Isaac said, “‘Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’ And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” Genesis 22:7-8
Some Scattered Thoughts on the Atonement
If Jesus is God’s sacrificial lamb for the sins of the world (John 1:29), where was the fire?
Roman scourging and crucifixion were horrific, but surely there are people who have endured worse suffering, right? Could that atone for the sin of the world?
In the garden on the night before He was crucified, Jesus even asked the Father to take “this cup” from Him (“not what I will, but what You will”). He was in such distress over it that He sweat “as it were, great drops of blood.” Was He anticipating 6 hours of Roman torture?
Isaiah 53:10 says, “it pleased Yahweh to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief… You make His soul an offering for sin.” The real atonement was God’s doing, not the Romans or the Jews.
In Genesis 22, that undeniably clear picture of Christ, Abraham said to the two men with him (perhaps pictures of the Gentiles and Israel, the Romans and the Jewish leaders), “Stay here. The lad and I will go [up on the mountain] to worship.” Man cannot even comprehend the judgment of a Holy God against sin, let alone participate in it.
Abraham the father carried the knife and the fire, and laid the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac his son. (“The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all,” Isaiah 53:6.) The knife was to shed his blood, and the fire was to offer his soul to God. But this was just a picture, and the Angel of Yahweh Himself (not an angel, THE Angel, who is God the Son), said, “do not harm the boy.” That cup was for Him.
The sailors may have thrown Jonah off the ship, but “the floods… Your billows and waves passed over me… ‘I have been cast out of Your sight.'” Was not their doing. No act of men could ever cause the Son of God to cry “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?”
The fountains of the deep opened up against the ark, but then the rains came.
God poured out His righteous judgment against man’s sin on God the Son, and while bloodshed and death were an essential part of the cross, there was so much more that the scriptures only hint at.
Christ endured the concentrated horrors of hell in the three hours of darkness on the cross.
The eternity of a Holy God’s wrath against sin was spread across the God-man’s infinite being.
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.
Meditate on Jesus and His work always, and when you do, look deeper than the physical suffering, which was necessary, but not sufficient for our atonement. He endured so much more, and was able to yell out at the end: “IT IS FINISHED.” He paid our debt in full. And three days later, God proved it true. As the old hymn says, hallelujah! What a savior!