In their respective accounts, both Jesus1 and Isaac2 are promised-childs, miraculously conceived gifts from God (neither mother was supposed to be able to give birth). This is relevant because few figures share this property,3 and it is central to both Jesus and Isaac.
In both stories, Jesus1 and Isaac2 are explicitly identified as their father's special “one and only son.” This is relevant because few father-son relationships are described this way in the Biblical texts, and yet this unique specialness of the son to their father is central to both the story of Isaac and Jesus.
In their respective accounts, both Jesus1 and Isaac2 were to be sacrificed by their father. This is relevant because few figures in story or history share this property, and yet it is a defining feature of Isaac and Jesus.
In their respective accounts, Jesus1 and Isaac2 were to be sacrificed in the same location (hills of Moriah). This is relevant because no other Biblical figures share this property, and God commanded Abraham to travel about 50 miles to sacrifice Isaac at just this location, without ever offering an explanation.3 (It is as if God expected something special to happen there later?)
In their respective accounts, both Jesus1 and Isaac2 were to be sacrificial lambs to God.
◦ John 1:29 -- The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (v. 36 -- and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”)
◦ 1 Peter 1:18 -- knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things… but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
◦ Genesis 22:1,7-8 -- offer him there as a burnt offering… Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.
In their respective accounts, both Jesus 1 and Isaac2 were ironically expected to carry the very wood up the hill that they were to be sacrificed on. This is relevant because no other Biblical figures share this property, and it is one of the few details given on the story of Isaac's being sacrificed, while also prominently featuring in the account of Jesus's death.
In their respective accounts, both Jesus 1 and Isaac2 (much stronger than Abraham) submitted to their father's will to be sacrificed, without resisting. This is relevant because it is hardly expected in such a case, and yet is an essential and unique characteristic of how Jesus and Isaac went to die.
In both the story of Jesus1 and Isaac,2 the account ends with the message that “God will provide,” specifically he will provide sacrificial replacement so his loved ones do not. This is relevant because, while the analogue to Jesus shifts from Isaac to the ram, this was necessary to incorporate the final element: the substitionary death. The text emphasizes the ram was killed “in the place of his son.” The text really seemed to want to highlight this feature, saying they sacrificed the ram "in Isaac's place"; the story need need to say that.
In both stories, Jesus1 and Isaac2 were expected by their fathers to be resurrected by God.
• The whole situation was a test of Abraham's faith in God's promise just before:
Genesis 22:5 -- Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.”
Genesis 21:21 “God said… 'it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.'”
Genesis 17:9 -- “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him."
In other words, insofar as Abraham believed both…
• …that he would kill Isaac
• …that Isaac would live on to have children and continue Abraham's line,
Abraham obviously had to believe would raise Isaac from death. This was noticed by Jews long before.
Hebrews 11:17-19 -- "By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death."
Unlike Jesus, Isaac did not actually die. Instead, he was spared. This is relevant because the death of Jesus is essential to his narrative, and it is missing from the story of Isaac.
However, it is not clear that this wasn't the best way to do things from a foreshadowing or prefiguring perspective (if one took a poll, there would be significant disagreement). Which is better:
(a) A prefiguring where Jesus and Isaac parallel and where finally Isaac too is killed, but no notion of substitutionary death provided by God is involved as in the Jesus story.
(b) A prefiguring where Jesus and Isaac parallel, yet where Isaac is not killed, and in its place is the parallel of a substitutionary death provided by God: the Ram.1