A couple of months ago while on “vacation,” I introduced Damon to one of the greatest TV shows of all time. You may remember in past blogs I’ve talked about my step-son’s visit to the hospital with a ruptured appendix. As anyone who has ever spent much time in a hospital can attest, most hospitals do not get the premium cable package. Personally, I think when you consider how much you pay during a hospital say, they should go ahead and pop for the premium package, but that’s another subject.
One afternoon I was flipping channels and came upon the classic “I Dream of Jeannie.” These were classic, first season, black and white episodes. The first episode opened with Nelson and Healey in their military uniforms walking the halls of NASA and discussing the next space experiment. Damon was hooked. (Anything involving the military in any way gets his attention.) Next, Jeannie appeared and complicated the situation and the episode unfolded. We watched the show every afternoon until he finally got to come home.
That brings us to this past Saturday. Our local college team has decided that actually playing is over-rated and so I was flipping channels trying to find something to watch. I came across the show, this time it was one of the episodes from the final season. This one was in color. Damon came walking through the house and saw the TV. “Does Jeannie always wear a pink outfit?” he asked.
“I had just pictured it as purple.” He said then he went outside to play with his friends. I got to thinking about what he said. When things are only black and white, we begin to imagine what the colors could be. Our own preferences define the color pallet.
God started out in black and white. He laid out his laws very simple and plain. Eat this. Do not eat this. Each and every one of his commandments have been that simple. The problem is we are sinners. We don’t like dealing in absolutes. So for centuries, we have been trying to add Technicolor to God’s commandments. Look at the original sin:
In Genesis 2:16-17 God set out a very simple and straight-forward command: And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.” Very to the point wouldn’t you say? Eat from this specific tree and you will die.
But looks what happens when Eve and the Serpent get some crayons and try to tinker with God’s command.
Gen 3: 1-6: Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, ‘You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.’ “
“No! You will not die,” the serpent said to the woman. “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate [it]; she also gave [some] to her husband, [who was] with her, and he ate [it].
Do you see how the Serpent began to manipulate God’s word to serve his own purpose? Do you see how he even went so far as to get Eve in on the “color commentary”? Even Adam had a roll in this. God had spoken directly to him about the tree and the fruit, but while Eve and the Serpent debated theology, he stood there silent. Did he interrupt the conversation and set them straight on what God really had told him? No. He just stood there and let them paint their picture of what God’s commands “really” meant.
Throughout time, this tradition of interpreting God’s word has continued. God spoke his commands and then “spiritual pundits” would take to the streets proclaiming what God really meant.
Finally after years of waiting, God trumped them all and introduced Hi-Def 3D. He sent his Son to be a mediator for us. Through Jesus, we now have a clear understanding of God’s intentions. Through Jesus we no longer have to rely on those “color commentators” to decide if we are living right and wrong. One of my favorite images in the bible is found in Matthew 27: 50 and 51.
Jesus shouted again with a loud voice and gave up His spirit. Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary was split in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked and the rocks were split.
The curtain talked about here is the symbolic barrier that separated God from the people. The high priests were the only persons allowed to go behind the curtain. Anyone else was considered “unworthy” of being in direct contact with God.
However, the moment that Jesus died for our sins, that way of thinking became obsolete. The curtain was ripped in two, just like our separation from God. Jesus removed the barrier that sin had built between us. He renewed the relationship that God had intended in the Garden of Eden.
That’s what makes Christianity so great. While so many religions are based on what some dead “prophet” interpreted as “the way.” Christianity is based on “The Way” (John 14:6) reaching down, and becoming personally involved with us.
Now the task before us is to share Christ. We can’t be like Eve and let flashy talk confuse us, and we cannot be like Adam, standing silent and allowing ourselves to be lead into sin. We are to use that personal relationship with God, to get to know God; so that we are not lead into confusion and tricked into following someone else’s version of religion.