Sin and shame impact us all, and for some of us their weight can be particularly heavy. We try to break free but fail. When Lent rolls around, it can feel too somber to be of any real help. But it is actually leading us toward the cure.
I remember years of my life marked by commitments, failures, recommitments, and recurring failures with sexual sin and shame. It was difficult to look people in the eyes and I had a sense in my gut that if others really knew me, they’d reject me.
Lent is designed to lift our heads. If we’ll let it, Lent leads us into hope, even before Easter Sunday.
Scripture points to Jesus as the last Adam (Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15). He is for us what the first Adam was not. Fully God and fully human, Jesus undoes the death and destruction that is our inheritance because of what the first Adam did through his sin.
Look at Jesus’ passion week through the adamic lens and we can begin to see how intentionally and powerfully God moves into our condition, retracing Adam’s journey in a way, and so retracing your journey and mine. But Jesus lands each step where Adam stumbled, obeys every time Adam disobeyed, and loves sacrificially every opportunity Adam grasped for his own.
- The Father told Adam not to eat from one tree or he would die (Genesis 2:17).
- The Father led Jesus to be crucified and die on a cursed tree (Galatians 3:13).
- The forbidden tree was in the middle of the garden (Genesis 2:9).
- Jesus was hung from a cross in the middle of two crucified thieves (Luke 23:33).
- The serpent tempted Adam and Eve by suggesting they were not truly “like God” (Genesis 1:26 vs. Genesis 3:5).
- The serpent tempted Jesus in the desert by suggesting He was not truly “God’s Son” (Matthew 4:5-7).
- After being tempted, Eve and Adam “took and ate” (Genesis 3:6).
- At the last supper, Jesus broke bread, saying to His disciples, “Take and eat” (Matthew 26:26).
- After they ate, Adam and Eve knew they were naked. After sewing fig leaves together to cover themselves, they hid among the trees of the garden (Genesis 3:7, 8)
- Jesus was stripped of his clothes, and hung exposed upon a tree (Matthew 27:35).
- When God came searching for Adam and Eve in the cool of the day, He called out, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9).
- As Jesus was nearing His death, He cried out, “God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46).
- Before they were barred from the Garden, God clothed Adam and Eve with a garment of flesh, the first sacrifice (Genesis 3:21).
- Jesus left the Garden of Gethsemane to give Himself as a sacrifice to cover our sin and shame (Matthew 26:42, 46).
If sin and shame are particularly heavy for you in this season, stand on the Lenten road. You’ll be in good company—one and all sinners alike, sick on the foods we’ve eaten, now moving toward Jesus’ suffering and death. Hungry to take and eat real bread and drink real drink (John 6:55).
Jesus, thank you for doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Lift our heads from our sin and shame and help us set our eyes on You.
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Make sure to check out out 200th episode of Coming Whole this week entitled, A Lenten Meditation
Great article Josh! In the Gospel of Mark we see a further illustration of your point regarding our naked sin and shame being covered by Christ’s righteousness. Mark 14:51-52 “And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.” and then Mark 16:5 “And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe.”