S-1501 2SAO/3B 6/07/2015 Hymns: (O) #901; #615; #613; #614; (S) # 914; (C) #917
Texts: Psalm 130; Genesis 3:8-15; 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1; Mark 3:20-35
Theme: “The GREATEST Story For You” (Genesis 3:9-10)
Question: “What is Your favorite story? Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Centennial, CO
IN NOMINE IESU
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation for this morning is a portion of the O.T. Reading: “But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:9-10).
Precious children of the heavenly Father, the 2nd worst and tragic story in Scripture is found in Genesis chapter 11. It is the story of Babel. The people were trying to build a tower to get to God and make themselves gods. And God confused their language and dispersed them all over the land. This story is bad, but it is not the worst one.
The worst story in all of Scripture is when Adam and Eve listened to the devil instead of God. It is when God’s wonderful creation doubted God’s love and His Word that it will do what He said He would do. It is when the devil tried to break God’s heart by saying, “Now, what will you do with that naked woman and man—Your precious Trophy?”
Moses gives us insight into the heart of God. A heart that is holy and pure. A heart that demands absolute obedience. But at the same time he also shows us the nature of God that He is outgoing, caring and engaging. Into this messed up world God came to rescue His fallen creation from an eternity of hell. And in His coming we see his amazing and awesome love to His ultimate creation--mankind.
This is love par excellence. God didn’t wait for Adam and Eve to come to Him, but He came to them in spite of what they have done. Though the punishment was severe that they were driven out of the Garden of Eden and the glorious, intimate company with God; with this inquiring question God came to save them with the promise that is hidden.
What you see in this tragic and terrible story of the fallen man, is the faithfulness of God in keeping His Word, “The day you eat of it (fruit) you will die” and death is the consequence of sin and separation from God. But in that faithfulness of our loving God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit He offers the greatest absolution given to Eve is the promise of a son: You are going to have a son. That son is going to be the doom of satan. Satan knew he was finished. He knew he was toast. He knew he had lost. Eventually, the promise of Eve’s child will be revealed. PAUSE.
People of the cross, it is interesting to note that while man was the one who sinned, only the serpent and the ground are cursed. Man is not. He bears the consequence of his sin, but no curse. We still see that consequence all around us. Broken bodies, broken hearts, broken homes and broken peace. Every single one of us knows this kind of brokenness. There are those times when God feels far away, but it is only because like our first parents we want to keep the shame of our sin hidden from Him. These words of Genesis 3 are the reason we feel this. Adam and Eve didn’t die that day. But we experience the taste of that death every day.
But if you look closely, buried not too deep in the curses of these familiar words, there is also a promise. Yahweh talks about a Seed who would come and crush the head of the ancient serpent. Now from our perspective, we know that this Seed is Jesus. However, to grasp the fullness of this, we need to take our time a bit before we go running off the Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
As we look at the curse of the serpent, God promises that there will be many seeds of the weed tree of evil. Luther is right in his hymn, devils all the world should fill, all eager to devour us. There is no comfort in that part of this curse. But then again, with this in mind, all of the sin and grief that we deal with on a daily basis is confirmed. Those dastardly demons are there to work us harm.
But look at the other half of the curse. He speaks of ONE Seed. That is the very essence of the curse on the serpent. Yahweh makes it clear that ANY ONE of the seeds of this woman COULD be the One who would crush his head. Imagine that! Every time a child was born from that point on, it might be the One who would end him. What a curse!
But for our sake, the Lord sets about narrowing the field of candidates. First they thought it was Cain, but he turned out to be the first murderer! So there were more seeds. Eventually the Lord located the promise in the seeds of faithful, yet childless Abraham. Then came Isaac, and Jacob, and Judah. Then eventually came David. And the line continued to narrow through the testimony of Scripture until we find ourselves peering over the manger while being watched by Joseph and Mary. Through the centuries God was keeping this promise/curse alive. It is a curse to satan, but promise to us. That is the way God works! The promise is fulfilled. The serpent’s head is crushed! PAUSE.
But the effect of that curse is still visible in our lives. You and I, God’s fallen creation, haven’t changed from the time of Babel. We are still trying to build ladders to get to God. But every time we build a ladder the rung keep breaking down. And we are still trying to fashion our own clothing made out of fig leaves just like our parents did.
In the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve were hiding behind fig leaves but it is a poor remedy to cover our shame. These leaves are not any bigger than a bikini. And yet we fool ourselves just like Adam and Eve did. Now can you envision me or you walking around in fig leaves garments; or your pastor (Brad/Greg stand up)? I shudder to think of it.
But thank God it doesn’t depend on us to cover ourselves or make a way to God. The Promised Seed-Jesus—the God made flesh comes into our world to remove our sin and shame through His shed blood on Calvary’s cross. He comes into our world to restore the broken relationships we have with our heavenly Father. He comes into our world to redeem us from the punishment of the forbidden tree so that we may eat from the Tree of the Cross.
Just like God in the Garden needed to kill an animal to make a covering for our forefathers, so it is true that a life was given for us to cover us—and it is the Seed of the woman—the Lamb of God slaughtered for us to cover us, not with fig leaves, but with His garments of salvation.
In Baptism He clothes us with his white robes of righteousness. And He invites us to come to Him and dine with Him so that we may be certain His love is real and eternal. And that is the beauty for us as His people. We know Jesus doesn’t work with the living, but with the resurrected dead—that is you and me.
Though this is a tragic story, but it is your story and mine. It is the story of the outgoing God who comes to your aid, to rescue you, restore you and redeem you and make you His forever. This is indeed the GREATEST story for you. And when people ask you why, you may tell them, because God loved me enough to die for me, rise again on the third day and gave a me new life with Him—life that satan can’t take away from me EVER.
Today, beloved children of the heavenly Father, rejoice, celebrate and give thanks for the GREATEST story for you. Amen and Amen.
Now the peace…
SOLE DEO GLORIA