To Serve and Protect

Today we look back to the Garden, and we fast forward from creation to the cross. As we look back to Genesis 3, we see the first glimpse of the cross. And, as we approach Jerusalem on this Pathway to the Passion, on the horizon is the shadowy figure of the cross. What Jesus does on that instrument of Roman torture is to fulfill God’s prophecy in verse 15 of Genesis 3. In both of these scenes, a man is found who represents all of mankind. In creation, Adam goes to a tree and fails. At Calvary, Jesus goes to a tree and fulfills perfectly what God had sent Him to do. What did these men accomplish and what difference does it make in our lives? Read on…

Read Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-15 – A Bride Dies

            A man and his wife stood near a tree. Suddenly a serpent appeared to them. He tempted them to break the one commandment God had given them. The woman first, and then the man fell prey to Satan’s evil enticement. Adam committed a sin of commission by eating from the tree he was commanded not to eat. But, he also committed a sin of omission by not doing what God had required of him. He was instructed to work and protect the garden (Genesis 2:15). Adam stood at the tree and watched Eve fall into sin and death. He failed to protect his bride from the serpent. What a horrific moment in time! Not only did Adam and Eve die spiritually, but all of humanity died spiritually as well. Paul wrote, “For as in Adam all die” (1 Corinthians 15:22). The man at the tree failed to save his bride!

From the very beginning, a showdown was prophesied and inevitable. After Adam and Eve succumbed to the snake’s seduction, ignoring God’s one prohibition, God spoke to the “woman” and the “serpent.” Genesis 3:15 records these prophetic Words of the Lord as He offers the first reference to the Gospel in the Scriptures. God says to Satan, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” This primal picture of the Gospel offers faint glimpses of the ultimate face-off of good and evil. In that garden scene, God speaks prophetically of hostility that will exist between the seed of the woman and Satan. Her seed will somehow crush Satan’s head. This would be nothing less than a death blow. While Satan will strike at the seed of the woman, but only manage to wound his heal.  One day, this showdown between right and wrong, good and evil, holiness and wickedness, and heaven and hell would come to pass.

Read John 12:3-33, 19:17-18, 26-27 – A Bride is Saved

John 19 records the fulfillment of the prophecy offered in Genesis 3:15. We are told that Jesus, accompanied by the soldiers, carried His cross to Golgotha, the place of the skull. It was there that they nailed him to that old rugged cross. Jesus, the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45) was there at the tree. And what was the “God-man” accomplishing there? He was stepping in to protect and save His bride!

Notice that the same “characters” who stood at the tree in Genesis 3:15 are present at Calvary’s tree: the woman, her seed and the serpent.  As Jesus looked down from the cross, He said, Woman, behold your son.” In that “hour”, though Jesus’ heal was bruised, and though His death made it appear as if Satan had won, it was actually Jesus who was winning a decisive victory. For, even though He died on that cross, three days later, Jesus would be gloriously raised from the dead! Satan, that serpent of old and arch enemy of God, was dealt a death blow from which he would never recover. What God predicted from the beginning had come to pass, just as He said.

The irony of this scene is hard to miss. Jesus said, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up.” As Jesus was raised up on the tree, the One who knew no sin, became sin for us! Jesus really did resemble the bronze snake. In the very moment that Jesus defeated Satan, the wily old serpent must have looked at Jesus and thought, I have made Him into what I am! I have finally become greater than God and defeated the divine! What Satan failed to realize was that Jesus was destroying death by dying. He was conquering sin, by taking all of man’s sin upon Himself. And, He was crushing Satan’s head by wearing a crown of thorns on His own.

Though Adam stood at the tree and failed to save his bride…though Adam brought the curse of sin upon the entire human race…though Adam’s sin meant death for us all, because the wages of sin is death…it was the second Adam, Jesus Himself, who went to the tree and saved His bride, who reversed the curse of sin, and brought life to those who deserve death. What an epic moment in time! 1 Corinthians 15:22 says, “As in Adam all die, but in Christ shall all be made alive.”

As we move ever nearer to the cross on the Pathway to the Passion, may the words of Genesis 3:15 echo in our ears. What Adam failed to do, Jesus did perfectly. Jesus said, “…when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” By going to the cross, Jesus opens the life gate that all may go in! And we who are drawn to Him are the bride He died to save.

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