Thorny Vines and Christ Divine

And to Adam he said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.’
— Genesis 3:17-19
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
— 1 Peter 1:3
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
— Philippians 3:20,20

One of the beautiful things about God’s Word is the connectivity and compatibility it has with itself. In other words, though the Bible is comprised of 66 books, it forms one whole and continuous story of God’s redemptive plan for his people. Likewise, this continuous story from start to finish has no contradiction because God is the one breathing it out to us (2 Timothy 3:16), and our God does not change (James 1:17). Because of this, certain Bible texts illuminate one another in wonderful and beautiful ways. Here are three parts of the Bible that have been floating in my head for the past week (they are printed above). I pray you will see an example of beautiful connection.

First came Genesis 3 and the fall of humanity due to Adam’s sin. I can’t get these verses out of my head. The reason why is simple: I have been pulling down thousands of feet of thorny vines in my backyard recently—literally thousands of feet. There are certain corruptions of the earth that reveal things are not as they should be. Thousands of feet of thorny vines in my backyard is one. How am I even going to get them to the road? My current protocol is to yank and pull until the thorny vines surround me rather than the tree. At this point I do my best giant impression as I stomp and stamp around, which smooshes them to the ground. Thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you…

The second Bible verse stuck in my head was from the Sunday School lesson from this last week, which I had the privilege of teaching. The topic was hope, and hope is an eager waiting for the fulfillment of things to be made right. But even as I confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, those thorns still remain (thousands more feet and still growing). This was followed closely by that text I was preaching from, which had to do with Jesus getting us home to heaven by his own power—actually making things right.

Here’s the point. No matter how many thousands of feet of thorny vines I cut, pull, and stomp, this world remains corrupted. That doesn’t mean I should stop seeking to be diligent in my work in this life. It does mean I need to remember my hope is a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And it is from there—from that reality—that I will await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come again. Whatever your thorns and thistles, be they metaphorical, literal, internal, external, or all of the above, may God bless you with his connected and comforting Word that reveals our Lord and Savior, Jesus.

Hopefully waiting,