The death of Sarah marks the beginning of the end of Abraham and Sarah’s adventures with God—but only the beginning of God’s fulfilment of his promises. After all that bartering, the burial plot Abraham buys represents a small advance for the land that was promised to Sarah’s descendants.
God’s promise sometimes comes among us in small, vulnerable, and ostensibly insignificant
ways; a useful Advent reminder.
An unsettling passage about Abraham’s faith and God’s person. Or is it quite as unsettling as it seems at first sight? Whereas for Abraham, God in the end provides the sacrifice, thousands of years later he himself would become the sacrifice in Jesus, the only-begotten Son, the Lamb of God.
On this first Sunday of Advent, we’re thinking about Wonderful Counsellor , one of Isaiah’s titles for Jesus. He is the one who humbled himself, came among us and, even today, counsels us by his Spirit.
Abraham’s faith lacks consistency and he repeats his mistake from Genesis 12 of pretending Sarah is merely his sister. God’s providence alone prevents worse (20:6: “ It was I who kept you from sinning against me.”) As Dale Ralph Davis comments, “there are times when faith doesn’t show up—but God does!”
We’re continuing through Jesus’ I Am sayings in the gospel of John. This morning, I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:1‒9b), dealing with the radical uniqueness of Christ as the way by whom we can come back to God.
What to make of this extraordinary bartering with God for the fate of Sodom? This is the source for the Hasidic idea that there are 36 righteous people (tzadikim) in the world preventing its destruction. What is our role from a Christian perspective?
I am the resurrection and the life , Jesus says. He is the one who leads us into eternal life—but that is much more than mere “pie in the sky when you die”: resurrection life is anticipated today, and in the Lord’s Supper he has in fact given us some powerful reminders of that.