I rejoiced with those who said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Psalm 122:1

Naked Truth: Adam Clothed in Promise; Jesus Stripped in Shame

Midweek Lent 4 – Pr. Anderson sermon
Genesis 3:7, 21; St. John 19:23-24 “Naked Truth: Adam clothed in promise; Jesus stripped in shame”
March 13, 2024 | Christ Lutheran Church

In Nomine Iesu
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Jesus, I will ponder now on Thy holy Passion; with Thy Spirit me endow for such meditation. Grant that I in love and faith may the image cherish of Thy suffering, pain, and death that I may not perish. Grant that I may willingly bear with Thee my crosses, learning humbleness of Thee, peace mid pain and losses. May I give Thee love for love! Hear me, O my Savior, that I may in heaven above sing Thy praise forever. Amen. (Evangelical Lutheran Hymnody #287 v. 1 & 6)

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. (Rom. 1:7, etc.)

What brand are you wearing? This was often the question that I heard while I was growing up and in high school. The brands that were big were The North Face and Under Armour. If you had a shoe brand, the talk was always about wearing Michael Jordan’s. In high school some kids were spending hundreds of dollars on one pair of Jeans. You were looked down upon if you were not wearing name brands. This is still the conversation happening among children today. Adam and Eve however, were not too worried about the brand that they were wearing. In fact, “the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25). As we imagine how weird that was, it’s weird because of the very quick events after creation. It falls into one word, shame. Adam and Eve had revealed to them the naked truth of sin. As sin brings shame, Jesus was stripped in shame for their salvation and yours.

It is different for us to look at the Genesis account because we have inherited sin from Adam and Eve. The shame that we wear is blinding. Adam and Eve had the brief beginning of not having our shame. They were perfect. They were created by a loving creator and they were placed in a beautiful garden. After the creation of Eve, God then created another beautiful thing, the blessed union of marriage. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:23-24). Man and woman were living together in perfect harmony. There was no fighting and it was just the two of them. This beautiful love and perfect marriage between the man and the woman was short lived. The juicy temptation which looked like it was worth having instantly exposed them to not just the world, but to each other.

“Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” The devil was right, their eyes were in fact opened. The knowledge that they had was now corrupted. Before, they could stand in front of each other with no care. Now when they glanced at each other, the pure thoughts were gone, and one of selfishness occurred. To get rid of those glances, they went to hide themselves. They weren’t looking for a name brand, they needed to be completely hidden. They hid what was private and ultimately tried to hide themselves from the LORD God walking in the garden. There is only one word that can describe what Adam and Eve were feeling in this instance and we feel that word hit us like a ton of bricks too. The awful word of “shame.”

Just saying that word, it rings in our ears in such a negative way and even worse, when we have these shameful thoughts, we feel that we deserve some kind of punishment. Our conscience will not let us off the hook. Whether it is sexual temptations that try to corrupt our thoughts, not wanting to listen to those who are in authority, or coveting something that does not belong to us, all of these sins are found in the selfishness that Adam and Eve had, even if we commit them in what feels like an unselfish manner. Adam and Eve thought they could be like God and now like gods we try to become. Unlike God, we fail in this regard and only expose ourselves. This exposure reveals our sins committed under the cover of darkness to the light. And when they are exposed, we are hit hard by shame and it is unrelenting and needed to point out our sins. Like Adam and Eve, we can try desperately to hide, but no matter how hard we try, even our own conscience won’t let us escape. All we can do is cry out like the psalmist, “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day” (Psalm 86:3). As we cry out in agony from the naked truth that exposes us, God clothed Adam in promise.

These clothes of promise can only be found in the offspring of the woman. For man to receive them, the offspring of the woman had to be stripped in shame. When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did these things. There hangs Adam and Eve’s shame. The horrific pain they experienced in the garden, having their nakedness exposed is hanging on the cross. Jesus is bare before the world, watching as His clothes are being distributed by Roman Soldiers. Soldiers who were just doing their job. Why should they care about the clothes of the beaten, bloodied, and naked criminal who is hanging above them?

This man is hanging there for the whole world to see and it is the world that stripped Him revealing the truth. The world’s naked shame deserves death. Yet the Son of Man who was perfect in every way was stripped naked to take on the world’s death. Jesus wasn’t given named brand clothes to wear. He takes on Adam and Eve’s humiliation. He knew this was coming. He prayed that it would be the Father’s will for the cup to be taken away. Yet, here is the Son of God, hanging on the cross, taking away our sins before the heavenly Father and wearing our shame.

The devil works very hard to get you to think about your sins. He wants you draped in shame so you think that there is no way out of your shame. He wants you to look at yourself and think that God just can’t hear you because the shame is so great. As the devil tries to get you to believe this lie, the Heavenly Father points you to the work of His Son. He wants you to see Him on the cross. It is on the cross that you see your shame where Jesus is wearing it so that you don’t have to. The psalmist writes, “For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you” (Psalm 86:5). As Jesus hangs with shame, it is from Him that flows the forgiveness of all your sins and the abounding steadfast love that engulfs you. Where you were selfish, Jesus was selfless, taking your place and taking your death. It is in this substitution that you can find rest and great comfort in your adoption by your Heavenly Father.

The Heavenly Father did not forget about Adam and Eve as they hid in their shame. “And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” Their descendants have not been neglected either. God continues to provide clothing for the world’s shame. Just as He clothed Adam and Eve in skin and the promise their offspring would come and crush the devils head, so He clothes you in the same promise. Jesus was clothed in shame so that you would be clothed with a white robe. While we are still of this world, it is not going to be easy. “For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:4). Your sins and shame are swallowed up in the death of Jesus Christ. It is through His death that the problems of this world will soon cease to exist, and you will have life forever with your Heavenly Father. You may not wear named brand clothes now, but in your physical death, you don’t have to fear the shame your sinful body has. Jesus clothes you in white from the blood shed from His nakedness revealing the naked truth. You are in His hand redeemed. Amen.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, forevermore. Amen.
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