November 29, 2020
Grace to you, and peace, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
The Bible is a collection of 66 books written by over 40 authors over at least a couple thousand years. Yet it contains a single, unified, consistent message. That message is the history of our salvation. Our salvation is the end of the story, but to understand the end of a story, you need to go back to the beginning.
The record of our salvation does not begin with the birth of Jesus. His birth is a very central event in Creation’s history. Everything in time before leads to the that moment, and everything afterward flows from that central event. The Jesse Tree helps us see that more clearly.
The Jesse Tree is a record that is Jesus’ history and ours. You’ve all seen trees. Some are big like the Sequoia. Some are small like the Bonsai. They may be oak, pine, maple or so many others. All stand majestically. All started small. The mightiest tree in history began as a small seed, so small that the world would take no notice. That was its beginning.
Our story begins back at the beginning. Way back, when the story of our salvation began.
We all have heard the record of creation. With the words:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.1
There is where the expanse of the history of the universe began. The crown of creation came on the sixth day when:
God created man in His own image,
in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them.2
Creation, including the human race, was not an accident or dumb-luck chance. It is the intentional act of the eternal God. Day by day God saw what He had made, and again and again, He called it “good.”
For the man and woman, God planted a garden called Eden. There, our first parents lived a life of harmony and peace with nature, with each other, and with the One who had created them. Sin and its sin’s affect were unknown in this world. So many have dreamed of living again in an earthly Eden. A utopia of humanity’s own making, but only God can create that which is truly good, right, pure and holy.
We cannot imaging the beauty that was that paradise, Eden! It must have been a wonder to behold, but it was not to last. You and I can see its loss just by looking around us, or by looking into a mirror. We see brokenness and sin. We see hatred and lies. We those eager to spread and inflict despair and hopelessness. All these things bear witness to what happened in the Garden of Eden.
You know the account. Satan, the father of lies, tempted the woman. Her husband stood by and watched, and then with her ate the fruit of the one tree that was forbidden. The real sin was not in the physical eating, it was in their hearts where they chose to listen to Satan and reject the Creator’s love, protection and care. A seed of doubt, planted and water in lies, caused an act that would close the gates of Eden to all humanity permanently.
So what does the Creator, our Heavenly Father, do to those who lied to Him, rejected Him, ignored and spurned His Holy Word and Sacred Teachings and sinned against Him? Does He reject them? Does he leave them without hope? Does He retaliate and strike them down? That is not the way of the one, true, living, triune God. He is love itself,3 and that love reached out to Adam, to Eve and to all their descendants, including you. Our heavenly Father could not endure being separated from His children forever.
So great is His love that He could not destroy His creation, nor abandon it to the pit made for Satan and his demon messengers of death, corruption and pain.4 In love, He created Adan and Eve. In love, He would provide the way of redemption, salvation and freedom from sin and sin’s affect. It was a price only He could pay, a price paid by the Lamb slain before the foundations of the Earth were laid.5
Sin brought death. Yet any seed will teach you, from death springs life. Though Adam and Eve and all those who came after them have carried the scare, the curse of sin, our loving Creator has not deserted us. On the contrary, He has not only embraced us, but joined Himself to us.
The very first promise of salvation, is given immediately after that first sin and the darkness that it brought. The Lord God said to Satan:
I will put hostility between you [Satan] and the woman,
and between your descendants and her Descendant.
He shall crush your head, and you shall bruise His heel.6
The word for “descendant,” or “offspring” is the word for “seed.” Right there it is. There shines the love of God through the darkness brought by the prince of lies. There would be one Seed, one Descendant, who would defeat Satan and his lies which bring destruction and death. That Seed, that Descendant, would not be the seed of the man and the woman, as every other human birth would be. This Seed is the Seed of the woman. A miraculous and Divine conception.7
The tree of Jesse begins with a seed. A seed present but dormant in Eve. In love, God remembered His promise through every generation of fallen humanity and through all of the destruction, deception and death. Through those generations, that Seed that was promised as Eden closed. It would remain present though hidden to human eyes. In the fullness of time, in the womb of a daughter of Eve, in the Virgin Mary, that promised Seed would spring forth, and grow. This was the Seed of the woman promised at the Fall. From Mary would come Emmanuel, “The God of Creation with us.” The Creator Himself joined to His creation in Jesus Christ. Here is your Redeemer, your Savior, your Champion in the battle.
All that was lost in Adam is restored in this Seed of the woman. Here is the Christ, the Messiah. Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.8 He is the one time perfect sacrifice, whose blood washes away the curse of the Fall, and brings grace and forgiveness to all who call on His Name.
This is Jesus, Son of God and Son of Man. This is the new Adam, who bears the sin of the old Adam, and every human being that follows. He carries all of that to a cross. From the tree of Eden would come death to all humanity. From the tree of Calvary would come life to all humanity. This is the Holy Christ of Easter by whose resurrection all the universe is forever changed. This is the Lamb into whom you were baptized, to share in His death and resurrection. This is the Lamb whose Body and Blood sustains you and brings you salvation. This is Jesus, the Seed of Jesse’s tree. Through Him, the Eden that was lost is restored for eternity.
Praise His Holy Name.
31 John 4:8 – Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
4Matthew 25:41 – He will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
5Revelation 13:8-9 – All who dwell on earth will worship [Satan]. Everyone whose name has not been written, before the foundation of the world, in the Book of Life of the Lamb who was slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear…
6Genesis 3:15 (Adapted to more clearly reflect the original Hebrew.)
7Luke 1:31-35 – Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus… Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.