Many years after Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob and David was gone, after the Prophets had come and gone, there came a man who was called Jesus. Unlike every other existing human, he was perfect! It took the collaboration of the man and the woman to establish the presence of sin on Earth.
The Bible says “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” – Romans 5:17 NIV
The collaboration of man and woman was not needed this time as it was time for the manifestation of God’s righteousness. Jesus was God’s word which was given a form in the womb of a woman called Mary.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14 NIV
Before this time, so much had been demanded of man, not to truly punish him but to awaken him to the reality that he can’t do anything to salvage himself of sin. Of all the six hundred laws of Moses, man was not able to keep one. These laws were just there to prove a point, that we can’t help ourselves.
“…its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God.” – Romans 3:19 NLT
Oh well, man tried but failed! The need for a saviour was apparent. But guess what? Man never even cared because the saviour came in a form that was lacking in glory when observed from the surface.
“…He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” – Isaiah 53:2 NIV
Who would have expected that the saviour of the world is born in a manger? Who would have expected that the saviour of the world is born to a family that wasn’t a big name! Maybe, popular in carpentry but still regarded as “ordinary Carpenter”. Wasn’t it an insult to the Jews? How would such a low-life be their saviour? He came with a message of love, hope and peace but they were too bitter to hear him out.
“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” – Isaiah 53:3 NIV
Maybe Jesus didn’t care about his public image. Instead of forming a clique of learned men and women, he chose unlearned fishermen and women who were despised by society. This wasn’t going to help his image, but maybe, it was his way of saying “I am Grace. I give people what they don’t deserve”.
They thought it was new but it wasn’t new.
How do we explain God calling Abram out of every other human on Earth? Abram wasn’t any better than his siblings! He was not even the firstborn! How do we explain God’s preference of Isaiah when by law and rights Ishmael was the rightful heir?
How do we explain a cunning-ill-mannered Jacob being preferred by God over the skilful, strong and proactive Esau?
How do we explain God calling Moses who was given the identity of false gods over Aaron who was brought up the Hebrew way? What about David who was a notorious sinner but also known as the man after God’s heart? One word explains it, GRACE.
Should we talk about Solomon? A product of adultery and marriage based on same? How do we explain that he would lead God’s people? If we should go down memory lane, how about the Canaanite harlot, Rehab? She wasn’t just a Canaanite, she doubled as a harlot! And guess what? The saviour came through the bloodline of this harlot!
“This is the genealogy of Jesus, the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham: …Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse” – Matthew 1:1, 5 NIV
There was the Blessed Virgin Mother of Jesus, Mary but there was also the Blessed “Harlot” ancestor of Jesus, Rehab.
What happened? GRACE!
We can see it clearly, God uses harlots, liars and so on as much as he uses virgins. It is nothing different on your case, he is always ready to use any available vessel to any length!
The mission of Jesus was simple but heavy! It was an underrated mission. Man had been a debtor to sin and had defaulted, he was to pay in the currency of death. Jesus who knew no sin decided to walk our walk and die our death that we might live his life. This was supposed to be absolute freedom from sin!
Because he was marked for death, each of his good works only called for the drum beats of crucifixion! The more he delivered men, the more the Pharisees and Sadducees unite against him. They actually taught they were hurting him, they never knew they were getting him closer to the mission. Peter tried to help Jesus but Jesus was seeing every obstacle to that cross as Satan!
“…Jesus began to explain… that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer… that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside… “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” – Matthew 16:21-23 NIV
Talking about Satan, the same serpent who sponsored the fall of man was the chief sponsor of the agitation against Jesus. Satan felt he knew what he was doing but it didn’t occur to him that God isn’t just a game-changer, HE IS GAME!
Finally, Jesus was captured after a betrayal by Judas who followed him for three years. Charges were laid on him and he accepted the sentence wholeheartedly. He was nailed on the cross and Satan thought “I won again!” Jesus would look down on man to make that one last freedom speech
“…“It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” – John 19:30 NIV
The war was over!
Now, here is the big deal!
What Satan didn’t know was that he has always been the looser. The cross was only a replay of what happened in Genesis! God had never been angry with man, God had dealt with sin from the foundation of the world, he only had to let it manifest. On the cross, the story of God’s undying love for man, written and produced from the foundation of the Earth was premiered. No wonder, even the Soldiers saw this happen!
“When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” – Matthew 27:54 NIV
Let’s find Jesus in Genesis.
Garden of Eden.
When Satan had deceived man and man realized he was naked, running to hide from God. God kept coming after man, not as a hunter who hunts down meat to kill but as a father reaching after his son to save and comfort him. He was going after Adam in a firm, steady, strong but gentle steps. He was walking, not running or stampeding on anything.
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” – Genesis 3:8 NIV
Who would have known what it meant when the serpent was cursed, the ground was cursed but the man was never cursed! The mission of Jesus was declared here.
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” – Genesis 3:15 NIV
To cover man’s nakedness, a sin that the man was responsible for, an animal that knew no sin had to be slaughtered. There wouldn’t have been clothing of animal’s skin without a dead naked animal.
“And the LORD God made clothes out of animal skins for Adam and his wife, and he clothed them.” – Genesis 3:21 GNB
Wait a minute! But the man was supposed to die because that was the promised wages of sin. What happened?
While an animal became a covering for the man, it took over man’s nakedness. While man lived, an innocent animal had to die the death of the man. This was the shadow of Jesus, slain for the world even before the world began.
“God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.” – 1 Peter 1:20 NLT
The cross was the premier of what already happened, a revelation of God’s salvation and grace. On the cross was the same Jesus that God talked about, the same lamb that God had chosen from the foundation of this world. For the sake of what Christ has done, we have been cleansed and made brand new! And in the words of Peter
“Through Christ, you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory. You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.” – 1 Peter 1:21-22 NLT
A demand for love has, therefore, being placed before us who are the beneficiaries of the sacrifice of Jesus. Love is what motivates us to preach the gospel, love is what motivates us to be kind to one another and love is what motivates us to live for God.
Yes, I found the Jesus of Genesis on the cross. After the cross, as he said, he resurrected and ascended to the father, presenting me as blameless and without a fault!
There is however a mystery, he sits at the right hand of the father with us inside of him. He lives in us by the Holy Spirit and we live in him. What kind of union do we call this? It beats every vocabulary that exists on our libraries and even in the world to come, we may still lack words to explain this union in one word. In our own limited words, I can boast in the words of Jesus “I and my father are one!”
“But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.” – 1 Corinthians 6:17 NLT
Now, the story of salvation just made sense.