You were not made to live forever - at least, not apart from God. But really, you weren't made to die, either. What God most desires from you is that you live in intimate relationship with Him, continually drawing on His gifts of grace and hope and life and love so that you can become all that He created you to be. What we call the Fall - that moment when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden tree and their eyes were opened - changed all of that. And God, not Satan - in His grace, not condemnation - introduced death.
But the story doesn't end there.
Because this is precisely the good news of Jesus. This is exactly what we were celebrating this past weekend, Christians all around the world - the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ so that our way back to the Tree of Life, now splintered and with three bloody nails hanging out of it, could be made open. So that we could come back to God eternally.
Let's go back to Eden for a minute. When God first created man and woman, they walked with God in the cool of the day. They were naked, but they didn't know it, and they felt no shame. Adam and Eve intimately knew God. If you had asked them what was one thing they were certain of, it would have been God. They knew Him. He was revealed to them every day as they shared the same physical space.
Then, they ate of the tree and all of a sudden, what do they know? They know they are naked. They know they are exposed. They start to look around and see all of these things they haven't seen before. Their eyes are opened and now, they know a lot more than just that God is with them and that God is good. That's really what the fruit did to them; it took their eyes off of God. Now, there were all of these distractions to their intimacy with and dependence on Him.
Fast forward to Jerusalem, circa 33 AD, give or take. There's a man, a man who is known all around the region, a man who is called the Son of God and the King of the Jews, and He's hanging on a Cross just outside of town. He's crying out from the depths of His soul. You can feel His pain as He is crucified. All of a sudden, man's eyes can't look away.
What the fruit did in the garden, drawing man's eyes away from the Lord, the Cross reversed at Calvary - the world couldn't help but look. Two thousand years later, it's still looking. Today, we're still looking. We hold up that Cross, and what we see is our God revealed. The depth of His love, the awesomeness of His power, the goodness of His grace, the depth of His heart. All of it. Every bit of it. Everything that we've forgotten since the moment that our ancestors ate that fruit is restored in Jesus, in His death and resurrection.
Oh, the resurrection - when He walks out of that tomb. Man, what a moment! It's the moment that God says that death is no longer grace; life is. It's the moment that He restores what we lost - keep your eyes on Him, keep your heart on Him, and you get to live forever with Him. That promise of eternity is back. And this time, it's not going anywhere. That new Tree, it's not going anywhere. And it will always bring us back to Him, just the way He intended.
We weren't meant to live forever - at least, not without God. And now, God has given us Himself in such a powerful way that...how could we ever miss it? How could we ever turn away again?
Fix your eyes upon Jesus.
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