File:Philippe de Champaigne - Le sacrifice d'Isaac.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Did you know that more than 90% of those who go to the gym intend to transform the way they look? Of course, when you see someone committed to working out, you can tell because the physical figure speaks for itself. However, we must acknowledge that before one loses weight, the individual must give up some things, including fats. The saying comes true here, “you have to lose something to gain something.”

How would you feel if an authority you respect, and revere so much comes around to ask you to give up something that you value so much? You might be stuck between loyalty for the authority and your love for what you value so much. Would you be ready to let go of something very precious to secure a relationship?

Abraham found himself in a situation that reflects the description above. For twenty-five years, Abraham waited for the fulfilment  of God’s promise of a son that would sustain the reality of a multitude that would come from his loins. When finally, the son, Isaac, showed up, God commanded him to offer him as a sacrifice. How about that?

Abraham’s Offering

From our human perspective, it may not make sense that someone should give up what one has been expecting for years, but God’s packaging is different. In the divine mechanics, the operational principle is that you lose to gain, and in giving, you receive.

When God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, God knew that it was a painful thing to do because of the values of Isaac. God said, “Take your Son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the Land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a holocaust on a height that I point out to you.” You can see here that God made it even more emotional, “your only one…whom you love”.

Simply up, God was asking Abraham to give up Isaac. Surprisingly, Abraham did not ask any questions, just like the time God asked him to leave his father’s house and his homeland to a place he would show him (Gen. 12:1f). When you understand that God cannot take you to the place where His grace will not be sufficient you, would not question His authority when He speaks.

Jesus Christ: God’s Offering (Isaac) to Humanity

God showed the example of giving up what is most precious to oneself in the person and mission of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom the scriptures call the only begotten Son of God (John 1:18; 3:16, and 1John 4:9). Like Abraham but more than him, God was ready and did to give up his only begotten Son in whom He is well pleased.

On his part, our Lord Jesus Christ accepted to be offered up as a sacrifice for the atonement of our sins on the cross. Did you know that the cry: “My God my God why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46), could have been the same cry of Isaac as Abraham held him down to offer him up to God on that mountain in Moriah?

Giving Up Your “Isaac”  

We all have our different “Isaacs” that come in various shapes and sizes. Our “Isaacs” represent those things, people, events, or places that make our world go round. They could be what characterizes our comfort zones. They could be helpful in various ways. But hear this truth, anything you have that is more important to you than God is not good for you; it could also ruin your life.

The Lenten season is timely enough for us to give up the Isaacs contending with our spiritual growth and development. When we say that you need to lose something to get something, we mean that nothing would change until you decide to change.

The transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ we read in Mark’s Gospel (9:2-10) is a message of transformative change that comes from the willingness to change by giving up some things. Have you wondered why the transfiguration could only happen at the mountain top? Our Lord Jesus Christ and the three disciples needed to change their position to get the disposition for the transfiguration. It was not an accident.

Think about anything or anyone preventing your ascent to your mountain of transfiguration; that could be a limitation for you; give it up. Sometimes we erroneously think that when we give up certain things, we lose out, and life becomes boring. We instead have a lot to gain and even more. When Peter wanted to know the reward of those who gave up everything to follow the Lord, Jesus replies and says that they would gain hundredfold in this age and the age to come (Mark 10:28-30).

As we continue our spiritual work-out this Lenten period, let us try to concentrate on those areas of our lives that are greatly distorted by sinful habits by wilfully offering them up to the Lord. We need that transfiguration encounter that would make us experience Jesus in a way new. Like Peter, may we desire to stay in that radiance and pitch our tents with the Lord forever.

God bless you, and have a blessed week.

Fr. Bonnie.  


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