It must have torn Abraham apart when his son innocently asked, "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" All he could say was, "The Lord will provide." And provide He did. Abraham tied his son, laid him on the altar and prepared to kill him as he had done so many times with animals he had offered. But this offering was his son. He went so far as to raise his arm to kill Isaac when an angel of the Lord stopped him. And a substitute was provided, a ram that Abraham could offer instead of his own son.
Years later, another man stood on Moriah. His name was David and he came seeking a substitute, seeking to offer the sacrifice that would stop the slaughter of his people. We read in 2 Samuel 24 how he bought a threshing floor and offered a sacrifice to stop the plague that had been sent to punish him for his arrogance. Later David's son, Solomon, built a temple, building it on Moriah, on the very spot where his father had offered that sacrifice. Thousands of animals were offered there, offered as a substitute for God's people.
Then came the day when God offered His own Son. All of creation watched and waited, knowing that this was the God of substitutes, the God of mercy. Where would the substitute come from this time? But there was none to be offered, for Jesus was the substitute.
But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:5-6).
We can have new life because Jesus was the substitute, the One who died for us. If you want to know more about how to have that new life, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or join the discussion at www.hopeforlife.org.