Breaking the Cycle

On Sunday Michael spoke about Luke 4 – Jesus’ temptation. I found his final few paragraphs quite challenging Here they are if you missed it or if you wanted to be reminded of who Jesus is in this passage….

At the very beginning of the Gospel book of Luke, we are told that the writer has ‘carefully investigated everything from the beginning’ so that he can ‘write an orderly account’. With this in mind we cannot, although we may be tempted, discard the long boring genealogy of Luke 3. Genealogies are like a family tree and they appear quite several times throughout the Bible and it is very difficult to get excited about them. There just a long list of names. Many I’ve never heard of before and can’t pronounce. However, Luke has this here for a reason. He is trying to tell us something, and I believe he is signally a drastic change for humanity. I believe he is pointing to the Second Adam, the new Adam.

 

The church’s doctrine of Original Sin tells of humankind’s state of sin stemming from Adam and Eve’s rebellion in Eden, namely the sin of disobedience. Because of Adam and Eve’s choice, all of us are stuck – repeating the same thing. Disobeying God. Seeking to rule ourselves. Imitating the sins of our ancestors’ time and time again. It plays out like an endless downward spiral.

That is, at least, until there is a new Adam. A second Adam. Jesus.

He doesn’t just break the cycle by giving us a second chance. If that was the case, then we would still have a lot of work to do, perfection would still be demanded of us. The slate might get cleaned but when we screwed up again we would have to keep returning to him with our tails between out legs.

Jesus doesn’t just break the cycle, he changes the cycle completely. He turns it inside out and upside down. He creates something new by being perfection for us. He brings us into new life, restored relationships, our lives can now be hidden with Christ in God. That means we don’t have to complete the form, we don’t need to keep the rules, we no longer live under the law but under grace.

This is what Jesus points to in Luke 4, just after returning from the wilderness.

 

‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me,

because he has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners

and recovery of sight for the blind,

to set the oppressed free,

19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

 

We have a saviour in Jesus who is in the business of turning things around. Flipping them inside out and upside down. He flipped the meaning of Son of God, from one of conquer oppress and execute, to one of solidarity, service and completeness. He became the servant king filled with humility and honour.

He moved humanity from an endless spiral of sinful imitation to a straight path of restoration.

And if we have any encouragement from being united with Christ, any joy in being under his rule and part of his Kingdom, any comfort from his mercy and grace, then we seek to know and commune with Jesus often so that we can become like-minded, having the same love, humility, and servant attitude. Putting sin to death and putting others above ourselves, not looking to our own interests but each of us to the interests of the others.

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