Beautiful Tree

Original MySpace Blog posted Thursday, October 17, 2007

Well, I suppose I’m back. Been a rough few weeks. Still dealing with a lot of loose ends. But I’m hanging in there.

Before I get to the letter H in the Acrostic FAITH, I told you I would tell you about the cross.

Where to begin….

God created heaven, the earth, and everything on the earth. And that includes man. He started with Adam, and declared that it was not good foe Adam to be alone, so He created woman, and then He declared that it was good. This is important, on another note, because it shows that we need relationship to one another, not just male/female relationship, but relationship in general. But this is another sermon.

God liked to chill with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. That’s cool in itself. God liked being with Adam and Eve. This was the true order of things. God spending time in a love relationship with His crown creation, Adam and Eve. This was the design. God and humanity, together, no conflict.

God had one rule, one command: Don’t eat the fruit from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Why, you ask? That’s beyond my current knowledge of theology, but I bet it has something to do with the fact that knowledge has a lot to do with being in relation to. If you eat the fruit of this tree, you are now not only in relation to good, but evil as well. Before there is only one choice for evil, eating the fruit. Once eaten, a whole smorgasbord for evil was set before them, for they now knew what evil was. But I’m jumping ahead of myself and diving too deeply. God told Adam don’t eat.

A serpent comes along and starts to stir it up with Eve. “Did God really say…” “If you eat the fruit, you will be like God!” And lo and behold, Eve eats. She then gives some to Adam, he eats too. And then they realized, hey we’re nekked, imagine that, and they sheepishly make coverings for themselves out of fig leaves.

God comes by to chill, but there not there, they’re hiding, and this disappoints God. “Why are you hiding?” “We’re nekked.” ” Who told you that you were nekked? You’ve had a snack, haven’t you? A very bad snack.” And by bad, I don’t mean it tasted bad, because all sin tastes good.

So God mixes it up a bit by cursing Adam, Eve, and the serpent, and kicks them out of the garden. But here’s the kicker. Something changed in Adam and Eve’s spiritual DNA. The beast within was born. And all mankind since then, save One, has inherited that beast within. Not fair, you cry? Can’t explain it or justify it, it’s a fact. You’ve got a beast within, we’ve established that back in my first blog, and that beast has your name on it.

I’m gonna attempt to make a very long story a whole lot shorter. Adam and Eve had children and they multiply. Eventually, out of a whole lot of people, God chooses a people for Himself, out of a dude named Abraham. Abraham’s children multiplied, and they found themselves in Egypt, where their King, the Pharaoh was a jerk, and enslaved the children of Abraham, now numbering in the hundreds of thousands.. God had one of his servant’s Moses, lead his people, the Jew’s, out of Egypt, and because the were cowardly whiners at that phase of their existence, they wandered the wilderness for 40 years until they entered the promised land, present day Israel. During this time, God, through Moses, gave them the Law, and established the priesthood, and the sacrificial system that I explained to you in Blog 3. This sacrificial system is important, because it is foreshadowing of a sacrifice to come. You would sin, and you would repent by going to the priest with an animal sacrifice.. The priest goes before God on behalf of you, the sinner, and slays the animal, and sprinkles its blood on the altar. Sin demands your life, however, God allows a substitute to go in your place, and in this case, it is the animal you brought to the priest. That animal is part of your livelihood, you worked hard to raise it, it cost you something. Through all of this, you would be looking forward in faith to the coming Messiah, who would restore order to this fallen world.

Jump about 1500 years to about 33AD. The Cross. This was no plan 2 in God’s story. It was part of God’s plan all along. Why Jesus, and why did He have to die? I can’t explain it as well as the first time it “clicked ” for me. I was reading it in James Dobson’s book, “Straight Talk” that I read about 15 years ago. I’m gonna reprint that here.

“But in spite of God’s great love, His justice required complete obedience. It demanded repentance and punishment for disobedience. So, herein was a serious conflict with God’s nature. If he destroyed the human race, as His justice would require in response to our sinful disobedience, His love would have been violated: but if he ignored our sins, His justice would have been sacrificed. Yet neither aspect of His nature could be compromised.

“But God, in His marvelous wisdom, proposed a solution to that awful dilemma. If He could find one human being who wasn’t worthy of damnation–just one individual in the history of mankind who had never sinned, a man or a woman who was not guilty– then the sin of every other person on earth could be laid upon that One and He could suffer for all of us. So God, being timeless, Looked across the ages of man from Adam to Armageddon, but He could not find anyone who was innocent. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23,KJV) it would be latter written. There wasn’t a person who was worth of assuming the guilt, blame, and punishment for the rest of us. Therefore, the only alternative was for God to send His own Son to bear the sins of the entire human family. And herein we see the beauty of God’s plan and the reason Jesus had to die. When He was crucified here on earth, Jesus harmonized the conflict between God’s love and justice and provided a remedy for fallen mankind.

“Thus, Jesus said a s He was dying, ‘It is finished!’ meaning, ‘I have carried out the plan of salvation that God designed for sinful man.’ And that’s why God turned His back on Jesus when He was on the cross, prompting Him to cry in anguish, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46. KJV). In that moment, Jesus was bearing the punishment for all human sins down through the ages, including yours and mine.”

That, my friends, is the reason for the cross, and the death of Jesus. The appeasing of both God’s love and His holiness.

So I’m gonna leave it at that this week. Next week, something heavenly.

13 See, my servant will prosper;

he will be highly exalted.

14 But many were amazed when they saw him.

His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human,

and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.

15 And he will startle many nations.

Kings will stand speechless in his presence.

For they will see what they had not been told;

they will understand what they had not heard about.

1 Who has believed our message?

To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm?

2 My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot,

like a root in dry ground.

There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,

nothing to attract us to him.

3 He was despised and rejected—

a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.

We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.

He was despised, and we did not care.

4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;

it was our sorrows that weighed him down.

And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,

a punishment for his own sins!

5 But he was pierced for our rebellion,

crushed for our sins.

He was beaten so we could be whole.

He was whipped so we could be healed.

6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.

We have left God’s paths to follow our own.

Yet the LORD laid on him

the sins of us all.

7 He was oppressed and treated harshly,

yet he never said a word.

He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.

And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,

he did not open his mouth.

8 Unjustly condemned,

he was led away.

No one cared that he died without descendants,

that his life was cut short in midstream.

But he was struck down

for the rebellion of my people.

9 He had done no wrong

and had never deceived anyone.

But he was buried like a criminal;

he was put in a rich man’s grave.

10 But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him

and cause him grief.

Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,

he will have many descendants.

He will enjoy a long life,

and the LORD’s good plan will prosper in his hands.

11 When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,

he will be satisfied.

And because of his experience,

my righteous servant will make it possible

for many to be counted righteous,

for he will bear all their sins.

12 I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier,

because he exposed himself to death.

He was counted among the rebels.

He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

Isaiah 52:13-15, Isaiah 53

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