The Essential Jesus Day 6
Need for a Savior: It’s Sin
PRAY: Father, as the new week begins, help me to focus on your presence and your power. May I continue to walk with you. Amen
READ: Genesis 3:1-24
REFLECT: In our previous five readings, we learned who Jesus is—The Word, Light of the world, Son of God, God in the flesh. He is the glory of the father and filled with grace and truth. In him is life. He was with God and he is God. Through him all of creation came into existence. Jesus is fully God and fully human. He is humble and obedient. Through his blood we are forgiven. He is the savior of the world. But why do we need a savior? That brings us to today’s reading from Genesis about Adam, Eve and a serpent.
God says to Adam and Eve, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). You can eat from any tree but one. If you do, you will die. Any questions?
The serpent then begins to twist God’s instructions when he asks, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Notice he didn’t lie. He asks a question. In the process, he makes God’s command all encompassing and absolute. It’s called reductio ad absurdum. He reduces it to the absolute absurd—you can’t eat any fruit from any tree! The rule seems totally unreasonable. God takes all the fun out of life! He’s such a party pooper. You can’t even eat a bite of fruit. How petty and arbitrary and just plain mean.
The woman responds, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” The good news is that Eve corrects the serpent. But she adds a new rule—you can’t even touch the fruit! Why did she add a new rule? Does it give her a safety cushion? Or is she magnifying the law in her own mind so that it seems unreasonable? What is the harm in touching it for crying out loud?
Then the serpent boldly calls God a liar. “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Don’t be preposterous! You aren’t going to die! God is holding something back from you—something wonderful, pleasurable, powerful and enlightening. He is being selfish. I mean come on—if you can eat the other fruit, why not this one? God wants all the control and all the power for himself. He thinks he can tell you what to do. He thinks he knows what’s best. Who does he think he is? Look at that fruit. Doesn’t it look delicious and desirable? Who is going to be hurt by eating a piece of fruit? Go ahead, satisfy your deepest longings and desire…you want it, take a bite. Indulge yourself!
Eve saw it was good and pleasing. She saw that she would gain knowledge. After all, it wasn’t going to hurt anybody! So what did she do? She took a bite! And Adam, who was standing right besides her listening to the entire conversation, said nothing and took a bite himself!
And what happened? They knew. Their eyes were opened. They hid from God. They died—physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. There was blame, shame, anger. Their relationship with one another and with God was damaged. There are consequences to sin—even if we think it doesn’t hurt anybody. They did not immediately die physically. After all, God never said they would die right away. But died they did.
Yet God shows grace. He clothes them instead of sending them out into the world naked!
Do you know what is so amazing about this story? It is happening right now. In fact, I would guess it happened to you at least once this past week, probably more….maybe even today….
APPLY: When have you been like Eve and disobeyed God? What is the fruit in your life that you just can’t resist—that thing or person or activity that you desire even if you know it is sinful? When have you been like the serpent and encouraged another person to sin? When have you been like Adam, standing by watching another person sin and yet you said nothing? When have you decided it is OK to break a commandment believing it isn’t going to hurt anybody? How do you deal with sin in your life?
PRAY: Heavenly Father, like the serpent I have enticed others to sin. Like Eve I have sinned. Like Adam I have watched others sin and done nothing. Please forgive me. Save me from my sinful self. I need a savior. Amen.