Genesis 22 opens with God calling out to Abraham. Abraham responds, “Here I am!” (Gen 22:1). According to Levenson’s analysis, Abraham is not simply telling God his location but he is conveying “readiness, attentiveness, and responsiveness” (Levenson 67). Similarly, in the Gospel of John, when Jesus responds, “I AM” to the men looking for him, he conveys readiness, attentiveness, and responsiveness (John 18:5). But in addition, Jesus’ reply also expresses his divinity. These words are seen before in God’s call and commission of Moses in Exodus. “I am who I am… This is what you will tell the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you” (Ex 3:14). This is only the beginning of the many parallels these narratives seem to share. Fundamentally, however, Jesus’s passion clearly supersedes the near sacrifice of Isaac.
In the Aqedah of Genesis and John’s passion narrative, the relationships between father and son are central. With Ishmael cast aside, Isaac is Abraham’s only son. Upon Isaac rests the future promised by God’s covenant with Abraham. To ask Abraham to offer up Isaac not only requires Abraham to sacrifice his son, but also to sacrifice himself as a father. To comply is a sign of love, reverence, and obedience. The Aqedah is a test of Abraham’s trust in God, his trust that even if he were to slaughter his son on whom his future rests, God would restore him so that the covenant would be fulfilled. In the end, however, the ange...
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...s a “type of the passion of Christ which was to come” (Levenson 102). Melito further explains, “When the thing comes about of which the sketch was a type…. Then the type is destroyed, it has become useless” (Levenson 103). To say that the Aqedah is “useless”, entirely discredits the truth that it reveals, but it is true that it pales in comparison to the reality of the passion and actual sacrifice of Jesus.
In the New Testament, the “thing” comes about of which the sketch was a type. This “thing” is Jesus and he is completion and fulfilment of the sketch that began with Abraham. In Jesus we find the full value of the message of commitment, obedience, faith and love modeled by Abraham. This does not diminish the value of the Aqedah and the Old Testament, but along with the Gospel and New Testament stories we can understand their full meaning and implications.
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