A Helper Suitable Knox Seminary 7 Aug 2013 no comments Dr. Warren Gage Good News The Bible begins with a wedding, and ends with a wedding. Genesis opens with a garden wedding near a river alongside of which grows the Tree of Life. Revelation closes with a garden wedding near a river alongside of which grows the Tree of Life. God’s creation of a bride for Adam also reflects the gift of a bride for Jesus Christ, whom the New Testament calls the “last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45). In the garden, Adam was put into a deep sleep. The man, though still sinless, was wounded in his side. God took the bone from Adam’s bloody side and fashioned a bride for him. The Lord God then awakened Adam from his sleep in the garden and presented to him a pure and beautiful bride. His beloved stirred every passion in his heart. A wounding and a wedding There is a pattern: a wounding, followed by a wedding. So also, in the fullness of time, God the Father brought upon his Son the sleep of death. Although Jesus, too, was sinless, God permitted his side to be pierced by a Roman spear. Out of Jesus’ side poured forth water and blood, the blood for the bride’s purchase, the water for her purification (John 19:34). God then healed Jesus of his wound, and awakened him in the garden from the sleep of death. One day Jesus will be presented with a pure and beautiful bride (Revelation 21:2) who will stir every passion of the Son’s heart. You are that bride; this is your story. These parallels between Eve’s story and ours are magnificent, but they don’t end there. Consider the very words used to describe Eve’s fall in Genesis 3:6: “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” She took, she gave, and they ate. Centuries later, Jesus shared a meal with his disciples on the night before he was crucified. He was the “Seed” of the woman, who had come to reverse and redeem the consequences of Eve and Adam’s fall. The Gospel of Matthew records the scene like this: “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body” (Matthew 26:26). He took, he gave, and they ate. Can it be a mere coincidence that the same verbs describing Eve’s fall were taken up by Christ as he anticipated his cross, which for him would be a tree of death, but for his people is a Tree of Life? Each of us must face the harsh truth that we are very much like Eve. We, too, were given life by a good Father, and we also have challenged the commands of our Maker and turned from him to seek our own way. Thus, Eve’s fall is our fall. Eve’s shame is our shame. And we must face the same question: “What is this you have done?” We are all Eve God’s question echoes from the pages of scripture and strikes at our hearts the way it struck Eve’s. How will you respond? The starting point for us, like Eve, is confession. Honestly, openly facing the truth that we rejected the offer of life given to us by the One who made us. We listened to the serpent and lived the lie that brought sin and death. When we acknowledge our guilt before God, we find that he will not cast us away, although he would be just in doing so. He instead provides for us the way he provided for Eve. He will not leave us lost in our sin. His justice condemns us, but his love and mercy move him to seek and save that which is lost. Just as Adam was wounded so that his bride could live, Jesus Christ was wounded so that we could live. In his body, he bore the debt of sin we owed. As the prophet Isaiah foretold, “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). A love so perfect can only come from a sacrificial wound so deep. Our invitation to this great wedding comes from accepting God’s offer of life to us, which came from the wounding and death of our Bridegroom. Only the life of the Son of God given for you is sufficient to accomplish a work like this. Just as an innocent animal gave its life to clothe the guilty in the garden, the sinless Christ gave his life to clothe his bride with his righteousness. Eve can thus truly be called “the mother of all living,” because her “Seed” was the One who crushed the head of your enemy Satan, and, through his death, brought you to life. A helper suitable But there is yet a deeper mystery here. God’s purpose in creating a bride for Adam is stated in Genesis 2:18: “It is not good for man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Adam’s bride was “suitable,” right for him, worthy of him. Can we carry even this concept forward to ourselves as Christ’s bride? If Eve was to be a helper “suitable for” her husband, then can it be true that we will be a helper “suitable for” the majestic, perfect Son of God? If so, then this may be the most amazing verse in the Bible because Christ must have a bride who is right for him, worthy of him. This truth should be great encouragement to God’s people, as we struggle with our own weakness and sin. Knowing that Jesus will not be wed to an unsuitable bride means we must be lifted up. Still more amazing is that the Hebrew for “suitable” can also be translated “corresponding.” Thus, not only will we be made “suitable” for Christ, we will be made “corresponding” to him, like him. The scripture makes a promise: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when he is revealed, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). “We shall be like him.” What an astounding promise! What an incredible trajectory we are on! It is difficult to imagine ourselves as such a bride, but the book of Revelation provides a glorious glimpse of this radiant bride at the end of time. Let the following verse be a promise to you that God will complete his work in you: “Let us be glad and rejoice and give him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7). Dr. Warren Gage (@Luke_2427) is a Professor of Old Testament at Knox Theological Seminary (@KnoxSeminary). Co-written by Chris Barber (@Rebrabc), Attorney at May, Meacham & Davell, P.A. & Graduate of Knox Theological Seminary. Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply. You must be logged in to post a comment.