Abraham and his Faithfulness
28 Feb 2021
SERMON – ABRAHAM & HIS FAITHFULNESS
God did not spare His own Son but handed Him over for us all.” - Romans 8:32
“In this, the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.” - 1 John 4:6
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus:
In today’s first reading, taken from the Book of Genesis, we read about Abraham. The life story of Abram, later called Abraham, is quite remarkable. God had chosen Abraham to be the father of “a great nation,” as written in Gen. 12:2. The interesting fact, to all of this, was that Abraham was 75 years of age. Later, we read, that Abraham wonders how this is possible, since he and his wife Sarai, later known as Sarah, were childless. Being childless, Abraham would go on to establish an heir and impregnates Sarai’s slave, Hagar and she gives birth to a son, Ishmael, who would later be the father of all Arab and Muslims peoples. Abraham was 86 years old when Ishmael was born. But God was not done with Abraham, Now in Genesis 17, God says to Abram, that a son will be born to him and Sarai. It is written that Abraham even “jokes within himself” and questions this when he asks: Can a man who is 100 years and a wife who is ninety years old still be able to have a child? God saysto Abraham, “your wife Sarai will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac and I will establish My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant and for his descendants after him.”
I am sure that Abraham saw the birth of Isaac as a divine blessing and a fulfillment of God’s promise of a great nation by a father passing on his seed, to a new generation. But after the birth of Isaac, we read: “Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah and sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
Abraham obeyed God and led Isaac, who is now around 8 years of age, to a place on Mount Moriah, were Abraham prepares a fire for a burnt sacrifice. He intends to offer up to God, his only son. But before Isaac is sacrificed, an angel of the Lord tells Abraham not to harm his son Isaac and then Abraham finds a ram which he sacrifices unto God in place of his only son, Isaac.
In the second reading for today, taken from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans, we read; “God did not spare His own son, but delivered him up for us all.”
God’s Son. We recall in today’s Gospel of the Transfiguration of our Lord and when the voice of God is heard; who speaks about His beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased and the need to listen to Him. There are two times in the New Testament that the voice of God is heard. The first time is at the Lord’s baptism and the second time is at His Transfiguration.
These two events, in the life of Jesus, confirms His deity, His Oneness and His relationship to God. In the three years of His ministry, Jesus manifested the power of God in His healings and the wisdom of God in His teachings. But there was to be another sacrifice, in line of the story of Abraham and Isaac, for Jesus was to become the pascal lamb, and a perfect sacrifice, which was not to be placed on an altar of stone but rather on a cross of wood.
The intense love of God to offer up His only begotten son, for the sins of man, was to be fully manifested at the crucifixion of Jesus. In John 3:16-17, we read of the depth of God’s love for us, through His Son: “ForGod so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. We further read that God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but rather to save it through Him.
This Lenten season, may we pause for a moment and reflect on the importance of the words of the great spiritual hymn “When I survey the wonderous cross.”
“When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride. “
“Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ my God! All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood. See from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down!”
Paul makes a statement in his letter to the Romans: “If God is for us who can be against us?” He also reminds his readers that: “Christ Jesus is the one who died or, rather, who was raised and who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.
My dear brothers and sisters: Just as God put Abraham to a test of faith, that day, so doesn’t our heavenly Father, put us all to the test, when trouble, sickness, illness and all other things, come our way question our faith. But did not Jesus tell us: “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world,”.
May we grow stronger in our faith as we walk with Christ this Lenten season. May we come to know and experience the depth of God’s love, for us which is beyond comprehension. Let the final verse to the hymn “When I survey the Wonderous Cross brings to mind this love: “Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,or thorns compose so rich a crown? Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all."