What was the very first question posed to mankind? I think it was the one the serpent posed to Eve in the garden when he asked her, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’ ” (Genesis 3:1) That question planted a seed of doubt in Eve’s mind, which took root and produced her eventual action of disobedience to God’s instruction not to eat the fruit of one tree in the middle of the garden.
A decision based on doubt with dire consequences for all of mankind. It started with a question, the answer to which would determine a course of action whose consequences we still deal with today. Ultimately, I have to answer the same question the serpent put to Eve for myself, “Did God really say . . .?”
In that moment Eve doubted God’s judgement, she doubted His wisdom, she doubted His love for her, she doubted His goodness. In that moment Eve no longer believed that God had her best interests at heart. Eve thought God was holding out on her. She now believed God was withholding something good and beneficial from her. This caused Eve to doubt God’s goodness, to doubt God’s intentions towards her. Eve no longer trusted God completely and so she disobeyed His instruction to her and she ate the forbidden fruit.
Today, each one of us is still wrestling with this very first question. I confess – I am. I have to decide daily, do I trust God or not? Because if I don’t trust Him, there is no reason for me to obey Him. Eve was in a perfect world, no pain, no lack of anything, she had all she could want and still she doubted God – the very God who had created the beautiful, perfect, peaceful, abundant garden in which she and Adam lived. God had given them this garden as their home. One of His many good gifts.
My view of the world today is vastly different from Eve’s view of the world seen from the safety of her garden all those years ago. I am not living in a perfect world. I am living in a world of danger and of pain and loss and heartache and struggle and violence and injustice and illness and oppression and uncertainty and on and on. Why would I trust God? What has He ever done for me?
Isaiah 53 tells me a lot about what God has done for me. I read these words in verses 4-12, “Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, . . . He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. . . . the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. . . . He poured out His life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
That’s more than I can take in, right there in those words. Someone poured out his life for me? Someone has born my sin and makes intercession to God for me? Someone is offering me peace with God, reconciliation and healing? Yes! The “He” Isaiah is talking about is Jesus. And all that Isaiah spoke of has now been accomplished. Actually accomplished two-thousand twenty years ago to be exact.
So it is a promise that has already been fulfilled. I don’t have to wonder if God will make good on His word. He already has. Yet still I doubt and wonder just what exactly has my Creator ever done for me? Philippians 2:6-8 gives me a clue what God did in sending Jesus to us, explaining it in this way,
“Chris Jesus, Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!”
So that’s what God has done for me. Jesus left His position, gave up His power, His comfort, His glory, His ease and painfree existence to come here to earth. Jesus chose to submit His limitless form to our earthly form with all its limits. He subjected himself to gravity, pain, hunger, thirst, fatigue, time, sadness, loss (He cried when Lazarus died) – the complete human experience. All for my sake? Yes, all for my sake.
Infinite in Being, Jesus took on finite form. Timeless in existence, Jesus entered into our earthly history, taking on our time frame – our hours and our days, our sleepless nights and special moments. He endured our ordinary hours of seemingly identical days, knowing and showing us that these days are full of encounters with eternity tucked among the mundane moments and minutes of each and every day.
Jesus never missed a one. I don’t want to either. Jesus showed us what a gift life is. In fact He said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) Jesus took it all upon Himself – the physical limitations and losses and the spiritual as well. He was separated from the Father (why He prayed often). Jesus experienced loss, loneliness, being misunderstood, being treated unjustly, being lied about, blasphemed and betrayed by those He trusted. There is nothing I have experienced or will experience that Jesus did not experience during His days here on earth.
Perhaps that is why He is my greatest advocate. Jesus gets me. This concept of Jesus understanding me was addressed in Hebrews 4:15 which tells me, “we (I) do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our (my) weaknesses, but we (I) have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are (I am) – yet was without sin.”
Those words let me know that Jesus has walked a mile in my shoes so to speak. Only difference, Jesus being fully God and fully man was able to do what I am not capable of, which is to live a sinless life. Jesus knows I am not able to do that, which is why He is at the right hand of the Father making intercession for me twenty-four/seven.
“Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us (me).” (Romans 8:34)
“but because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them (me).” (Hebrews 7:24-25)
So Jesus is praying for me. He is pleading my case before God. I have an advocate in the heavenly court!
What has God done for me through Jesus? His actions towards me are both past and present. as they are ongoing in my present circumstances. He has rescued me and He continues to rescue me daily. He has redeemed me and He continues to redeem my life on a daily basis. He has restored me and He is still in the process of that restoration. He has forgiven me and He continues to forgive me as often as I ask it of Him.
What has Jesus done for me? Actually He is still actively accomplishing these things in my life today. He feeds me, (that daily manna, new every morning) He leads me, He provides for me, protects me and comforts me. The twenty-third Psalm expresses it this way,
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. (there’s that ongoing restoration) He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” (His Presence is comfort, provision, protection and peace).
My God’s good gifts are too numerous to enumerate in their entirety but I will mention just a few more. He clothes me, He carries what weighs me down and He saves me from death. Consider the words of Isaiah 61:10 and of Psalm 68:19,
“my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness,”
“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.”
What has Jesus done for me? He took my place on that cross so long ago. He died in my stead. He paid my debt to God with His own life. He purchased my forgiveness with His own blood.
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
Jesus did that for me. He did that for each one of you, too, dear readers. That act of love and self-sacrifice should leave no doubt about His goodness and His intentions towards me. (and towards you)
sincerely, Grace Day