Anticipating the Cross- Genesis 22 and Exodus 12
“Anticipating the Cross”
Sunday 3-30-03 AM
I. The Lord Will Provide Gen.22
II. The Lord’s Passover Ex.12
Introduction: For the next few weeks we will be looking at the message of the cross and resurrection of Jesus as we prepare our hearts for Easter, the highest religious holy day in our faith. Our salvation depends on the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross which atoned for our sins and his physical resurrection from the grave.
When you are studying a difficult and important matter that seems obscured by too many details that aren’t pertinent what do you want to do? You want to get to the crux of the matter don’t you. Then if you are doing something, some task that has many parts, there may be some that if you forget or do badly the main job still gets accomplished as long as you perform the crucial tasks. Of course crux and crucial both come from the Latin for cross. Our theology and the historic event of the crucifixion of Christ have entered our language. The cross is the central event of our faith. Deek Tidball writes, (The Message of the Cross, InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, Ill., 2001. p.20, 21) “Before the cross of Christ countless men and women of every generation and culture have stood in adoring wonder and humble penitence. The cross stands at the very heart of the Christian faith, manifesting the love of God, effecting salvation from sin, conquering the hostile forces of evil and inviting reconciliation with God….At the heart of evangelical spirituality lies the atoning work of Christ. The Christian life is viewed primarily as a life that finds its origin in the cross and is lived in grateful response to it and humble imitation of it.”
In this morning’s sermon we will look at just two Old Testament events that anticipate or point forward to the death of Jesus on the cross. In these two OT stories we will see the gospel of God’s grace, the gospel of salvation through the completed work of Jesus on the cross. This morning I will ask you to examine your life and your eternal destiny in light of the cross of Jesus and ask yourself if you are in fact saved by the blood of Jesus, are you heaven bound? Are your sins forgiven and do you have a relationship with Jesus that thrills your soul?
I. The Lord Will Provide Gen.22
In our studies of Genesis we have already looked at ch.22 last year but let us return to this dramatic chapter and one of the most important passages in the OT. Here is the story of God telling Abraham to take his son Isaac, the child of promise and sacrifice him to God on Mt. Moriah. Our modern minds are repelled by this story so much that some scholars try to take this story out of inspired scripture. But God knows what he is doing! As we look at this historical event in the lives of Abraham and Isaac we see a picture of the death of Christ on the cross and an explanation of John 3:16. This story tells us of love and sacrifice, great faith and obedience, of God’s provision and the doctrine of substitution.
In vs22:1 we see that God tested Abraham. It is God’s prerogative to test his people, to find out how much we trust in Him. Now it is one thing for us to read about Abraham’s test, where we know the outcome, but it is another thing for us to be tested when we do not know the outcome. Some of you in this very room this morning are going through some severe testing right now. Others of you have been there and you know how difficult it can be. Abraham was tested in a way that no one here can compete with, he was required to kill his son as a sacrifice.
Isaac was the child of promise, the long awaited son born by a miracle of God to a couple that were 100 and 90 yrs old respectively. This child was promised by God and was to be Abraham’s heir; the covenant was to be passed down through this child and eventually his descendants were to be a nation, as numerous as the sand on the sea shore.
Notice the obedience of Abraham in this difficult situation. He promptly obeyed and got up early the next morning and set out on this 3 day journey. His obedience was conscientious, taking everything he required for the sacrifice, even the wood. His obedience was solitary, he did not confer with his servants nor did he tell his son Isaac what was going on. If he conferred with anyone there was a chance they could talk him out of it. He bore the burden alone, tortured on the inside. Yet through it all we see a humble trust that is the essence of faith. Notice in v.5 he tells his servants that “we will worship and then we will come back”. He obeyed to the very point of binding his son and placing him on the altar and raising the knife to kill him. I believe it was at the beginning of that fatal downward stroke that God spoke to him and stopped him.
In this great act of trust by Abraham we see not just an example of obedience and trust, we see a picture of God the Father in John 3:16 who loves the world so much that he gives his one and only Son. What this tells us about the cross of Christ is that God was willing to give his best, his one and only son as a sacrifice. God did not require Abraham to go through with it but God did not spare Jesus. Look at Rom.8:31-32. This is certainly an allusion to the story of Abraham.
Notice also the submission of the son, Isaac, in this drama. In v.2 God tells Abe. to take his only son which is just how Jesus is described in John 3.16. Notice that Isaac is the one who carries the wood in v.6 and it was Jesus who carried the wooden cross til he stumbled and could go no further. John 19: “17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Even an ancient Jewish scholar compares this event in Isaac’s life to carrying a cross (see Tidball, p.44). According to the dates in the text we believe that Isaac was a young teenager at this time and that Abraham was about 113. Once Isaac figured out that he was the sacrifice, he could probably have escaped from his father, but he did not, he willingly submitted! In v. 6 when it says “the two of them went on together” there is an implication of being of the same mind, in perfect harmony. Tidball writes, (p.45) “This is not a picture of a sadistic father imposing punishment on a reluctant son, but a picture of father and son working together in ready agreement to ensure that obedience might be perfectly rendered and a perfect sacrifice offered to God.” In other words, it would seem that Isaac figured it out and that God gave him an obedient and submissive heart.
In studying the atonement of our sins by Christ’s death on the cross we can say that his death was propitiatory, to appease the holy wrath of the Father against our sins. But do not take this out of context and say that the Father was angry with the Son. The Father and Son have always been in complete agreement about the cross. Just as the Father sends the Son, the Son volunteers to go, they act together, in concert.
When the Lord intervenes and stops Abraham we see that God’s purposes were served, Abraham passed the test and God was glorified. But look what God did next, in v.13 Abraham sees a ram caught in a thicket. A sacrifice for God has been provided, by God! By faith Abraham had already stated to Isaac that God would provide back in v.8. When that ram was born, God directed that Ram’s life to bring it to that thicket at that time and place for that glorious purpose. This was no accident or coincidence, it was God’s sovereign plan.
Just as God provided the ram, so he provided his son as our substitute. This principle of substitution was well known throughout the ancient world as the basis for most sacrifices. Everyone knew that the blood of animals could not atone for the sins of people, but they were a suitable substitute.
Look at John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Even the place where this event took place is of significance to our Lord’s crucifixion. In vs2 it is named Moriah and we see that name again in 2Chron.3:12 Then Solomon began to build the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the place provided by David.
In Gen22:14 Abe calls the place The Lord Will Provide and on Calvary God did provide.
II. The Lord’s Passover Ex.12
In this story we see the central historical event that founded the people of Israel. Many liberal scholars ascribe the passover to myth but conservative scholars see the historical nature of it. Nations are not founded on myth but on fact. In Ex12.11 we see that this is the Lord’s passover- this is an institution founded by God for his people. It is an act of revelation by God about his character and purposes.
In Gen 15 God had told Abraham that his descendants would become slaves in another land, but God would punish that nation and deliver his people with great treasure, so the passover and exodus fulfill that prophecy. God is faithful to His Word.
The passover reveals the compassion of God for his people for it is how he delivered them from their oppression. It reveals the justice of God as he judges the Egyptians and shows his sovereign power.
Notice that the lamb was to be perfect, no defects, v.. Nothing less than perfection could satisfy a perfect God. When the throat of the animal was slit with the knife the blood was to be caught in a basin and they were to use a hyssup plant to smear the blood over the door. Then the lamb is cooked and eaten along with the bitter herbs and unleavened bread. They were to eat it dressed for the journey, ready for action.
What did God accomplish with the passover? God judges a sinful people through the events of the passover. The angel of death came that night and struck down every first born man and animal in Egypt. Here we see the holy wrath of God in judgment, an idea that is not popular in our society that stresses tolerance and hates to confront evil. But God is holy 3x and he cannot tolerate evil forever.
In the story of the passover and exodus we see an idolatrous people defeated. Each of the plagues on Egypt is a plague that strikes at a Egptian god or an essential part of their culture and economy. Every thing false about their society was judged by God.
The people of God were redeemed by the events that night. First of all the people of Israel were not automatically protected, they had to apply the blood to be protected. They too were sinners and needed protection. They could not protect themselves except by doing what God had said. The plan of redemption comes from God. No other plan of salvation.
Notice that God’s people were delivered from slavery and also enriched.35 The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. 36 The LORD had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.
JN 8:34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin
RO 7:14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.
God also delivered them from slavery to go on a journey with the purpose being to worship him, to form a nation of priests to serve him. When slavery ends, the journey begins.
Christ is called the lamb of God by John the Baptist in Jonh1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Look at 1Peter18-19*
JN 19:28 Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
These are my sermon notes from a morning sermon 6 years ago. Notes are always incomplete, hence the sudden ending.