Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. (Gen. 22:13)

THESE DAYS, there is a good and proper focus on preaching and teaching Christ from all of the Scriptures. Though certainly not new, we Protestants had departed in more recent years from the practices of the Reformers in our approach toward the stories of the Bible. A popular children’s Bible has rightly noted that “every story whispers His name.”

Today’s story whispers it more loudly than most. The imagery is not opaque like J. R. R. Tolkien in his Lord of the Rings trilogy; it is clear like C. S. Lewis in The Chronicles of Narnia.

Abraham went out to a mountain to sacrifice his only son. God sent His only Son out to a hill to be a sacrifice. The wood for the sacrifice was placed on Isaac. The wooden crossbeam was placed on Jesus. Abraham believed his only son would go back with him. Jesus believed He would go back and has returned to His Father. Abraham told his son that God would provide a substitute. Jesus died in our place as our substitute. God blessed Abraham for not withholding his only son. God blessed the world by not withholding His only Son.

Abraham believed God would provide the lamb, and ultimately He did. Jesus is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

Steve Johnson teaches at United Christian Academy in Stanardsville, Virginia, and frequently preaches at area churches. He enjoys life with his wife and five-year-old son.