Years ago when I became an Army chaplain I was asked to speak at a conference. The text of Scripture assigned to me was Luke 4:1-12. It is one of the places in the New Testament that records how Jesus, the last Adam, was led by the Spirit of God into the wilderness. Over the course of 40 days Jesus was tempted by Satan–to turn stones into bread, to usurp God’s authority and glory, and to test God by leaping from the pinnacle of the temple. Satan’s goal was to elicit failure from Jesus, the last Adam. Surely Jesus, God incarnate, would fail, just like the first Adam/man did in the Garden of Eden. But it was not to be Satan’s way or Satan’s day.
First, why is the Hebrew name Adam significant? It means “man.” Adam was the first man. He was the federal head of the human race. He was charged by God to steward creation (Gen 2:15), to obey the Creator (Gen 2:16), and to hold fast to his wife Eve (Gen 2:24). But of course, the first Adam failed (Gen 3:6). He and Eve sinned against God, the One to whom they owed everything. They had only one stipulation: obey the Lord. But they didn’t. They, like all of us, rebelled. Then they tried to hide their sin (Gen 3:8). They sewed fig leaves together to hide their nakedness (Gen 3:7). Human shame entered the cosmos.
When I opened my Bible and read the passage from Luke to my peers, many appeared to have some knowledge and understanding of the passage’s significance. But I don’t know if they connected it to the failures of the first Adam. The first Adam failed the obedience test. He failed to lead his bride perfectly. But through the chosen, promised offspring, God determined to show mercy to us rebels by raising up One who would obey perfectly. The sin bloodline would be broken via Mary being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. Jesus, the last Adam, would accomplish what the first Adam failed at.
Second, God promised to bring the One who would bruise/crush the serpent’s head (Gen 3:15). One would come who would lead His bride (the Christian church) perfectly by purifying them with His blood and clothing her in His garments.
This promised One, the last Adam, Christ Himself, denied satisfying Himself with Satan’s offer of stones become bread, and of men’s applause rather than God’s commendation, and of presuming upon God’s patience.
Christ, the last Adam, was tempted, but passed the temptations. Provided we repent and turn to God in the gospel of Christ, God does not abandon the human race in the last Adam. God satisfied His own demands for righteousness through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of the last Adam.
And for all those who are in the last Adam, they need not try to flee the presence of God by sewing fig leaves to cover their shame. Because the last Adam has taken their shame. He has become the curse for their sin (Gal 3:13). He bore the wrath they deserved. They are no longer exiles from the kingdom but sons and daughters of God.