The ways that scripture connects itself to itself is absolutely amazing! People criticize the Bible and often make the remark that its contents are simply the writings of men with a hidden agenda. When one examines the writings of the Bible, understanding the variety of authors that were not professional writers, that wrote in three different languages over a time span of a couple thousand years, it becomes difficult to accept the Bible as anything but the Word of God! For example, in Genesis 3:17-19 the Bible documents God's judgment upon Adam for his sin in the Garden of Eden. The Lord reminded Adam before He announced judgment that it was because Adam blatantly disobeyed the command of God that his punishment is so severe. Genesis 3:17-19 explains that God cursed the ground because of the sin of Adam. This is important to understand. While there are many beautiful things that spring forth from the earth all over the world, one must consider the reality that all of it is curse. The wages of sin is death. Therefore, because Adam sinned, death was introduced into the world, and with death came disease, decay and other forms of corruption. Though there might be many beautiful things in the world that come out of the ground, the curse of sin can still be seen in that every season (and sometimes before) things die.
It is important to recognize the condition of the world before sin and after sin. This is difficult to do since no one knows what life was like without the ground being cursed. However, if one examines the testimony of God's new creation in the Book of Revelation, one can speculate on what life might have been like before the fall in the Garden. The Book of Revelation testifies that there are trees that grow multiple types of fruit (on the same tree) all year around. Since it is understood that God's new creation will not be affected by the curse of Genesis 3:17-19, one might assume that the ground was able to produce fruit in the same manner before Adam brought sin and death into the world. The Bible reveals that before the flood, mankind was vegetarian. Thus, there was a need for eatable vegetation at all times of the year. Since there are varying seasons now so that certain foods only grow at certain times, it has been difficult to supply food in various parts of the world, especially considering the population growth and consumption rates of other countries.
The curse of the ground has had a dramatic affect on life. Since sin was the cause of "the curse," it is important to recognize the type of destruction that sin causes. As a result of the curse of the ground, God stated that mankind would experience painful labor in order to survive. Since the ground was cursed, the means of farming and harvesting food would come by difficult manual and frustrating labor. The ground would not flourish on its own in God's purity. Instead, sin infected the world's soil so that mankind is no longer able to enjoy god's creation as He intended. Instead, humanity is force to labor and grind just to survive. Genesis 3:17-19 explains that the results of mankind's labor would be thorns and thistles. This is a key statement that all need to understand. The English dictionary defines a "thorn" as a sharp and pointed "modification." A modification is a change to an end result. In other words, God intended for life to be awesome, but sin caused a "modification." Sin caused a change to the end result. God desired life. Sin caused death. Thorns and thistles are a physical reminder of this reality. Therefore, it must be understood that thorns and thistles were not a part of God's creation. Thorns and thistles are the affects of human disobedience. Coincidentally, thorns and thistles are dangerous and useless. Thorns choke out fruitful vegetation, puncture and cut. Genesis 3:17-19 explains that though mankind would work really hard and eat by the sweat of our brows, the best mankind would ever be able to produce is "thorns and thistles" because of sin.
It is at this point in scripture where mankind is completely disqualified from working one's own way into heaven. It is impossible. Genesis 3:17-19 explains that the best mankind can offer in terms of his labor is thorns and thistles, which represent a modification to God's original perfect and pure plan. Therefore, mankind is unable to meet the expectations of God in order to dwell with God. Hence, Genesis 3:17-19 is also the point in scripture that identifies the need of a Savior! The Bible is clear to identify who that Savior is. Though Adam brought sin into the world, and caused death to infect the entire planet, God had a plan and provided a physical picture of that plan in Genesis 3:17-19. It is not by coincidence that God choose "thorns" to represent the affects of human sin.
The Gospel accounts identify that when Jesus was beaten, He was also mocked, which was traditional for crucifixion victims. However, it was not usual for crucifixion victims to be mocked in the manner that Jesus was. The Gospel accounts all testify that a crown of thorns was placed upon Jesus' head and then He was presented to the people before He was sent to be crucified. This is an odd form of humiliation if one does not make the beautiful connection of God's work that the Bible explains. When Jesus began His ministry, John the Baptist proclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!" In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus offered rest for those who labor in sin (which is everyone). Jesus said, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heaven laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Jesus was referencing the curse of sin. Jesus' purpose was to lift the burden of sin by taking the curse of sin upon Himself. Genesis 3:17-19 explained that the spiritual affects of sin were pictured in the physical presence of thorns. Jesus was the Lamb of God who would remove sin from the world. Jesus offered the opportunity to receive rest from the burden of sin in one's soul. Then, before Jesus was crucified, He was presented, as the righteous and sinless Son of Man, bearing thorns on His head. The picture of Jesus wearing the thorns is the physical picture of the spiritual work that Jesus was doing. Jesus truly bore the affects of sin on His own head thereby making it possible for sinners to have an easier and lighter burden in life. People can't make this stuff up!
The truth of the matter is that, if all are willing to be honest with themselves, the affects of sin in terms of burden, labor, and frustrating and destructive outcomes is very real. Since God is righteous and just, He had to judge sin in this way. However, God did not intended for mankind to live this way. God acknowledged that mankind was unable to provide benefit and success for himself and so did the work for us. Knowing that all of the affects of human effort are cursed, God took the curse upon Himself in the form of Jesus so that as He was presented with the crown of thorns upon His head, He showed the world that He was willing to take on the punishment and curse that we deserve. The wages of sin is death. When human beings die, the curse of Genesis 3:17-19 becomes very real as the human body indeed returns to the ground and becomes dust once again. Nevertheless, God offered a solution to this very tragic problem mankind caused. The solution is by Him, of Him, yet for us. Jesus made the offer to go to Him in order to have the burden of sin and death relieved.
There is peace that comes with faith in Jesus as the Messiah Savior of the world. This peace is made possible as God shows that He is able to overcome the faults of all human beings and still see His will done! Life doesn't have to remain as "the curse." Jesus Christ is the only way to overcome this curse. The scriptures reveal that He continually calls out to us since He desires to share the benefits of His work by providing rest for our souls. Praise God!