Long ago, before dinosaurs roamed the earth, and before there was a star in the sky, a great king issued a decree that shook the realms of darkness.
The king spoke and the universe exploded into existence. He said, “Let there be light,” and the darkness ran from him. By the power of his words he created high mountains and deep valleys. With endless imagination and attention to detail, the king filled the land, waters, and sky with living creatures of every shape, color, and size.
Then, as evil eyes watched from a distance, the king reached down, picked up a handful of loose soil, and breathed into it his own likeness. From the dust the king made a man to share his happiness. Motioning to the surrounding paradise the great One said, “All of this I am entrusting to you. Care for it, and you will see how much I have cared for you.”
For a while the new caretaker was too absorbed in his work to recognize the emptiness within. The king, however, knew that it was not good for the man to be alone. So he put his likeness to sleep, and from a rib that protected the man’s heart, gave the man a helper and friend he called woman.
One of the gifts the king entrusted to the couple was the freedom of choice. In the center of their garden home the king had planted two trees. One he called the “tree of life” and the other, “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Pointing to the second tree, the king said, “Eat freely from everything except this one. Don’t eat from this tree or you will die.”
The caretakers took the king’s counsel and shared his happiness. Life was good for them. Planet earth was at peace.
Hiding in the shadows, a rebel watched the caretakers and envied their happiness. In another time and place, he too had known the king’s favor.
Disguised as a friend, the rebel engaged the woman in conversation. He asked her about the rules of the garden. Suggesting that he knew a side of the king the couple hadn’t seen, he raised questions they had never thought about. What was the king withholding? What didn’t he want them to know?
Curiosity got the best of them. Tasting the forbidden fruit was like taking a mind-altering drug. With a rush of lost innocence, the caretakers suddenly felt afraid and vulnerable. Grabbing leaves to cover themselves, they ran to hide from the king.
When the king found the couple, they admitted what they had done, but tried to make excuses for themselves.
Even though the king showed his willingness to forgive, life would never be the same. Unfriendly thoughts and inclinations began to show up everywhere, even in their children. In a fit of jealousy their first son killed his younger brother. Seeds of rebellion continued to grow until the whole earth was filled with conflict and violence.
Saddened by a world spinning out of control, the king sent a killer storm that wiped out everyone except for the small family of one man who was true to the king.
A new beginning seemed full of promise. But a disrespectful son and drunken father showed once again that human nature had not changed. The enemy was within. Seeds of self-rule continued to fill the earth with trouble and pain.
The king intervened again. This time he appeared to an old childless couple and told them he was going to give them a son in their old age. He promised that through their family he would offer peace and happiness to the whole world.
The seasons changed. Generations passed. Yet even though the king gave the old couple their miracle family most things remained the same. Caretakers continued to seek self-rule and happiness at one another’s expense. They took for granted all that had been entrusted to them. Yet the king kept promising his chosen people that through them the world would be blessed with a son who would be called, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
The promise, however, usually fell on deaf ears. Even though the king gave his “chosen people” a homeland at the crossroads of the world, and even though he introduced them to their neighbors as a miracle family, they tested his patience until he stopped talking to them.
After 400 long years the silence was broken by the cry of a baby. A young unmarried woman conceived a child whose name meant “Savior.” Local shepherds and wise men from the East took turns worshiping the child whose birth was announced by angels in the night and a star in the sky.
Thirty years later this son of promise turned water to wine at a wedding party and then traveled from town to town doing good and giving hope to the poorest and most troubled of people. Crowds of excited people followed him until religious leaders became envious of his influence. Instead of using his power to overthrow his enemies, the teacher said he had not come to condemn, but to be the servant of all.
In a stunning turn of events, family leaders spread false rumors about the teacher. They accused him of trying to overthrow the government and called for his death. On a holiday that celebrated their national freedom, an angry mob unknowingly subjected the son they had been waiting for to a public execution.
For 3 days the teacher’s friends were afraid and confused. Then a group of women found his grave empty, and for the next 40 days the Lord of life let hundreds of his followers see that he had overcome the power of death in their behalf.
Now, the whole story can be told. To share his happiness the great king became the Servant of servants. After giving us life to share his joy, he was born into our world to bear our pain.
He left with a promise to return. His story must be told. Time is running out for all who side with the forces of darkness. Everlasting happiness is waiting for all who will welcome into their hearts the Servant of servants, the Lord of lords, and the King of kings.
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20).