Our Epistle lesson puts forward a comparison, between Adam and Jesus. And in this comparison Paul goes so far as to say, in verse 14, that Adam “was a type of the one to come.” He was a type of Jesus, a type of man.
Seems like an odd thing to say, but in theology we actually have a discipline called Typology – the study of types. It might seem a bit abstract, but really, we talk this way all the time. There are different types of flooring. Carpet has its uses, tile its own; some people go with hardwood or a linoleum. They are different types that do different things. There are different types of vehicles, some want big trucks for hauling, some want small and compact cars for gas mileage and maneuverability. Some like spending time on the side of the road broke down, so they buy Fords, that’s fine. Different types, for different preferences. There are different types of lighting, different types of animals, different types of a whole lot of things.
The question we have to ask ourselves is what type of man was Adam and what type was Jesus? Paul gives us some clues about Adam that’s for sure: he says sin came into the world through him (nice job, Adam). Notice he bears the responsibility even though Eve ate first – being the Spiritual head of the household isn’t all glory and honor. Paul continues saying Adam was a trespasser, a transgressor, a breaker of the law of God’s goodness and deserving of condemnation. In other words, what type of man was Adam? Well, one kinda like you.
Right? Maybe we don’t think we deserve the kind of rhetoric that Paul gives Adam, but most everything he said about Adam is true for us: we are sinners and the sins we do deserve condemnation. The only difference is Adam was the first man, so he was the first to do it. But the sin is in us too from our beginning and if you don’t think so, I certainly invite you over to watch my kids play and see if I need to teach them to share or steal. Psalm 51:5 “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity.” If you still disagree or think we can master this sin later in life, well, you are more than welcome to stop sinning ever again. Good luck.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you guys are serial killers or madmen and women, but I don’t think Adam was either. We have no indication he killed anyone. So why is Paul and God so harsh on him? Because God is just and will not tolerate evil near him or his people. And here we confess that evil and sin still have their hands all over us, just like it did Adam and Eve who were tempted and sinned, wanting to be their own gods. And so they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil – they already knew good. They only knew good, but then they learned evil. And we know it well, and boy it isn’t all that fun is it? With broken hearts, relationships, pandemics, and riots.
Yes, Adam and Eve pushed the good God away so that evil came to fill the void. Don’t ever let anyone tell you God made evil, no, no, but in his absence it came and it meant they no longer walked and talked with him in the garden. And all their descendants, which does include you and me, we live in this same broken world with evil in it, even as we are the same type of people.
Ever been mad at God? Ever wished he did something different? Ever wondered if he was there, or if he was real, or why his word says what it does because it seems so harsh or strict? If so, congratulations, you are the same type of person as Adam, the one who pushed the good God away. So before we go blaming them for breaking this world, let us repent ourselves. And before we go getting mad at God, or our parents for bringing us into this mess when no one asked us first, let us consider the second man, Jesus.
You see, God was not pleased to be apart from his people, even sinful people, forever. He was not pleased to let sin and death reign. He would not allow evil to reign. And so, instead of wiping out evil, which would mean wiping out us – because as we already established and confessed we are evil – he did something different. He came and he walked and talked with us once again.
Jesus, God in the flesh, came and, for once, one man was different. Jesus, yes, is a different type of man, though still entirely man. One with no evil, one stronger than the evil. We see that in his testing in the desert. Seriously, compare that with Adam and Eve in the garden. They had everything, they had no hunger, or thirst, they were in paradise, yet they still failed the test. They couldn’t measure up.
But then Jesus, in a desert, not paradise, with hunger and thirst, with one hand tied behind his back, he passes the test. And it wasn’t even close. Because Jesus is a different type, he is greater, he is stronger. Death, sin, the devil, they tried their best against Jesus. They threw everything they had at him, and when he hung on the cross dying, they probably thought they were winning. But little did they know that they were playing right into God’s plan. He is always greater, always stronger, always wiser. And in his death, as his heel was bruised, he crushed the serpent’s head. He crushed the devil, and his work. He crushed the evil in the world, the evil in us. Sacrificing himself he saved us, he saved Adam and Eve, taking the evil away so that one day we might know nothing but good once more. That is our just, yet merciful, and altogether almighty God who has worked to save us. Sin, death, and the devil, thought they won, but on Easter their plans came crashing down, they lost their grip on God’s people, and realized who the real king is. What type of king? The King of all kings – King of the universe.
So in the face of evil and sin consider the type of man Jesus is. Our text reminds us we are justified, saved, by His blood, and so he is a sacrifice – a type of sacrifice. Not a bull, not a goat, but the once for all payment for sin – the pure and spotless lamb of God, that’s his type. Our text says he reconciles us and saves us from the wrath of God. And so he is a type of priest – an intermediary between God and man. But not a priest that has to go to a building once a year with the blood of a bull, but the type of priest who has ascended to the throne of God and intercedes there for us with His own blood! That’s the type of priest he is, the best one.
That’s where our hope is. We who, I mean, what type of people are we? Are we the ones who bring joy or tension to a room? Are we the type who are slow or quick to anger? Are we the type who lust after what isn’t ours, offer a quick crude remark, never apologize, give little thought to what our King would have us do? Well, if we meant our confession, well, then, we know what type of people we are. So, again, what hope do we have? We have hope in the greatest King, greatest sacrifice, the greatest priest. We have hope in this second Adam, Jesus, who is the greatest and who, this is the type of man he is, the type of love he shows – we have hope in the one who while we were still sinners died for us.
So do you think he’s going to take it back now? No, he has too much skin in the game. He has already given up his life for you! So when you are tempted, when you are tested, think of the one who is greater than all, remember that he is on your side. Ask for his strength, find it in His Word of promise. And when you fail the tests – because, let’s face it that’s the type of people we are – when you fail, thank God that the Second Adam didn’t. Jesus won and he lives with justice and mercy. Seek his forgiveness and he will give it. Because, let’s be honest, he knows all things, he knew Adam and Eve would sin, and he knew he would have to die to save them and us, but you know what, he did it anyway. Such is his love for us, his desire to be with us. Let us thank our merciful and mighty God and seek refuge in him in every time of temptation and defeat, because his is the only Savior, the only life giver – for those categories – there is no other type. Only Jesus. In His name. Amen.