Read: Romans 5:12-21

Many people came to John the Baptist to listen to his message of repentance. He had a powerful proclamation that attracted people and inspired action. In the Gospel of Mark, there is a profound moment as John declares, “After me comes the one greater than I…I baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus came to a world utterly devastated by sin where “death reigned.” Living during a pandemic may strike us as we read Romans 5 that sin is like a virus. All it took was God’s original creation, Adam, to be infected by this virus for it to be passed on to every other human, bringing rampant death. The contagion of sin was unstoppable; until there was a cure. The purpose of a remedy is to stop a disease in its tracks. It must be greater than the origin of the disease. Just as John proclaimed, one greater than Adam needed to come. We needed a gift greater than the trespass, obedience greater than the disobedience, so that we might experience that grace is greater than law, justification is greater than judgment, righteousness is greater than sin, and life is greater than death. Jesus is greater than Adam.

It is easy for us to get bogged down by the things of Adam, to despair at the judgment, sin, and death around us. However, there is one more “greater than” statement we need to understand. Jesus is greater than a cure. While a cure might stop a disease in its tracks, it can’t undo the harm and pain already wrought by that disease. A cure resists, but Jesus restores. Jesus has brought eternal life. He will make all things new.

“There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

Reflection:

  1. What do we learn about God’s heart and hope for humanity by examining both the creation and fall of Adam and the giving and resurrection of Jesus?
  2. In what areas of pain or struggle in your life do you need Jesus to be greater?

Jesus, we so often try to wash away our pain, suffering, and sorrow with water, with the material things of this world, but what we need is your Holy Spirit. You have already proven that you are greater than sin and death, and we pray that we would have the faith and humility to surrender to your grace and witness the redemption only you can bring. Amen.