Saturday Sermon: Two Trees, Some Fruit, and a Piece of Bread
Each Saturday, we present an ongoing series recognizing sermons (and the pastors who give them) that are helping to promote the harmony of science and faith. Today's sermon comes from Kevin Kim, campus minister of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church's Open Door Church San Mateo. The full sermon can be found on Menlo Park Presbyterian Church's website.
In his sermon “The Great Invitation”, Kevin Kim raises a question that all Christians should address: what’s so great about the gospel anyway? In Philippians chapter 3, Paul hints at an answer, saying, “but our citizenship is in heaven and we eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” But why are we eagerly waiting? And why do we need a savior at all? To expand, Kim delves into an explanation of three “chapters” of human history: our initial brokenness, our need for a savior, and the redemption provided by Jesus Christ.
In the very beginning, Adam and Eve, created to be stewards of God’s good creation, lived in a paradise free of death, shame and unhappiness. God “walked” and “talked” with Adam and Eve in this perfect garden, but he gave them a single command: do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When Adam and Eve disobey this command, Kim explains, there is a massive reversal: Adam and Eve take on the role of God and brokenness enters the world. This, the pastor says, is the first chapter in this gospel narrative. Adam and Eve, rather than walking in harmony with God, now hide from him in shame because of their rebellion. Their relationships with God, with each other and with creation have been broken by sin. For this reason, all of creation is “groaning”—it is broken and is in desperate need of healing.
The next chapter of the story is that story of hope and healing that comes when God answers the groaning of creation. According to the book of John, the same “Word” that created the world in Genesis 1, “became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Sin and brokenness came into the world when humankind adopted God’s unique role. To save the world from its brokenness, then, God took on the role of man and came to live on earth. Jesus’ miracles reflect his role as savior of mankind and healer of brokenness. As Kim explains, his miracles are “the only natural things in a world that is unnatural, demonized and wounded.” This is because Jesus’ miraculous acts provide sight to the blind, health to the sick, and food to the hungry. In other words, they restore creation to its intended unbroken state.
The final chapter in the gospel story, Kim says, describes the redemption provided by Christ. In Genesis, sin came into the world when Adam and Eve “took” and “ate” of the forbidden fruit. To redeem the world of its sin, Jesus broke the bread, his body, and commanded that his disciples “take” and “eat” for the forgiveness of their sins. While Adam and Eve disobeyed God, Jesus accepted his Father’s command to die on the Christ. Through this death, crucifixion on a cross, He took our shame, alienation and brokenness on himself; through the resurrection, He defeated sin. Kim explains, “Sin came when man took the place of God…but sin was defeated when God took the place of man.”