Monday, February 25, 2013

It's all about Jesus - The Ram

I attend a men's Bible study on Wednesdays. The guy who leads it is going through the book of Genesis with a focus on the grace of God. The other day he was in Genesis 22 talking about Abraham obeying God when he was asked to sacrifice his son. He mentioned that we tend to focus on Abraham and Isaac but the main focus on this story should not be them but rather the ram in verse 13.

Genesis 22: 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.

The guy leading the study said the symbolism of Christ is all over this verse. He pointed them out and I wanted to share them with you.

First it was a ram and rams were used as a sin offering. Rams were sacrificed to cove the sin of the children of God.

Leviticus 19: 21, 22 - 21 but he shall bring his compensation to the Lord, to the entrance of the tent of meeting, a ram for a guilt offering. 22 And the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering before the Lord for his sin that he has committed, and he shall be forgiven for the sin that he has committed.

Second the ram was caught in the thicket. The thicket was overgrowth or thorns, a result of Adam's sin. The ground was cursed:

Genesis 3: 17, 18
17 And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
    and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
    ‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
    in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
    and you shall eat the plants of the field.

Christ had to come because of this same curse. Adam's sin affected everything and everyone.

Third the thistles or thorns were around the rams head just as Christ had a crown of thorns thrust upon his head.

Matthew 27: 28, 29 - 28 And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

Finally Abraham took the ram and offered it as a sacrifice instead of his son. This is the ultimate picture of Christ dying in our place. The ram was innocent, he did nothing to deserve death, he did not gore anyone to death with his horns he did not try to attack Abraham or Isaac. Just as Christ did nothing to deserve death. God, in his perfect plan, sent Christ to do for us what we could never do, live a perfect life, a life without spot or blemish. Christ was the ultimate sacrifice. He died in my place, he took my sins upon him so I could have a right standing before God.

Jude closes his letter with a beautiful doxology about this:

Jude 24, 25 - 24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

As I have mentioned before, the whole story of the Bible is about Christ. Don't miss him as you read.

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