“On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.” Genesis 22:4 (NIV)
When my second son was born, my husband’s grandma came to see me in the hospital. She sat in a chair at the end of my bed and told me what a wonderful birthday my son had. It had all even numbers and that was the best kind of birthday. Her birthday also had all even numbers. She then proceeded to spend the next 15 minutes telling me everyone’s birthday she could think of and whether it was a good birthday or a bad birthday based on the evenness of the date. Aren’t grandma’s great!
Numbers can mean a lot to people. Most people have a favorite number. Mine is 18. (Go Kyle!) I also like the number 10. I have a weird experience where I frequently see the number 34- not sure what that means 🙂 Sometimes numbers do have a deeper meaning. There are many numbers in the Bible that reveal a deeper meaning to the Scriptures.
Abraham traveled for three days before he reached the mountain where God had brought him. That was probably a long three days! Not only was there the stress of traveling that long distance, but there was also the stress of arriving and the task that needed to be done. I’m sure Abraham had mixed feelings about seeing the place in the distance. On the one hand, he was probably relieved that the journey was over; yet, part of him probably hoped it would never end.
I don’t know if Abraham understood the significance of the three days. The number three is an important number in the Bible. It often signifies perfection or completion.
Jesus repeatedly told his disciples, “he must be killed and after three days rise again.” (Mark 8:31) This should not have been a surprise to the disciples, but for some reason it never sunk in. On the third day after Jesus had been crucified, they were SHOCKED that he had risen.
“In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? he is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you.” (Luke 24:5-6) They didn’t remember until after the angels reminded them. They were so wrapped up in their grief that they forgot the promise they had been given.
Just as Abraham probably struggled through that three day journey, so the disciples struggled through their three days while Jesus laid in the tomb. Those three days represent death and suffering, but that third day! That third day represents resurrection! If only Abraham could see what God was about to do!
Personal Reflection: Do you have a favorite number? Why does it have a special meaning to you?