Friday, April 14, 2017

The Last Adam

Every story in the Bible (the Judeo-Christian source documents) whispers the name of its central heroic character ... Jesus Christ. Like a scarlet thread unraveling and stretching from beginning to end, the story of redemption, restoration and transformation unfold in its pages. It traverses many peaks and valleys, but its apex and punctuation is radiantly reached in the life, death and resurrection of the one referred to as the "Last Adam." The Savior of the world is given so many wonderful names and titles in the source record, but this one is particularly striking. Why?

Because it hearkens us back to the beginning, and our connection to it, where the ugliness of the first Adam's defiance and rebellion against an infinite and pure Creator marred and distorted the very image of that Creator stamped within him. That real-life screenplay forever changed the landscape of humanity, changing the course of our destiny, and passing on an inheritance of defiance, rebellion, selfishness and ... separation and death. It was never meant to be that way.

Ahhh ... but the nature, the very essence, of that infinite and pure Creator is also one of goodness and lovingkindness that compels him to seek out and actively set right what had gone so terribly wrong. Which brings us to the work of the Last Adam, Son of the Living God. The Apostle Paul, a major contributor to the Judeo-Christian source documents, says it this way: 1/

"You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma we're in - first sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death. That sin disturbed relations with God in everything and everyone, but the extent of the disturbance was not clear until God spelled it out in detail to Moses. So death, this huge abyss separating us from God, dominated the landscape from Adam to Moses. Even those who didn't sin precisely as Adam did by disobeying a specific command of God still had to experience this termination of life, this separation from God. But Adam, who got us into this, also points ahead to the One who will get us out of it. 
Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man's sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God's gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! There's no comparison between that death-dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was a death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one man's wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides? 
Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said 'no' to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said 'yes' to God and put many in the right."

The first Adam and the Last Adam ... similiar in comparison, but what a contrast in outcomes: 2/
  • The first Adam yielded to temptation in a garden. The Last Adam beat temptation in a garden.
  • The first man, Adam, sought to become like God. The Last Adam was God who became a man.
  • The first Adam was naked and received clothes. The Last Adam had clothes but was stripped.
  • The first Adam tasted death from a tree. The Last Adam tasted death on a tree.
  • The first Adam hid from the face of God, while the Last Adam begged God not to hide His face.
  • The first Adam blamed his bride, while the Last Adam took the blame for His bride.
  • The first Adam earned thorns. The Last Adam wore thorns.
  • The first Adam gained a wife when God opened man’s side, but the Last Adam gained a wife (his "Church," all who choose to believe in Him) when man opened God’s side.
  • The first Adam brought a curse. The Last Adam became a curse.
  • While the first Adam fell by listening when the Serpent said “take and eat,” the Last Adam told His followers, “take and eat, this is my body.”

The Last Adam lived life as it was meant to be. And in His death he did what had to be done, the only way it could be done, to set things right again ... to restore us, to renew us ... to make us whole and connected again.

Don't hurriedly rush through this day referred to as "Good Friday." Take time to think through what took place on this day in history on a lonely hill and upon a rugged cross. THINK about what an infinite Creator, your Creator, did for you and I through the "Last Adam." And, oh by the way ... Friday is not the end ... Sunday's coming! Shalom.

1/ - From The Apostle Paul's love letter to the Romans (5:12-18, MSG).
2/ - From a BreakPoint article entitled Jesus, the Last Adam by John Stonestreet with Shane Morris.