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Communion Meditations (2013)

The Last Adam

Originally scheduled for January 6

Aerospace veterans, among many others, will recognize the word prototype. It comes from a pair of Greek words which, if translated literally, mean “first impression.” A prototype typically has three main functions:

·         First, you have to prove the thing will work. It’s not just a picture of what you want; it’s a working example of it. It may, however, leave out some of the details.

·         Next, it serves as a model for what is to come. You can go back and look at the prototype and see how you did it the first time.

·         Perhaps its primary use is as a source of lessons learned. Often enough the prototype will tell you what you didn’t want to do.

Adam — you remember him, the fellow in Genesis chapter 3 — is the prototype human being. He is the original working model of the combination that makes human beings what they are: a hybrid of flesh and spirit. We have animals in wide variety, but only one animal has a spirit: man. Adam was the prototype of that. As such, he serves as a source of “lessons learned.” There are two which we might point out:

·         The first is that man is, by his very nature, a sinner. It doesn’t get much simpler than this. You place man, created by a perfect God to be the perfect example in a perfect garden. You give him one possible thing to do wrong, which earned him the death penalty. What does he go and do? Right, he does that one possible thing to do wrong. Man, by nature, is a sinner.

·         The second lesson is even greater. It is that God, by his nature, loves man to the point of redemption. The very first prophecy of the Christ is found in the story of the Garden of Eden.

As Paul points out in First Corinthians, Christ may be referred to as “the last Adam.” He too is, in a sense, a prototype — of what men will be following the resurrection. If Adam is the prototype of Man 1.0 then Christ is the prototype of Man 2.0. In Christ, after the crucifixion, we see the resurrection body. It’s not clear to us yet what this body is really like, but it is clear that it’s one we want.

This did not happen by chance. The new man comes about by death and burial and then the resurrection, just as Christ was raised from the dead. In communion we remember the price that was paid so that Christ might be the last Adam. That price was his death on the cross. As you take the bread and cup, remember that they represent his body and blood. That was the price paid. The result ultimately will be the resurrection in which you and I will become like him. We look forward to that result with joy; we look back to his suffering, and remember.

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