In the Gospels, we see Jesus boldly calling out the Pharisees as a brood of snakes and as vipers, and we have seen over the past couple of days that there is good reason for Him to have chosen these particular words, for the Pharisees carried the same whisper as the serpent.
But we must also take a step back and marvel at what's going on here in the grander scheme of things, in the greater story that God has been telling since the very beginning.
When the serpent came to Eve in the Garden, Adam was present. At the very least, he was not far away, and we know that he ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil even though he knew for certain what God had said. In fact, it was to Adam that God had given the command in the first place, and it was Adam who would have told Eve.
Yet, when the serpent speaks, Adam is silent. He doesn't answer. He doesn't reassure Eve of what God has said. He doesn't call out the serpent for speaking lies. He doesn't say anything; he just...sits there. And then eats the fruit. A lot of preachers over a lot of years have called out Adam for failing to call out the snake, since it is Adam who would have known better than anyone what the answer to the serpent's whisper should be.
Yes, God really did say.
End of story. Period. Put the fruit down. Put. It. Down.
But tragically, as all we sinners know, that's not how the story goes. That's not what happened. Adam, who had every chance and every right to speak, stayed silent, so deafeningly silent that the only thing that could be heard in the Garden that day was the echo of the serpent's whisper as it seeped into Eve's heart. Did God really say?
Fast forward to the Gospels, which hold the story of the Son of God, who Paul calls the Second Adam. It was by the first Adam that sin came into the world, and it is by the Second Adam that it is atoned and defeated. It was the first Adam who stayed silent in the face of the serpent, but the Second Adam...the Second Adam calls out the snake wherever He sees it.
At every turn, there He is. You brood of snakes! You vipers! How dare you!
And when the Pharisees begin their common spiel, "You know that God said...., but...did God really say," it is Jesus who speaks up and says, "You bet He did."
It is Jesus who, at every opportunity, reminds both the Pharisees and the people that they know full well what God said. And in case they don't, He reminds them what God said. He preaches to them what it really means, without adding a single human interpretation on top of it. Without increasing the burden of what it means. Plain and simple, in Jesus's teaching, there is no room for the whisper, and when He hears it, He calls it out.
The first Adam stayed silent; the Second Adam cannot. He speaks, boldly, to the ones who strike at the heels of men and He crushes their heads.
Over and over and over again. And it's really fun to watch, if you catch the contrast between the Gospels and the Garden and notice what's really happening here.
Did God really say? Yup. And He's saying it again now, right before your very eyes. The Second Adam speaks.
End of story. Period. Beware the yeast of the Pharisees.
Put. the. fruit. down.