruise His heel.” Events from World War II illustrate these words. D-Day was when the Allied forces landed in Normandy and established a beachhead. The generals on both sides recognized that the outcome of the war would be decided on that fateful day. V-Day marked the surrender of the enemy and the Allies’ liberation of all of Europe. But between D-Day and V-Day there’d be many months of suffering and struggle. There’d be horrendous battles as the Allied armies, little by little, pushed back the Nazi forces.

Jesus fought (the Cross) and won (the Resurrection) the decisive battle, God’s D-Day: “God took our debt and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s Cross. In this way God took away Satan’s power to accuse you of sin.” By defeating Satan’s power (sin and death) a beachhead of victory was established on earth. However, since the first Easter, Satan has engaged in a “scorched earth” policy, knowing that God’s V-Day, the return of Jesus, is coming—“I saw a new heaven and a new earth. I heard a loud voice speaking from the throne: ‘Now God’s home is with people! He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared.’”