I stole a few moments to enjoy the beautiful weather and read on my back porch yesterday, and was so rewarded from just the first chapter of Name Above All Names, by Alistair Begg and Sinclair Ferguson. The focus of this chapter was “Jesus Christ, the Seed of the Woman,” but there were so many great points of reflection. Somehow, providentially of course, the themes in this chapter weaved together different points that I’ve been studying in the last month or so. I thought I’d share just one.
The main verse this chapter is teaching from is the Protoevangelium, Genesis 3:15:
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
This is the first proclamation of the gospel, given after the fall, in God’s judgment on the Serpent.
The authors pointed out how both the first Adam and the second Adam were brought to a tree. Where Adam was lured by the poisonous fruit and tempted to eat of it, Jesus, in his perfect holiness, plead with the Father that there could be another way than to drink what was in the cup that awaited him on his tree.
When the second Man was brought to the Calvary tree, he faced a reverse mirror image of the first man’s temptation…Jesus had to NOT want to eat the fruit of the tree with his whole being, and yet be willing to eat. He willed to be obedient when he did not want to be forsaken! (30-31)
The first Adam was tempted to eat of a forbidden tree. His disobedience brought death to all. The last Adam was tempted not to drink the cup from the accursed tree. His obedience brought life to all whom the Father has given him. “Jesus willed to take the divine curse although everything in him, every holy desire, longed for and deserved divine blessing. He took our place—who can fathom the mystery of his sense of desolation and alienation from heaven’s glory? He bore the curse—all for love’s sake” (31).
Begg and Ferguson go on to explain that in doing this, Jesus also unmasked Satan’s lie. From the beginning, he tried to manipulate God’s people into questioning his goodness and love. But on the cross, “God demonstrated his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
The truth is that because Christ drank of that cup on the accursed tree, we look forward to the fruit from the tree of life that the first Adam was barred from after the fall:
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Rev. 22:1-2)
Here we see the same imagery from Ezekiel 47 of God’s abundant goodness overflowing from his throne room. “There will no longer be any curse” (Rev.22:3); praise God from whom all blessings flow! “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14).