The Glory of Christ and the Fall of Adam
Scripture: John 18:1–11
The Glory of Christ and the Fall of AdamJohn 18:1-11
Sunday, February 29, 2004
Pastor Randy Smith
Last week as we concluded our Lord's Prayer in chapter 17, we learned how Jesus emphasized the unity of His church. Second only to the concern for His glory, and related to His glory, was His passion that the church would be: one in heart, one in purpose and one in major points of doctrine.
On a personal level, we can all imagine the misery of being affiliated with a disunified church. Who would want to be part of an institution that consists of gossip, backbiting, slander, partiality, factions and divisions? Moreover, spiritually speaking, how could such an environment make the gospel attractive, display a supernatural power working in our midst and unite our forces to wage war on one front against the enemy? Jesus said, "Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand" (Mt. 12:25). Simply speaking, a disunified church does not and cannot promote our joy and glorify our Lord. The church is to be a reflection of the Godhead. And God is most glorified when His church expresses the same unity modeled within the Holy Trinity. That was last week's sermon.
Another sacred institution created by God (much in the news this week) is marriage. Unity once again comes into the picture. Marriage between one man and one woman is to be a reflection of the oneness we the church share with Christ as His bride (Eph. 5:30, 32). After God performed the first marriage in Genesis 2, we read, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh" (Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:31). Again, for our joy and God's glory, a marriage, just like the church, must be unified.
Now, here's what I found very fascinating this week. Following the creation of a unified marriage in Genesis 2 comes the temptation in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3. And following the creation of a unified church in John 17 comes another temptation in the Garden of Gethsemane in John 18.
Throughout the gospel of John we have seen the writer under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit express the superiority of Jesus Christ by comparing Him to various festivals and various people of the Old Covenant. The result? Jesus is always better! Therefore, I believe it's more than coincidental that Jesus closes His calling in the Garden of Gethsemane with a victory in comparison to Adam who ended his calling in the Garden of Eden with a defeat. The first Adam failed, but Jesus Christ, commonly called the Second Adam is superior as He overcame the temptation and succeeded (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:21-22, 42-49).
This morning as we begin the primary Passion narratives (and the climax of the Gospel of John), I'd like to compare the two Garden accounts (of Eden and Gethsemane) and show you how Jesus Christ, the Second Adam, though to the human eye eventually bound, beaten and crucified as a criminal, was completely in control, glorified and victorious over evil men and Satan. It is my prayer that this message will increase your faith, adoration and confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ!
1. THE BEGINNING OR THE END OF LIFE?
Point one, "The Beginning or the End of Life?" Verse one, "When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples."
Jesus had now concluded His Upper Room Discourse (chs. 14-16) and High Priestly prayer (ch. 17). He left Jerusalem, crossed the ravine (or stream) of the Kidron Valley (cf. David, a type of Christ-2 Sa. 15:23) and entered the Mount of Olives. Within this area, the Scriptures tell us there was a garden. From the other accounts (Mt. 26:36; Mk. 14:32) we know this garden was called "Gethsemane" (lit. "oil-press"). From these accounts we also know at this time that Jesus anguished in prayer. Mark says, "(He) began to be very distressed and troubled" (Mk. 14:34). Luke adds, "His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground" (Lk. 22:44). Matthew tells us He prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will (Mt. 26:39)"
All these accounts relay the agony our Savior faced as He set in motion the course of events that would end His life. Though He was fully aware of the shame and pain He would experience, something else brought unspeakable anxiety to His heart. The One always without sin would for the first time become sin for us. The One always in perfect unity with the Father would for the first time experience division within the Godhead. And, the One always loved by the Father would for the first time face the utmost of His wrath. All the precious promises that He spoke of in the Upper Room Discourse hinged upon whether or not Christ would proceed with the cross.
But for us who know the ending of the story, we know that Jesus succeeded where Adam failed. Consider the comparison between the two men. Adam was born in the Garden. Jesus came to end His life in the Garden. Adam failed during his temptation in the Garden. Jesus passed His temptation in the Garden. Adam was removed from the Garden. Jesus made the Garden once again accessible. Adam failed to reflect the image of God. Jesus was the perfect image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). Adam disobeyed the Word of God. Jesus lived by every Word that proceeded from the mouth of the Lord (Mt. 4:4). Adam incurred spiritual death for all men. Jesus incurred spiritual life for all who believe. 1 Corinthians 15:22, "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive."
2. ENTER THE ENEMY
Point two, "Enter the Enemy." Verses 2-3, "Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples. Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons."
Imagine if you would being alongside Jesus on that evening. You are tired just like Peter and John who kept dozing off but the cold evening air is keeping you alert. And you see the agony of your Savior's face. The ancient olive trees cast an eerie shadow across the landscape as they are illuminated by the full moon of the Passover. You can sense something is about to happen. As the tension grows you witness the drama unfolding. Arriving from the fortress of Antonia in Jerusalem you notice a mob consisting of hundreds of men carrying torches which noticeably dot the landscape. You can hear the rattling of chains and clanking of armor. The long line is a terrifying sight as it winds down the dark walls of the Holy City, across the bloodstained Kidron from the animal sacrifices and up the slopes of Olivet to where you are standing in the Garden. As they get closer you notice some are battle-prepared Roman soldiers carrying swords and temple officers carrying clubs. With them are some distinguished individuals in long robes from the Sanhedrin - Pharisees and Sadducees (chief priests). But one sight completely catches you by surprise as to almost displace your fear. Guiding the mob, confidently stationed out in front is your dear friend and fellow-disciple, Judas.
This was the time of darkness. This was Satan's hour (Lk. 22:53). Everything was unfolding according to His wicked plan. In the Garden of Eden he indwelt the serpent (2 Cor. 11:14), one described as "more crafty than any beast of the field" (Gen. 3:1). Adam and Eve fell and Satan was victorious. Now in the Garden of Gethsemane, Satan once again indwelt another "snake," a man named Judas. Luke 22:3 says, "And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve" (cf. Jn. 13:27). In concealing the hook, Judas went for Satan's bait and fell for his diabolical plans. One commentator remarked, "How mean, how devilish! For the foulest deed that was ever committed Judas selected the most sacred night (that of the Passover), the most sacred place (the sanctuary of the Master's devotions) and the most sacred symbol, (a kiss)" (Hendriksen, William. John, p. 379). The man Jesus entrusted with precious truths and the man the Apostles trusted as their treasurer, verse 5 says was standing away from Jesus on the side of darkness. Just like Adam and Eve, Satan ("the father of lies"-Jn. 8:44) deceived Judas into believing that God cannot be trusted. Though the first Adam fell, will the Second Adam be victorious?
3. HIDING AND MANIFESTING
Point three, "Hiding and Manifesting."
After Adam and Eve fell into sin, Genesis 3:8 says they "Hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden." They were shamed by their sin (Gen. 2:25; 3:7). They realized their nakedness. They were spiritually guilty before God. But God in His infinite mercy did something tremendous. God clothed them with skins using animals that He Himself sacrificed (Gen. 3:21). Yet as wonderful as this clothing for sin was, the blood-sacrifice of another, was only symbolic as it pointed to Jesus who would fully cover our sins, remove our guilt and clothe us in His righteousness (Isa. 61:10).
Contrary to hiding in the Garden like Adam, Jesus stepped out in the face of danger from the covering of the trees. He had no sin. He had no reason to be ashamed before God. He wanted the will of the Father. Adam tried to hide, but Jesus knew and eagerly accepted the appointed plan and will of the Father. Adam tried to run from God. Jesus ran to God in submission. In 12:27 He said, "Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, 'Father, save Me from this hour?' But for this purpose I came to this hour." In 17:19a He prayed, "For their sakes I sanctify Myself." Jesus was not trapped, surprised, tricked or caught off guard by the plans of evil men. He intentionally went to the place where He would most likely be found. He was fully in control and prepared to lay down His own life. In 10:18 He said, "No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative." He was prepared to be the ultimate blood-sacrifice to once and for all time cover our spiritual nakedness before God.
Verse 4 of chapter 18 says, "So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him (He was fully aware of the entire situation), went forth (He did not hide like Adam, but rather manifested Himself completely. Jesus boldly stepped out and was eager to submit to God's plan )."
4. OVERCOMING SIN AND CONQUERING THE FALL
Point four, "Overcoming Sin and Conquering the Fall." Beginning in verse 4, "So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said to them, 'Whom do you seek?' They answered Him, 'Jesus the Nazarene.' He said to them, 'I am He.' And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. So when He said to them, 'I am He,' they drew back and fell to the ground. Therefore He again asked them, 'Whom do you seek?' And they said, 'Jesus the Nazarene.' Jesus answered, 'I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way,' to fulfill the word which He spoke, 'Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one.'"
We know that the Fall occurred due to Adam's sin. However, the mission of Jesus Christ, the Second Adam, was to reverse the Fall. Romans 5 states, "So then as through one transgression (Adam's) there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness (Jesus') there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man's disobedience (Adam) the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One (Jesus) the many will be made righteous" (Rom. 5:18-19).
This act of reversing the Fall would be accomplished through the victorious Crucifixion and Resurrection of our Lord. But even at this point, though Jesus Christ had yet to go to the cross and yet to rise from the dead, we see many precursors to His victory. Allow me to present three.
For instance, twice in this dialogue between Jesus and the enemy, Jesus refers to Himself as "I am He." Most likely your Bible italicizes the word "He." The reason being is that this word is not included in the original Greek. Therefore Jesus really said, "I am."
If you remember back to chapter 8, Jesus often used this designation to refer to Himself. Once in verse 24 He said, "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins" (Jn. 8:24). He does the same in the beginning of verse 28. Then definitively in verse 58 He said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am" (Jn. 8:58). The Jews response? Verse 59 reads, "Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple" (Jn. 8:59).
You see the Jews knew taking this name for oneself was tantamount to claiming to be God. They were more than familiar with the account of Moses and God on Mt. Sinai. When Moses asked God His name, God replied, "'I AM WHO I AM'; and He said, 'Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you''" (Ex. 3:14).
This name was reserved exclusively for Almighty God alone. This name was not to be taken lightly, but Jesus freely took that name for Himself and demonstrated His right to use that name. There is power in His name just as there is power in His word. According to verse 6, the simple result of Christ's verbal proclamation of this name caused all His arresters to draw back and fall to the ground. Through the mere utterance of His name all of Christ's enemies were instantaneously subdued. There they were flat on the ground while He was standing. What a symbol that every knee will someday bow to the kingship of Jesus. What a symbol that sin cannot stand in His holy and glorified presence. What a symbol that He was fully in control of this entire situation!
Another precursor to Christ's victory comes in the fulfillment of prophecy. Twice in the dialogue with His captors Jesus made them repeat the fact that they were solely there to arrest Him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Then in verse 8 He said, "I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way."
Imagine the scene. The enemy is on one side, the disciples are on the other and Jesus is standing in the middle protecting His flock from the attack of wolves. It is encouraging. The Good Shepherd, even in His most pressing hour was still concerned for His sheep. He gave them a way out, and the Scriptures declare they scattered (Mk. 14:27, 50). Such protection was the fulfillment of prophecy. Verse 9 reads, "to fulfill the word which He spoke, 'Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one.'"
Quite often in the Gospel of John, Jesus is recorded as saying He keeps His sheep spiritually safe (Jn. 6:39; 10:28; 17:12). Those who are Christ's will faithfully persevere to the end in the faith. Those professing Christians who fall away only indicate they never belonged to Christ in the first place. Verse 9 has physical safety implications, but also speaks of eternal spiritual security. I believe such physical safety in verse 9 is only a symbol of the spiritual safety we enjoy in Christ. Some notable scholars (Luther, Calvin, MacArthur, Hendriksen, Morris) have argued that arrest at this point would have been more than these disciples could have spiritually handled and therefore in protecting them physically, He was in turn protecting them from spiritual shipwreck. For our Lord never allows us to undergo more than our faith can handle (1 Cor. 10:13). Nevertheless, the point still remains; Jesus Christ is the sovereign Prophet par excellence!
Adam failed during his big moment of testing (Gen. 3:6). However, Jesus in precursors to His upcoming victory, showed Himself as King (causing those to fall before Him) and Prophet (fulfilling Scripture) and finally Miracle Worker (in a divine healing), which we will examine now.
5. PUT AWAY THAT SWORD!
Point five, "Put Away that Sword." Verse 10 reads, "Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave's name was Malchus" (cf. Mt. 26:51-52; Mk. 14:47; Lk. 22:49-51).
While most of the disciples fled, the once again overconfident Peter sought to take matters in his own hands (Jn. 13:37). Imagine his audacity; one former fisherman with a dagger (machaira-cf. Lk. 22:38, 49) against a whole cohort of fully armed and trained Roman soldiers. He was the man just moments earlier too tired to pray with His Lord, but now he's prepared to defend his Lord unto death. And it wasn't likely that Peter was aiming for the ear. For all intent and purposes he was going for the head and the sword probably slid down the side of the man's helmet and lopped off an ear! But when hundreds of drawn steel blades rang from their scabbards in gruesome symphony, Jesus reached over to Malchus and tenderly healed his wounded ear (Lk. 22:51).
Then in verse 11 "Jesus said to Peter, 'Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it'" (other comment-Mt. 26:52)? The "cup" in this case is the upcoming suffering which Jesus is about to undergo (Mk. 10:38; 14:38). Interestingly, the cup of suffering in the Scriptures is often tied to the suffering from facing God's wrath (Psm. 75:8; Isa. 51:17, 22; Jer. 25:15; Exe. 23:31-33; Rev. 14:10; 16:19) something Jesus was about to do as He would take upon Himself our sins and then expose Himself to the Father's judgment on our behalf. After praying earlier in the Garden that the cup would be removed, Jesus has fully accepted it and is prepared to drink from it and execute the Father's will. And He wasn't about to let one man who thought himself wiser than God to stop Him.
Earlier in Matthew 16, Peter wanted to prevent Jesus from going to Jerusalem to die (Mt. 16:21). In that situation our Lord strongly rebuked Peter. "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's" (Mt. 16:23). Now in this situation our Lord once again rebukes Peter for the same thing, for attempting to circumvent His plan to die. Christ had accepted the cup which the Father had given Him and He would not allow anybody to deter Him, as noble but misguided as Peter's intentions might be, from following the Father's will and embracing the cross.
Death and Curse were in that cup,
Oh Christ, 'twas full for Thee;
But Thou hast drained that last dark dregs,
'Tis empty now for me.
Once Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 3:24 says, "So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life." As children of Adam we are all born outside the Garden in spiritual separation from God. But thanks to Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, we now have fellowship with God and spiritual access to the Garden. The book of Revelation speaks of us again partaking in the tree of life (Rev. 22:2). The flaming sword of the cherubim has been sheathed for all those who exercise faith and repentance in Jesus Christ. Our Lord told Peter, "Put the sword in the sheath!" Paradise was lost by man's ways. Jesus wanted Peter to know that Paradise would not be restored by man's ways. For God had a better plan and the sword of the cherubim would only be sheathed if Peter would sheath his sword. We once again have access to Paradise. Through Adam we were made sinners, but through Jesus Christ we can find eternal spiritual intimacy with God.
The first Adam lost the way, but Jesus said, "I am the way." The first Adam believed a lie, but Jesus said, "I am the truth." The first Adam brought death, but Jesus said, "I am the life." No wonder Jesus could conclude, "No one comes to the Father but through Me" (Jn. 14:6).
While pronouncing the curses that resulted from the Fall, God made a remarkable prediction to Satan. "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise Him on the heel" (Gen. 3:15). Satan's schemes through Judas did not derail the eternal plan of God in Gethsemane any more than his work through the serpent did in Eden. None of these were unexpected events, but rather events allowed to happen by God to better demonstrate His glory through His wonderful plan of redemption. Throughout our study of this Passion account I hope you will see that Satan is crushed as promised and the seed of the woman, Jesus Christ, is the Victor. So while thousands of lambs were being sacrificed for the Jewish Passover, the perfect Lamb of God willingly went to the cross to offer the obedient sacrifice of Himself to reverse Adam's curse and once again make the Garden of God's paradise accessible.