Versions of this question are often tossed around when new babies are born. "Who do you think he (or she) looks like?" Usually the answer is mom, dad, or a mix of the two. Physical characteristics pass from generation to generation, but so do character traits and other tendencies. Do you ever wonder who Jesus resembled? Physically, Jesus was born into a Jewish family in the Middle East. He probably had that coloring. Still, cultures all over the world show Jesus in their art as looking like them. This is because Jesus lived a human life, struggling with the same things we all do (Hebrews 9:14; 4:15). He also died so that people all over the world who trust and believe in Him will be saved (Romans 10:10). Jesus is our way to a right relationship to God. He is God in a human body who loves us very much (John 3:16-17). That is why people all over the world tend to picture Jesus as looking just like them. What about Jesus character? Who did He resemble? Some stories of Jesus' ancestors point specifically to what would come in the Christ Child. Take Isaac for example.
When was Isaac born?
Abraham had been promised as many descendants as the stars in the sky and the sand on the shore. When he was 100 years old, Abraham had Isaac, the promised child which began that line of many offspring, the Jewish people. Through this seed, all the nations of the world would be blessed (Genesis 17; 18:1-15, 18; 21:1-7).
What happened to Isaac?
One day, God asked the unthinkable of Abraham: “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you” (Genesis 22:2, NIV). Along the road, Isaac asked his father where the lamb was for the sacrifice. “God himself will provide the lamb” (Genesis 22:8, NIV). When the time came, Abraham bound his precious child, laid him on the altar, and then raised his knife to kill his beloved boy. Hebrews 11:17-19 says that Abraham acted in faith, figuring that God could always raise the boy back to life. When Abraham was mid-strike, an angel of the Lord stopped him. “‘Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ he said. ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son’” (Genesis 22:12, NIV). When Abraham looked up, he saw a ram caught in the bushes. This replacement sacrifice Abraham then offered in place of his son. God then reaffirmed His promise to Abraham that because of his obedience, the number of Abraham’s descendants would be great. “And through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me” (Genesis 22:18, NIV). (See Genesis 22:1-18.)
What does that mean to us today?
What happened to Isaac foreshadowed what would happen when Jesus came. God’s Son, His only Son, the Son He loves—Jesus (Luke 1:26-38; 3:21-22)—went up to a special mountain (Calvary) to be sacrificed. Isaac was figuratively raised from the dead, but Jesus was literally raised from the dead (Luke 24). Isaac tested Abraham’s faith. Jesus tests ours. His death paid for our sins, but we have to turn from our sin and trust in Him to receive that gift (John 3:16; Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Psalm 51:7-11). Have you ever done that?
Thank God for providing Jesus as the lamb to die in your place. Pray for those who have not yet heard this Good News and those who go to tell them. Ask God to give you the words and courage to share this exciting news with others too.
Read Hebrews 10:1-18. How are we forgiven from sin now that Jesus died for sin once and for all? NOTE: This post originally appeared Dec. 24, 2013, on Nancy Ruth's old (now defunct) blog. It has been edited for this post. This post was featured on the Titus 2 Tuesday LinkUp Party hosted by Cornerstone Confessions.