Read the context around these key verses when possible!
We enjoy giving gifts this time of year. Gifts can be in many forms. They can be in the form of presents wrapped under a tree – a treasure carefully selected and packaged with care to be enjoyed by a loved one. They can be in the form of time – a service of your best talents you have to offer someone else. They can be in the form of words – just the right expression of how you appreciate someone. We want to give gifts to those we love!
One day, God asked Abraham for a gift. Remember, God had promised to make Abraham’s family numerous and bless all the families of the world through him. By this time, Abraham had a son named Isaac, and God promised all the blessings would all come through this son’s family. Then… God asked for the gift. The request wasn’t for Abraham’s time, or his words, or even a wrapped present. God’s request was for Abraham to give Him his son, Isaac. God asked for a sacrifice of Abraham’s son – a gift that would cost Abraham everything. He would have to kill the son whom He loved.
Something remarkable happened. Abraham said yes.
Hebrews tells us that Abraham believed God. He had faith that God, – if He wanted to – could even raise a dead boy back to life. In full confidence that God – who asked for a gift – would always be faithful, Abraham prepared to give Him his beloved son.
Something more remarkable happened. God provided.
God provided a ram to take the place of Isaac. Abraham was sure Isaac would die on that alter, but Abraham received him back instead – back from death. In Isaac’s place laid a lamb who died.
To Abraham (and to us) God paints a picture of a lamb taking man’s place in death, so man can live. The true sacrifice, Jesus, would come long after – a baby born into Abraham’s family to take the place of His people in death. What a great reason to celebrate this baby born for us!
The lamb in Abraham’s day was wrapped in thorns, “caught” and unable to move. That lamb was helpless. The Lamb of God, Jesus, was also wrapped in thorns – a crown of thorns – but he was not “caught” in His thorns. He was not helpless. He willingly choose to take death on the cross and bear the wrath of God. With all power to free Himself from His thorns and all power to save Himself from the death, He willingly gave Himself. He took on flesh – took on thorns – took on death – because He fully loved and trusted the Father, and He loved the people He would save.
How can we be saved?
“Only by faith in Jesus Christ and in his substitutionary atoning death on the cross.”New City Catechism, Question 29
Most remarkable of all… God did raise the dead.
Jesus came alive again, defeating sin and death forever. One day all God’s people – all who believe – will defeat death and come alive forever because of Jesus. Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. The same is true for us today. We believe God, and Christ’s righteousness is ours.
Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs
Theo: Volume 1, Saving Faith – This is the first of a series of 10 minute videos elementary kids will enjoy. In this episode, Abraham’s call and faith are retold.
What is something you’ve had to give up? Was it difficult? Did it turn out to be worth it? How is having Jesus better than anything we might give up?
Neighbors & Nations
We are blessed to be a blessing. Whether near or far, God’s heart is to make His name known so people from every nation will worship Him.
What can our family do today to make God’s name known?
Ideas for December 5
- Internationals living in our city have already given up many familiar things from their home country. How can our family welcome them, love them, and invite them into our celebration of Jesus?
- Contact a local university and find out about ministries to international students.
- Pray that God would open our eyes to the needs of those around us and give us opportunities to meet people from other places.
If you are using the Advent Prayer Chain, pray for the next link.
If you have the Seeing Jesus stickers, add the circle to today's banner and review the previous stickers.
Seeing Jesus, Advent Wall Sticker Set is a Christmas countdown that provides a visual reminder of each day’s focus to help us see and celebrate Jesus.