In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
God created everything in 6 days and rested on the 7th. The 6th day He created mankind—male and female He created them. And evermore in Scripture 6 is the number of associated with mankind. And 7 is the number of God’s perfect rest in paradise where all things are good (Genesis 1:31) and you have life to the full (John 10:10; Luke 23:43)—including a full belly, filled to capacity with wondrous food, good for the body, the soul, and the tastebuds (Isaiah 25:6-7; 55:1-2; John 6:27, 35, 51).
But we know that the story doesn’t end there. Adam and Eve ate the fruit they should not—not the fruit of life, not the food of paradise, but of that one tree that though pretty and tasty (Genesis 2:9; 3:6) and bursting with knowledge nonetheless leads to death (Genesis 2:17). For though knowledge is good, not all knowledge is for you. To live a life free of the knowledge of evil is good. It is life. Life to the full. Life free of death and its sting and the shadow it casts across the earth. Adam and Eve knew nothing of evil, nothing of death til they did evil. The goodness of perfection broken, the logical consequence was entropy, decay, death. But death did not claim them before they saw the whole earth polluted, tainted, slowly destroyed by their evil action. And witnessed their children grandchildren turn from them and their faith as they had turned from Lord.
Which brings us to 3. On the 3rd day Jesus rose from the dead. On 3rd days in Bible accounts God saves, snatches you out of death and gives life.
Well on a 3rd day Jesus took 7 loaves of bread and fed 4000+ to the full, with 7 more baskets left over. 7. Perfect rest. The fullness thereof. 4 to the 3rd degree (1000). The whole earth—people from every nation, tribe, people and language—will be given rest (Revelation 7:9-10).
This catering for 4000 happened east of Israel in a desert-y region of Gentile territory called the Decapolis (meaning the “Ten Cities”). 10 cities and 4 thousands—10 x 10 x 10—were rested and filled. The earth and its fullness will be given rest. Given life through what Jesus works on the 3rd day.
Since sin entered the world work is no longer joy and life but something that slowly kills us. Yet without work we’ll die all the sooner. We are trapped by it. In recent years we’ve been blessed to have retirement pensions which dull the curse a bit, but people my age are not so sure such things will continue and thus curse of all mankind may again be felt more keenly. But no matter how hard you work death still follows you. The food you work for merely delays the inevitable. Because Adam ate what He should not. Did what he should not. And the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). And not for Him alone, but for all his children. For you and me. For all who are born of man and woman. Caught. Trapped. Imprisoned by death we can’t help but present our own bodies for more death devised torture. For more lawlessness leading to lawlessness whose end is death (Romans 6:19, 21).
You know what I mean. You know the alluring power of sin. You know the false promises it makes you of joy, rest, relief, control in the chaos, pleasure in the pain, or paradise on earth. Yet when you engage in whatever your own temptation is it is a noose around your neck, a tightening snare, that try though you might you can’t get out of. And trapped by it so many times you have given it free reign in your life so that your lawless sin has lead to more and more sin in your life. You wanted to be free of the accusations of the Law. So you fought the Law with lawlessness, only to be crushed by it. Smothered. Trapped. Dead in sin and transgression.
For He will kill you to your old ways. But death will not claim you. For He will set you in His new heaven and new earth (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1-4), His new paradise to come in which He will set before you the eternal banquet: the sweetest of meats, the finest of wines (Isaiah 25:6-7), the best of the best times (Revelation 19:7-9; 21:4), with the best people (Psalm 116:15; Revelation 21:24).
When we do the work of saving ourselves it’s no good. It ends in death. When He does the work it ends in life. For when the 1st Adam was kicked out of the Garden Jesus Christ, the 2nd Adam, tended the tree of life which feeds us eternally. He watered it with His own blood, and became the very food and drink that grows on it and flows from it. He places His meal before you this day so that His life is your life.
And you who were dead to God in sin and transgression He carried on His back to that tree. He washed your corpse clean of death (Romans 6:3-4) in the fountain that flows from His tree (John 19:30, 34; 1 John 5:6-8). He poured His living Spirit into your lifeless heart (Titus 3:5-6). He continually places life-giving food in your mouth setting you in Himself \so that you are pleasing to His Father and set apart for Him. No longer a slave of death—chained in the house of Satan and the grave—but a slave of His Father. A member of His household. Wearing His household’s clothes, fed from His table, sharing His life. And so we bear fruit in Him, in His house. Life-giving fruit. Fruit that ultimately comes from the tree of life, of which we are branches (John 15:5), grafted into Him (Romans 11:17-24). The fruit of our lips as we tell of His wondrous deeds (Hebrews 13:15) gives life to those trapped in death (Romans 1:16).
In +Jesus’ name, Amen.
—Pastor David Haberstock
Epiphany Lutheran Church,
Thunder Bay, ON