Take a moment to become still, aware of God’s presence, and then pray:
Almighty and merciful Father, thank You for so loving the world that You gave Your only begotten Son to become one with us so that we might forever share in Your life and love. Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit so that we might hear and obey what You say to us. Amen
For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ…Thus it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit… The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.
1 Corinthians 15:21,45,47
Did you ever stop and think that every time you write a check, sign the credit slip, or date your Christmas card, you are proclaiming the world-transforming significance of Jesus’ coming? When the eternal God stooped to take on humanity, the world could no longer think of history in the same way. No more business as usual.
Formerly the ancient world reckoned time from key events such as the founding of Rome, the Olympiad, or first year of a Pharaoh or Emperor’s reign. But with Christ’s coming people were compelled to think about history differently and began to date time from Anno Domini, ‘the year of the Lord’. The Lord of heaven and earth, by humbling Himself to become human, became the greatest event in world history, the reference point for all time. History turned sharply on its axis so that nations of the world, both east and west, calculate time from Jesus’ birth, as prescribed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO 8601).
When the “fullness of time” came, God sent His Son, born of a woman (Galatians 4:4). From that “fullness of time” Jesus inaugurates the new creation, the new life for the world. Thus, in today’s scripture, the apostle Paul compares Christ to Adam as He heads up the new humanity. As Adam led humanity into sin and death, so Christ leads us into life – life eternal. The heart of today’s scripture is that we are now joined to Christ as we were once joined to Adam.
Note then that Paul calls Jesus “the last Adam”, the starting point and head of a new humanity. This means, “if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! (2 Corinthians 5:17). Time must forever be thought about differently as we live Anno Domini, “in the year of the Lord.”
Paul necessarily emphasizes the humanity of Jesus in today’s scripture: He was “a human being”. “It is precisely because Christ is the replacement of Adam that Christ can be no less human than Adam – composed of both soul and body. As the whole human being fell in Adam, the whole human being was restored in Christ.” (Patrick Reardon, The Jesus We Missed) This is the reason why Luke’s gospel traces Jesus’ family tree all the way back to Adam (Luke 3:38). It was necessary that the Son of God become fully human, bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh.
The Gospel is that while Adam was head of humanity in sin and death, Jesus is now humanity’s head bringing life and blessing. While Adam was “a living being”, the “last Adam [Jesus] became a life-giving spirit.” The first Adam could only draw life from God, but the last Adam gives life, eternal life.
Centuries before the birth of Jesus, a suffering Job looked ahead in faith to the “last Adam” as giving life to mortal flesh: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon this earth; and after my skin has been destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side” (Job 19:25-27).
This is something big to think about the next time you write a check or date a document. We live and celebrate life in “the year of the Lord”!
Think back over the past 24 hours and note when you experienced a “high” and a “low”. Share with God how the humanity of Jesus might speak to you in what you experienced.