Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 42; 146, Genesis 3:1-24, Hebrews 2:1-10, John 1:19-28
“Who told you that you were naked?”
That’s the question God asks Adam and Eve when He finds they have covered themselves in fig leaves because they are ashamed. No one had to tell them; they knew as soon as they ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. What exactly about their nakedness was shameful? Minutes earlier it hadn’t bothered them – or God – at all. Perhaps it wasn’t the physical nakedness that shamed them, but the spiritual nakedness. That’s a lot harder to cover up.
Was there really anything special about the fruit? If God had commanded them not to sit in the Lawn Chair of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the serpent would have reminded them how tired their legs were. It was inevitable.
Our reason for desiring “forbidden fruit” always seems solid … right up until we begin to pay the consequences. Like every human being, Adam and Eve already had the capacity for good and evil, but because they had not been disobedient, they did not have the knowledge of it. Immediately upon disobeying God they became aware of how deeply flawed they actually were. Like any one of us, they didn’t want those flaws exposed to the world or to God. Fumbling to conceal themselves only made mistakes more apparent. Whether or not we believe in a literal Eden, the story teaches us that as soon as we are aware of our disobedience, we feel separated from God. The knowledge is not contained in the fruit, but in the bite.
It took a Christ who was willing to die on our behalf to reveal to us that God loves and forgives us despite our flaws. Our vain and impossible attempts at perfecting ourselves – our fig leaves – only further separate us from God, because we inevitably fall short and condemn ourselves. We’d be better off never having covered up at all. Christ invites us to drop the fig leaves and return to God on God’s terms – spiritually naked and humbly dependent. Christ uncovers our shame, and covers us in love.
Comfort: God loves you just as you are.
Challenge: In what ways are you still trying to prove yourself to God? How can you let go of these “fig leaves?”
Prayer: Loving Creator, I present myself humbly before you. I trust that you love me despite my sins and failures. I thank you for Christ who strengthens and redeems me. Amen.
Discussion: What tempts you? How do you feel after you give in?
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