Easter @ Stonehaven Baptist Church

By Alex Russon / April 1, 2024

Happy Easter from all at Stonehaven Baptist Church! It was splendid seeing so many unfamiliar faces at the service on Sunday and a pleasure to share a few hours together on this the central day of the Christian faith.

To say Easter’s all about Jesus is to make a right royal statement of the obvious. It might seem peculiar then that our Easter sermon addressed the story of Abraham and his son Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19) but in truth, this was entirely apposite. The story of Isaac’s near death couldn’t be more prophetic when addressing the Easter story.

We learn from the Old Testament’s book of Genesis that Abraham lead his son Isaac up a mountain to be slain, but in the event God provided a substitute for Abraham’s son in the form of a ram. Isaac was therefore spared and the animal sacrificed instead, a telling foretaste of seismic events to come years later, when God sacrificed his own son, Jesus, to a death on the cross.

But why the need for such a close shave for Abraham and his son? Why go to such lengths of mental torture to make a point? God allows tests in our lives, in this case Abraham’s, testing whether we put our faith in him or not. God wasn’t doing this out of a warped sense of humour, he’s not a punishing God getting kicks out of people’s torment, no he had this episode play out to instil within Abraham the importance of unwavering devotion to God. It was a very stark lesson but it had Abraham confront the cruciality of God in his life, that he should represent the first, last and everything, and was a lesson to us all in this regard too. 

Could anything be more painful than sacrificing your own child? Abraham’s mind must have been in turmoil as he advanced up that mountain to end the life of his son. Was God taunting him? Why would God cause such anguish and test him so shockingly? It seems senseless to our finite minds but was done as a one time event to signpost people to God, to Jesus, to demonstrate the importance of absolute obedience, to indicate God’s will that we devote ourselves to him.

There were so many signs during the Abraham/Isaac journey to point us to the Easter passion – transportation via a colt, the son strapped to a wooden stake, the events occurring on the third day. None of this was a coincidence, nothing in the bible is, but whilst Christ was indeed slain, Abraham’s son Isaac was spared after Abraham had gone as far as taking the knife. Likewise, in our toughest trials, when our resolve is stretched to what feels like the absolute limit, when we experience an intense strain which can feel too much to bear, if we go to God seeking his perfect will, we can be spared the torment and instead rest in his peace. Prayer and contemplation over his word to us in the bible will soothe the soul and aid us in discernment, in decision making, in deciding next steps. God simply wants our hearts and minds, it’s good to use our time in his company.

Jesus knew exactly what lay ahead when he walked up the mountain to his death. Isaac may have been spared and a ram taken as a sacrifice in his place but Jesus, the son of God, was to be sacrificed as an atonement for the sin of us all. He went willingly, “..not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42) he said when addressing his father. He carried his own cross up that hill, his own instrument of torture and death, and willingly had himself nailed to it. He did that for you and for me, stretched himself out to be killed as an atonement for our sins so that God can look upon us with the same love as he does his own son. How great is love such as this?

We’re all invited to place our faith in this Jesus, thanking him for his loving sacrifice and accepting the salvation he’s gifted to us, a life of peace on earth and eternity with him in heaven. It’s yours today if you want it.

Genesis 22:1-19 NIV – Abraham Tested – Some time later God – Bible Gateway