Summary: A sermon built around Paul Harvey's phrase: "Now you know the rest of the story." It looks at the story of Adam and Eve, our part in the story, and Jesus'.
Today’s text is an interesting one. It doesn’t start at verse 26. It even doesn’t start at verse one of the chapter, nor does it even begin in chapter 22 on Maundy Thursday. It doesn’t even begin at chapter one, verse one of Luke. We’re not getting the whole story this morning.
It is like dealing with two kids who have a problem. I received lots of experience with this while coaching 27 middle schoolers for soccer this fall, some days doing it by myself. And as you can rightly imagine, with that many middle schoolers with one adult, boys will be boys, and problems will happen when my back is turned. I quickly found out that when the kids would go to me with a problem saying, “He hit me,” or “He called me a name,” that I was not getting the whole story.
More often than not, I would receive only part of it, and would have to put the whole story together from the information I got from the fighting kids. It was only after I talked with multiple kids that I could get a glimpse and understanding of the bigger picture and get the whole story. This morning, we’re going to get the whole story regarding Jesus’ crucifixion.
As I said, the story doesn’t begin here. In fact, it begins elsewhere, in a place and setting quite the opposite of Golgotha and the hill of Calvary. Instead of a crowd of people we see a scene with just two people. Instead of taking place on a dusty, rocky, and bare hill with three rugged and stripped trees, we see the story beginning in a beautiful and lush garden, full of fruit, animals, and living trees. Instead of the smells of blood, sweat, and stinky men, we have the smell of flowers and blooming trees. The story really begins in the garden of the Eden, with Adam and Eve.
Adam and Eve had been created and were enjoying paradise in the Garden of Eden until a crafty serpent slithers their way. This cunning serpent, the devil, begins a conversation with Eve and encourages her to eat from the forbidden tree in the garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He deceives her by telling her that she shall not die, and that she will be like God when she eats of it.
In a sense, it is a very enticing temptation. In more relatable terms, a similar temptation would be, “Don’t you want to be rich like Bill Gates?” Or Wouldn’t you like to be athletic like….Or Wouldn’t you enjoy being important like the President? Who wouldn’t want to be like God? So Eve took the fruit and enjoyed it, and then gave it to her husband, who also ate of it. As their eyes became opened as they ate, they realized they were naked, and covered themselves to avoid shame.
When God begins to look for the two, they hide themselves from Him. Their sin is evident before them, and so is their being seperated from God. So God continues His search and calls them out, and they fearfully step forward. As God tries to get the whole story of what had happened, He sees Adam blaming Eve, and Eve blaming the serpent. God declares them all guilty, and He gives curses to each one of them.
The Lord says the serpent will crawl on his belly and eat dust. The woman will have a greater pain in childbirth. The man’s work will be tougher than ever, with the ground producing thorns and thistles, the curse of his sin. However, in His mercy, God promises them a Savior Who will crush the serpent’s head, but Who will in turn, also have His heel struck. He then clothes Adam and Eve and kicks them out of the garden. God places a cherubim with a flaming sword to bar them from paradise. Here’s Adam and Eve’s part of the story.
But we see another part of the story now enters in, our own. As descendants of Adam and Eve, we inherit sin, and inherit its deadly effects. Our human nature is entirely corrupted by it. We are born sinful and unclean, and are full of evil lusts and inclinations. We begin our lives as God’s enemies, and on the wrong side of His wrath. We are born without true faith and fear of God, and cannot obtain it on our own. This hereditary sin, or original sin, as we call it, damns and brings eternal death. There is nothing that we can do about it. This is where our part of the story comes in.
Let’s now see Jesus’ part in this event. Jesus, as the promised Savior, enters on the scene all bloodied, whipped, and humiliated. He is led out of the city, carrying His cross, with a sentence of condemnation although He did nothing wrong. As He stumbles and struggles to carry this cross, it is placed another man, Simon of Cyrene, who is forced to help carry this instrument of death to Jesus’ final destination.