Messages from Pastor Raddatz
Jesse Tree-WHAT HOPE HAS GOD PROMISED
Mount Olive Church, December 6, 2020 Text: Genesis 1:27; 3:8–15
Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
There is one story that the Bible tells: it is the history of our salvation. But to understand the end of a story, one must go back. Way back. To when it all began.
The story of salvation does not begin with the incarnation—though everything in time before leads to the incarnation and everything afterward flows from that central point in history. We see that story in the Jesse Tree—a story that is Jesus’ story and is our story as well. Look around you and you might see a growing tree—an oak, a pine, a maple. Yet the mightiest tree in nature began as a small seed, so small that the world takes no notice.
And so our story begins. Back to the beginning. Back to the tree on the Jesse Tree. Way back when the story of our salvation began.
Jesus, the Seed of Jesse’s Tree
- The beauty of the Creator’s work
- All He made was called “good.”
We all have heard the story of creation. With the words “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1), the panorama of the history of the universe begins. We also know that 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” (Genesis 1:27). Creation, including the human race, was not by accident or chance but by the intentional act of the eternal God. And again and again, God saw what He had made, and again and again, He called it “good.” Only one thing was called “very good” by God.
- All lived in harmony with the Creator.
And good it was! For the man and the woman, God planted a garden we know as 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 ugly consequences 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 genuinely good and a true Eden.
God’s final analysis of His work of creation in Genesis 1:31, is that it was “very good”. God was pleased with His creation, and so are we!
When God pronounced the creation good, He really meant it. At the time, it was entirely good; there was no death or decay on earth at all. All lived in peace with God and with one another! God made this happen and mankind ruined it.
- The ugliness of humanity’s sin
- Eden was to become a memory of the past.
How beautiful was that paradise known as Eden! Yet 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 hate and war. We see despair and hopelessness. In other words, our eyes bear witness to what happened in the Garden of Eden. You know the story. The serpent tempted the woman. Her husband stood by and watched and then with her ate of the fruit of the one tree that was forbidden to them. Yet their initial sin was not in the physical eating but rather in their hearts choosing to listen to the serpent and rejecting the Creator’s loving law. A seed of doubt caused an act that would close the gates of Eden to all humanity.
- The love of the Creator could not change.
So what does the Creator do to those who sinned against Him? Reject them? Leave them without hope and redemption? Such is not the nature of the triune God. He is love itself, and that love reached out to Adam, to Eve, and to all their descendants. So great is His love that He could not destroy His creation or leave it to itself. In love, He created the man and the woman, and in love, He would provide a way of redemption that He had known from eternity. It was a price only He could pay, a price paid by, as the old King James Version so beautifully translates it, a “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8 KJV).
- “There is nothing that can stop God’s love”.
As we know trouble in this world so we can also know peace in this world. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). John also wrote, “…this is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith” (1 John 5:4). Paul wrote, “I am confident of this that NOTHING will be able to separate us from the love of God…” Romans 8:38ff.
III. The promise of a new creation
- A Seed is promised.
Sin brings death. And yet, from death springs life. Though Adam and Eve and all the subsequent generations have borne the curse our sin has earned, our loving Creator has not deserted us. On the contrary, He has not only embraced us but joined Himself to us. Here is the first promise of salvation, and it is given immediately after that first sin and the darkness that it brought. The Lord God said to the serpent, “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” (Genesis 3:15). The word for “offspring” is the word for “seed.” And here, the love of God shines through the darkness. There would be one seed that would defeat the serpent. And yet that seed would not be the seed of the man and the woman, as every other subsequent human birth would be. No, this Seed is the Seed of the woman—a miraculous and divine conception.
- A new tree will grow.
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. Through those generations, that Seed that was promised as Eden closed would remain present though hidden to human eyes. In the fullness of time, in the womb of a daughter of Eve, the Virgin Mary, that promised Seed would spring forth and grow. This was the Seed of the woman promised at the fall. From her womb would come forth the Creator Himself joined to His creation in the God-Man, Jesus Christ. Here is the Redeemer.
All that was lost in Adam is restored in the Seed of the woman. Here is the Christ, the Messiah. Here is the Lamb of God, the one and perfect sacrifice whose blood reverses the curse of the fall and brings grace and forgiveness to the whole human race. 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 and carries it all to a cross. From the tree of Eden would come death to all humanity, but from the tree of Calvary would come life to all humanity. This is the Christ of Easter by whose resurrection all the universe is forever changed. This is the Lamb into whom you and I were baptized to share in His death and resurrection. This is the Lamb whose body and blood have sustained us all at altars great and small. This is Jesus, the Seed of Jesse’s tree, and through Him, the Eden that was lost is restored for eternity.
A NEW DAY HAS DAWNED - Before his death Winston Churchill became a follower of Jesus Christ. He made his own funeral arrangements. When they said the benediction, he had arranged for a bugler high in the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral to play “Taps,” the universal signal of the day is over. After he finished there was a long pause, and then a bugler on the side of the dome played “Reveille,” the signal of a new day beginning. It was Churchill’s way of saying that while it was “Good night” here, it is “Good morning” there. Churchill believed his confident hope of victory over death was based on Jesus who is the Resurrection and the Life. -Resurrection Reveille, Contributed by Ed Sasnett
Every day a “NEW DAY” dawns for us. We are no longer condemned because of our sin. Through Christ, the promised seed, we are forgiven. The promised family tree comes in Christ.
May this peace which passes all human understanding keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus, to life everlasting, Amen.
Adapted from Jesse Tree Resources, December 6, 2020, Pastor John Raddatz
Current Weeks Message
Sunday, November 29, 2020
Sunday, November 22, 2020
Sunday, November 15, 2020
Sunday, November 8, 2020
Sunday, November 1, 2020
Sunday, October 4, 2020
Sunday, September 27, 2020
Sunday, September 13, 2020
Sunday, September 6, 2020
Sunday, August 23, 2020
Sunday, August 16, 2020
Sunday, July 12, 2020
Sunday, July 05, 2020
Sunday, June 28, 2020
Sunday, June 21, 2020
Sunday, June 14, 2020
Sunday, June 7, 2020
Sunday, May 17, 2020
Sunday, May 10, 2020
Sunday, May 3, 2020
Sunday, April 26, 2020
Sunday, April 19, 2020
Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020
Good Friday, April 10, 2020
Sunday, April 5, 2020
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Sunday, March 22, 2020