God puts Abraham to the test, by asking him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. God’s demand seems shocking to us. It would be shocking to Abraham, too. It was common for pagan nations to offer up their children to appease their gods; but the God of Israel forbade the horror of human sacrifice. For the people of Abraham’s time, the very life of a father himself was bound up with the life of his child and heir. There was nothing more important to Abraham than Isaac, the son whom God had given to him and Sarah when they were well past the normal age of raising a child. If Abraham gives up Isaac, he will have nothing left but his trust in God. But he doesn’t hesitate to offer to God what is most precious to him: and God, seeing Abraham’s faith, rewards him with blessings beyond his imagination.
If we are shocked that God could ask the faithful disciple Abraham to sacrifice his son – even as a test – we should be even more shocked that God would sacrifice his own Son for our sins. There is no limit to God’s love for us.