John Ditty Sunday School Lesson
April 6, 2014
Every year Christians are reminded that God made it possible to have a fresh start in life. This reminder always comes as the world awakens from the cold dead of winter to the refreshing warmth and greening of spring. I wonder if that is one reason God placed Passover at the same time. Passover, like spring, was a fresh start. This new start came because of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Savior, who died for the sin of humanity.
However, before there was a Passover and before there was springtime, God gave humanity a reminder that He would provide a new beginning. This prompt came early in man’s existence. It is found in the book of Genesis, not long after the story of God creating all that is.
In Genesis 3, God told Adam and Eve that the day was approaching when one would come and destroy the power of sin that they introduced into the world when they fell to the wiles of the serpent. However, let’s not get ahead of the story.
In Genesis 2, the Bible tells how God created the man, Adam, from the dust of the earth (2:7). Humanity’s beginning was so much more hands-on than the rest of creation which God simply spoke into being. But when it came to us, God got His hands dirty. This is important to remember as the story continues.
It is also important to identify who the Creator was and is. According to the prologue of John’s gospel, the One who created all that was created is Jesus. John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created. Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men…The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-4,14) Why is this important? The reason will become clear as the things progress.
So God made man. Then He gave Adam a great place to live, the Garden of Eden, and a wonderful helper and wife whom Adam named Eve. All was well in the world. Can you imagine what it must have been like to live in the days before everything got messed up by sin? No fear, no sickness, no death. No fighting or breakups or broken hearts. And let’s not leave out no seemingly endless winters and mosquito’s. Instead, there were warm days, cool evening breezes in which to take a stroll, food hanging everywhere and work that was meaningful. Why did we ever leave there? What’s the chance that maybe we can find our way back?
First the why did we leave answer. The reason is found in Genesis 3. One day Eve was out and about in the Garden when she stopped by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Why she paused there the story does not say, it just mentions that she did. While there she struck up a conversation with a serpent. Evidently a talking snake didn’t take her aback. Maybe Adam and Eve could talk to all the animals. Be that as it may, she talked to the snake. The result? Well, you know what that was – she ate a piece of fruit of which God had forbidden her.
There, we have made our way back to God telling Adam and Eve that a day was approaching when one would come and destroy the power of sin, sin they brought into our world.
At this point in the story, God comes looking for the couple, not because they were good hiders and He could not find them. No, God knew where they were and why. God came looking because they were hiding. He knew they had disobeyed Him and that act brought to them surprising consequences. For the first time, they were afraid of their Creator. Before, they took walks with Him; they recognized His sound when He came to them; they knew His voice as He called out to them. Oh the difference one sin made. Where they were once excited to take a walk with the Lord, they are now terrified that He has come. God knew that and He came anyway.
This brings us to our second question: What’s the chance that maybe we can find our way back? The answer is found in the fact that God came looking for the embarrassed, terrified couple. After they reveal themselves, and God gave them each a chance to come clean about all that had transpired, He proceeded to punish them for their disobedience.
First He punished the serpent; then God turned to Eve. It is here that the Lord reveals how He will someday give the couples’ decedents a new start. God said, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” (3:15) In this, God announced that the day would come when the power of the serpent’s bite would be negated. That day came when Jesus died on the cross.
Why did we ever leave there? Because we wanted more than the perfect place that God had given us, which resulted in disobeying our Creator and the punish that followed.
What’s the chance that maybe we can find our way back there again? Because God kept His promise made to Eve, He has made the way for us to walk with Him again. One day, long after the Garden, our Creator came to His creation looking for us, taking the punishment for our sin, and opening the gate that leads to life with Him.
Soon, Christians around the world will remember the cross, the day Jesus died, and celebrate the resurrection, the day Jesus rose from the grave. And now you know why there was a crucifixion.