Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Comparison of Jesus and Us


What is this you/You Have Done?


1) Heidelberg Catechism

5 Q. Can you live up to all this perfectly?

A. No. I have a natural tendency to hate God and my neighbor.

2) Scripture

Genesis 2:15-17: The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Genesis 3:8-13: And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

John 18:33-35: So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?


After Adam and Eve sinned by rebelling against God’s command not to eat of the tree (Gen. 2:17), the Lord confronts the first couple with a number of questions. He asks Eve, “What is this you have done?” (Gen. 3:13). In a similar way, when Jesus was on trial, Pilate asked Jesus a number of questions. Pilate asks Jesus the same question the Lord asked Eve: “What have you done?” (John 18:35).

What the first couple had done was rebel against God. They tried to take the Lord’s place as king. They tried to usurp his throne. Instead of being ruled by the Lord through his words, they decided to rule themselves. They rebelled by disobeying God’s word. They tried to take God’s place by becoming like God (Gen. 3:5), so that from now on they would determine good and evil for themselves. No longer would they look to God’s word for direction. Rebellion and pride were at the heart of Adam and Eve's sin.

When Jesus went to the cross, two charges were brought against him. The first charge was rebellion. This accusation is stated in John 19:12, when the Jews say, “Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.” The second charge against Jesus was pride. The Jewish leaders state this accusation in John 19:7, when they say, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

Do you see how Jesus is accused of the same charges as Adam and Eve in the garden? Both our first parents and Jesus were accused of rebellion and pride. The only difference, of course, is that the charges against us are true, but the charges against Jesus are false. Jesus was not guilty of rebelling against Rome and he certainly never rebelled against his heavenly Father. Jesus was truly God himself, but instead of exalting himself, he humbled himself to become a man and our Savior.

When Jesus died, he was dying for our sins of rebellion and pride. This rebellion and pride are what Q&A 5 refers to when it talks about “a natural tendency to hate God and my neighbor.” The pride and rebellion of our hearts has led to the distortion of our emotions. Instead of supremely loving God and loving our fellow human beings because they are made in his image, our love has become distorted, disproportioned, and often fixed on the wrong objects. This distortion, disproportion, and misplaced love is what the catechism means when it says, “I have a natural tendency to hate God and my neighbor.”

What have we done? Sadly, we have rebelled against our God in pride, which has distorted our love. What has Jesus done? In his loving submission to his Father, he came to earth and humbled himself by dying on the cross for our sins, loving us in a way that should melt our hearts in love.

Discussion: What were the two main sins of Adam and Eve in the garden? Why do you think Jesus was accused of the same sins as Adam and Eve? What natural tendency have all people inherited from our first parents?

Prayer Starter: In your prayer, use what you have learned to humble yourself before the Lord, and thank the Father that he sent his Son to pay the penalty for our crimes of rebellion and pride.

Hymn for Lord’s Day 2

How Do You Come to Know

To the tune TRENTHAM (Breathe on Me Breath of God or Based on Lord’s Day 2 of the Heidelberg Catechism (related Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 14, 42, 18-19). Words: Bill Weber, 2010.

v. 1
How do you come to know
your sin and misery?
The holy, righteous law of God
points out my sin to me.

v. 2
What does God’s law require?
Wholehearted love for God,
with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength,
while on this earth we walk.

v. 3
What does God’s law require?
Love to our neighbor too.
Love him as you do love yourself.
Love him for God’s sake too.

v. 4
Can you live up to this?
No one can perfectly.
The law condemns my lack of love,
it shows my guilt to me.

v. 5
What then can sinners do?
Flee to the God of grace.
God sent His Son to bear our guilt
and take the sinner’s place.

v. 6
What does the gospel show?
It shows God’s gracious will.
It shows how we may live with Him
bless’d on His holy hill.

Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it.

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