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Posts Tagged "Genesis 1:27; 3:8-15"

Tree of Fruit or Apple?

November 29, 2020
By Rev. David French

From beginning to end, the Bible tells but one story: the history of our salvation. But to appreciate the end of that story, we need to understand its beginning. As you know, the story of mankind’s salvation does not begin with the incarnation of Christ, but with the promise of Christ. We see that story in the Jesse Tree—a story that is Jesus’s story, and so is our story as well.

If you look around outside you can most likely see a tree: an oak, a pine, a maple; they’re all around us. And, like you, the mightiest tree in nature began as a small seed, so small that the world takes no notice. More often than not, when we do notice, it’s because they’re bothering us. But still, just as each acorn, helicopter, or seed from within a pinecone that takes root is a continuation of that one tree’s story, so also in Jesse’s tree is one story in which we, and all who believe, have a part.

All of us are familiar with the account of creation from the book of Genesis. With the words “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” humanity’s view of the history of the universe begins. We also know that the crown of creation came on the sixth day when “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). Clearly, creation, including the human race, did not come about by accident or chance, but by an intentional act of the eternal will of God. Again and again, God sees what He had made. Again and again, He called it “good.”

And good it was! Then, God planted a garden we know as Eden to provide for all the needs of the man and the woman. There, our first parents lived a life of harmony and peace with nature, with each other, and with the One who had created them. At that time, sin and its deadly consequences were unknown in the world.

Many over the ages have dreamed of living again in an earthly Eden, a utopia of man’s own making. That goal, however, has never been achieved. In fact, it usually ends very badly. Again and again, we see that only God can create that which is good in a way we, as sinners, will never understand … a true Eden.

The unspoiled paradise known as Eden, more beautiful than we can imagine, did not last. You and I can see the result of that loss by looking around us or by looking into a mirror. We see brokenness and sin. We see hate and violence. We see despair and hopelessness. In other words, our eyes bear witness to what happened to the Garden of Eden. You know the story. The serpent tempted the woman. Adam stood by and watched, and then soon joined with his wife in eating the fruit of the one tree in all of creation that God had forbidden them to eat. But remember, their sin din not begin with the physical eating that was the outward expression of their sin. The sin began within their hearts when they chose to listen to the serpent and disobey the one command, that in effect came that we might have free will. A seed of doubt grew to an act that would close the gates of Eden to all humanity.

What does the Creator do to those who sinned against Him? Reject them? No, God is love itself, and that love reached out to Adam, to Eve, and to all their descendants. So great is His love that He could not destroy His creation or just leave it to destroy itself. In love God created the man and the woman, and in love He would provide a way of redemption, a way that He had known from eternity. It was a price only He could pay, a price paid by (as the King James version so beautifully translates it) a “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8). Sin brings death. And yet, from death springs life. Even though Adam and Eve and all who have been or will be born of them are borne of sin and its curse, still our loving Creator has not deserted us.

In fact, He not only didn’t reject us, he has embraced us and joined Himself to us. Before Adam and Eve ever heard of their punishment, God had already spoken the first promise of salvation, saying to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15). In the Hebrew, the word for “offspring” is also the word for “seed.” That is, with these words, the love of God shines through the newly arrived darkness. There would be one seed that would defeat the serpent. And yet, that seed would not be the seed of man and woman, like we are. No, this seed is of the woman; that is, a divine conception.

The tree of Jesse begins with a seed, a seed present but dormant in Eve. In love, God remembered His promise through every generation of fallen humanity. Through every one of those generations, the Seed that was promised as Eden closed would be present even though hidden to human eyes.

When the fullness of time had come, in the womb of a daughter of Eve, the Virgin Mary, that promised Seed would spring forth and grow. This was the Seed of the woman promised some sixty-three generations before when sin first entered the world. From Mary’s womb would come the Creator himself, joined to His creation in the God-Man, Jesus. He is the Redeemer and Promised One.

The promise and all that was lost by Adam is restored by the Seed of the woman. He is the Christ, the Messiah. The Lamb of God, the one and perfect final sacrifice whose blood reverses the curse of the fall and brings grace and forgiveness to the entire human race. This Jesus, He is the Son of God and the Son of Man. He is the new Adam who bears the sin of the old Adam and every other human being who was, is, or will be born into this world and carried it all to a cross. From the tree on Eden would come death to all humanity, but from the tree on Calvary would come life for all humanity.

This is the Christ of Easter by whose resurrection all the universe is forever changed. This is the Lamb into whom you and I were baptized to share in His death and resurrection. This is the Lamb whose body and blood have sustained us all at altars great and small. This is Jesus, the Seed of Jesse’s tree, and through Him, the Eden that was lost will be restored and open to all who believe for all eternity.

In the name of Him whose return we await, Amen.

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