Adam stood outside the Garden, with God, in the valley of death; ashamed and defeated. God cursed the ground on Adam’s behalf, increased the pain of labor for Eve and spilled the blood of a substitute to make a covering for His wayward and fallen children. In the midst of the first evil, God promised a son to restore the lost and broken relationship that God had enjoyed with man.
In the pain of that moment, betrayed, accused and hated by His own children whom He had given the world, God knew something profound. That all the sons of Adam and Eve would be unable to bear the burden, were too weak and broken to fight back against the dragon. God knew that the Son that was promised would be ravaged and that the battle would cost that Son his life. And God knew, God promised in that moment, at the very beginning, with the tears of betrayal fresh on His cheeks, that the Son whose blood would be spilled for mankind, would be His own Son; His only Son.
God’s Son who had never done anything but love, obey, cherish, honor and glorify the Father for eternity. That Son, was the only one who could undue all the sadness, evil and brokenness that man brought into the world.
God looked down at Adam, slain by his own treachery. Covered in the skins of dead animals. The darkness of evil fallen across his brow. And God knew that in the shadow of death His children would walk all their days and there, in the grip of death, God vowed to walk there with them.
This is the story we are living. And we look into God’s word and what do we see? The Triune God; Father, Son and Spirit actively pursuing, leading, guiding, rescuing, providing, protecting, delivering and saving His children. We see it from Noah to Joseph; Moses to Samuel, David to Hezekiah, Malachi to John the baptizer; life in the midst of death.
And the greatest son to come from Adam and Eve was God himself. And He took all that death, pain, evil and tears upon His shoulders and put to death, death. Forever. We take up that promise and consider it every week. We see and taste the flesh that was racked and murdered for us. We see and taste the blood that makes us eternal heirs of the living God.
In the instant man rejected God, God vowed to take the punishment of Adam’s fall upon himself, to restore the fellowship man rejected.
And Paul describes the fulfillment of this promise of which we eat and drink in 2nd Corinthians 5:17-21 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
The pain we cause God is personal. It’s not some metaphysical or philosophical conundrum. The fall is in the distant past but the sin you commit today is yours, against the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The treachery is personal, between you and God. The reconciliation and promise is likewise personal. Jesus was hung on the cross for the sins you committed in your life up to and including this morning. You.
Here, God places the reality in your hands to consider. Here, behold the elements of God’s promise. You lack faith and so God has led you here, into His presence, in the face of your enemies, to take the promise up in both hands. We eat sumptuously because of the labor of another. Jesus isn’t distant; He is not some character in a story.
Here, here is the bread that is his flesh that is everlasting life. Take and eat.
Here, here is the wine that is blood which is the only way for you to come into the presence of God and commune with Him. Take and drink.