"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
This is possibly the most quoted verse in scripture.
The covenant God made with Himself on behalf of the world (us) was exemplified by God nearly 2000 years before it's fulfillment in Christ, by way of a test of Abraham's faith, through a burnt offering. A burnt offering (sacrifice) was a ritual by which the Hebrew people presented the flesh or blood of an innocent animal to God as payment for their sins. In Genesis 22: 1-15 God told Abraham "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering..."
As an obedient servant of the Lord, Abraham went forth by faith to sacrifice his son. Three days into the journey, Abraham saw at a distance the place God had told him of. Abraham instructed the young men he had with him, to wait with the donkey as he and Isaac would continue on alone to worship and that they would return
. Abraham knew, by faith, that God had promised; "In Isaac your descendants shall be called
." (Gen. 21:12)
Therefore God would provide a sacrifice in place of Isaac or raise Isaac from the dead. (Heb. 11:19 )
The wood for the burnt offering was laid upon Isaac to carry and Isaac asked his father where is the sacrificial lamb for the burnt offering? Abraham replied, "God will provide for Himself the lamb..."
Arriving at the place of which God had told Abraham, he built an altar. Arranging the wood and binding Isaac, Abraham laid Isaac on top of the wood. As Abraham prepared to slay his son with a knife, God intervened and provided Abraham with a ram to sacrifice in place of his son.
Note the similarities in Gods preview of what was to come; Take ...your only son... a lad, an innocent child (Jesus, Gods only Son, innocent, without sin). Abraham was obedient (Jesus is obedient, even onto death) Do this by faith (believe, have faith in Jesus). Isaac carried the wood to his place of sacrifice (Jesus carried His cross to Calvary). Isaac was bound (Jesus was bound). Isaac did not resist (Jesus willingly laid down His life). God ultimately provided the sacrificial lamb (Jesus is the sacrifice). God does not require of us a sacrifice. Men (we) have broken all the covenants God has made with us. Thereby God made a covenent with Himself, one that can not be broken or earned. For by grace you have been saved by faith in Christ; not of yourselves, it is a gift of God; not a result of works, that no one should boast. (Eph. 2:8-9)
Like Abraham, a great man of faith, "...believe in Him
and you shall not perish, but have eternal life.
To God be the glory