Monday, March 19, 2012
A narrative of the life of Christ
The world waited. For centuries, it waited for the coming of the promised Saviour. He who would defeat the Devil and save mankind from his clutches. His coming was promised early on in human history.
The first human couple lived in an idyllic home in the Garden of Eden. For food, they just had to reach out and pluck any fruit they desired to eat. Their employment was a pleasant one of tending the lovely garden. They had all the social life they needed in the company of God and each other. All the wild animals were their obedient pets. God blessed Adam and Eve saying “Be fruitful and multiply.” What more could anyone ask for?
In the midst of this plenty, joy and blessing, there was one thing, only one thing that God told them not to do. Surely, it shouldn’t be too difficult to observe just one restriction? He said they shouldn’t eat fruits from one tree in the middle of the garden. Everything else was allowed.
Here, Satan, the enemy of God and man, made an appearance. Earlier, he was a bright, high-ranking angel until he rebelled against God and was thrown out of heaven. He had a large number of followers among the angels. They fell along with him and became demons. Now Satan wanted to hurt God and destroy his cherished creation. The best way to do that was to seduce the humans and make them break God’s command. That would break their relationship with their creator, who loved them more than any parent could ever love their children. And that would break his loving heart.
So he came to Eden in the form of a shiny serpent. He caught up with Eve while she was alone. He approached her with seeming friendliness and started a conversation. After a while he asked, “Let me check this with you, if I heard it right. Did God tell you not to eat the fruits in this garden?”
“That’s not true. We can eat all the fruits except from one tree. That’s the tree of knowledge of good and evil, right in the middle of the garden.”
“Why on earth did he forbid you that?”
“He said if we eat it, we will die.”
“Ha! Just what I thought! You see, he doesn’t want you to eat that fruit because it will make you wise. You will become just like him, and he won’t be able to keep you under control. That’s what he doesn’t want to happen.”
“You don’t mean that!”
“I’m serious. If you eat it, you won’t die but will become like God. In other words, you too will become gods.”
“Are you sure?” she asked, her voice trembling a little.
“Yes. Don’t lose your chance. Go at it before he decides to remove it. He is all knowing. He probably knows now that I’ve told you.”
She plucked the fruit and ate it. She persuaded her husband to eat it too.
A small act, eating a fruit. A rudimentary deed of defiance. A simple sign of disobedience. But with eternal impact.
With that one act of treason they had changed sides, shifted loyalty. With that one decision they stepped from life into death. They turned their back to light and entered darkness. And they fell into the power of the Devil. And this sin-nature passed on to all their descendants.
Filled with sorrow, but endless love, God came calling, “Adam, where are you?” Like a father searching for a lost child. Like a mother mourning over the dead body of her son.
“I’m afraid to face you because I’m naked. So I had to hide,” Adam replied.
“I commanded you not to eat fruit from that tree. Why did you do it?”
Where there was love before, accusation took over. The blame game started right there. “The woman you gave to be with me made me eat it,” the man answered.
“The serpent deceived me into eating it,” the woman tried to excuse herself.
Adam and Eve were driven out of the garden. Though God still loved them, he could not tolerate their sin. A holy God cannot embrace anything unholy.
But he made a promise to send a Saviour who would re-unite mankind with God. He would be born out of a woman without a man’s involvement. This ‘seed of woman’ would crush the Serpent’s head, and the Serpent would ‘bruise his heel.’
So God planned the rescue operation, for which he had to pay a terrible price. A plan far, far beyond human imagination, for there was no other way. And as human history progressed, God’s plan for their salvation unfolded, gradually but surely.
Abraham, ancestor of the Israelites and the Arabs, lived around 20th Century BC, in the present day Iraq. God called him out from there, with the purpose of building a new nation through him in which the promised Saviour, the Messiah, would be born.
Abraham’s grandson Yacob had twelve sons, from whom came the twelve tribes of Israel. Out of them, the tribe of Judah was selected for the Messiah’s parentage. About four centuries after Yacob’s death, the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. Moses led them out, and told the people that God would raise another Prophet like himself. This Prophet was to deliver them from spiritual slavery.
Many years after the Israelites settled down in Canaan, around 10th century BC, David of the tribe of Yehuda became their king. It was announced through prophets that the Messiah would be born as David’s descendant. Over the years many prophets gave details of the life and work of the coming Messiah.
The world continued to wait, until all those prophecies were fulfilled in God’s own time.