Romans 5:12-19

Romans 5:12-19

 

So with Ash Wednesday behind us, and our Lenten season begun, we now meet with the first Sunday of Lent.  Our reading from Romans this morning is for me probably Paul at his worst. I have a real love/hate relationship with this writings – sometimes it is fine, makes sense, is inspiration and at other times it seems difficult to follow and seemingly repeats itself.  So I’m turning to a wiser person to try and unpack some of that this morning, from The Canterbury Preacher’s Companion 2020.

 

But first I will offer some images that have come to me about Jesus experience in the wilderness and about the first and second Adams.

 

As we read in Genesis 1, Adam 1 was ‘born’ by God, created to be in his likeness, without being God. God saw what he had made and he was pleased. Adam 1 was born into everything you could ever want - it was the garden of paradise, and yet it wasn’t enough. He sinned, he incurred God’s wrath and was banished, technically you might say into the wildness.  And for generations from Adam to Moses God’s people were in a mess, not even Noah and the flood could redeem them.

 

Adam 2 was ‘born’ by the Holy Spirit, the triune person of God.  Adam 2 was born into nothing, and then to cap it all he too was ‘banished’ into the wilderness, for no reason, where he did not sin.  And the end of it brought God’s loving kindness and mercy to all.

 

Adam 1 is promised by the Serpent that eating the fruit will make him like God “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’. Adam 1 wants to be God.

 

Adam 2 proves that he is human rather than God by being hungry and alone. Proves he is human by not using his superpowers. “Man shall not live by bread alone”.  Adam 2 acknowledges he is Man and as a man needs food.

 

Both Adams are therefore tempted but follow different decisions, and their consequences.

 

Adam 1 was a downfall for everyone that we cannot hide from.  Adam 2 turns it around and offers us a way of communion with God.

 

So Roger Spiller from my little blue book expands….

 

Read Blue Book here from First Adam

 

How amazing that a man born of the Holy Spirit, baptised by John at which point God affirms his love for his only Son, still draws closer to the God that sent him out into the wilderness?

 

Adrian Plaas says in his Lenten book ‘The Unlocking’: The Gospel accounts of this crucial event are fairly brief and can’t even begin to convey the agony of mind, body and spirit that Jesus must have endured as he wrestled with temptations to use selfishly the incredible power that now flooded through him. And further on…. There is a profound fear in many Christians that they will fail in their own wilderness experience.  At one time or another each of us is asked to walk into the desert and face the question about where out final commitment lies.

 

And yet as with Jesus we can find strength and a drawing closer to God in those exact wilderness times.  I’ve been reading a book called ‘Fleeing ISIS, Finding Jesus’ and there comes a point where a pastor from within Iraq or Syria reflects ‘There might not be a lot of persecution going on back in the west, but you can see similar reactions in people as they face cancer and suffering: some choose to rely on God: others walk away.  And I wonder if, whether we’re talking about ISIS, terminal disease, or grief, these are the ways that God reaches us.  IS it not better to suffer and realise that you need a Saviour than to go your whole life with great health and die comfortably at the end in your sleep without that knowledge?’

 

As we journey through our 40 days and 40 nights let’s (a) give thanks that God also journeys with us and (b) draw nearer to Him at this time.

 

Amen.


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