| Steve and Laurie Barkway will read Genesis 3:1-7, 23 | Kimberly Stephens will sing What Child is This? | Ben shares a meditation on the beginning of the story of Jesus' birth |
The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the LORD God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”
“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied.
“It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”
“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman.
“God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”
The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.
At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves… So the LORD God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. [GEN 3:1-7, 23]
The story of the birth of Christ begins with the curse of death.
In Genesis, God told Adam not to eat from one fruit tree or he would die. God made the rule and He explained the consequence of breaking that rule.
You will die.
Adam and Eve both sinned by disobeying God's command. Adam ushered sin into the world and death came with it. God’s justice cannot be avoided.
If sin separates us from God, then death is that separation.
Before sin, Adam and Eve enjoyed a face to face relationship with God. They were privileged to be in His presence. That is what we lost. That is the penalty of sin. Eternal separation from God. And it is impossible for us to close that separation ourselves.
We need Someone to do what we cannot; Someone to save us from the penalty of our sins. We need a Savior, and that is where the story of the birth of Jesus Christ begins.
Even though we have all willfully broken God's commands; even though we all live under the curse of sin and death, God has never once stopped loving us. From the beginning He had a plan that would maintain His justice and display His love.
"For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
The penalty had to be paid. And it was. And that is why the birth of Jesus Christ matters. If not for the Savior who rose from the dead, we would not care about the baby who lay in the manger.
Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us so much that you sent your son to pay the price for our sins. Use each day of this Advent season to draw us deeper into a relationship with You.