Reformation Lutheran Church A Congregation of the ELCA

Friday, March 3

Evil Lurking; Love Prevailing

After each step of creation “God saw that it was good.“ So how did the snake become part of the garden scene? Where did that snake come from? Does evil serve a purpose? Does evil exist to test our faith? Can good come from evil?

Evil was first mentioned in the story of Adam and Eve. By allowing a choice of eating or not eating fruit from the forbidden tree, God gave free will to Adam and Eve. Their disobedience was the first sin and resulted in their eviction from the garden‘s easy life. Did their disobedience introduce evil into God’s creation? What about the snake? Had it always been lurking in the garden, waiting for just the right moment to strike?

Joseph’s jealous brothers sold him into slavery. After many trials in Egypt’s school of hard knocks, Joseph became Pharaoh‘s second-in-command. Years later, during a catastrophic famine, Joseph’s desperate brothers traveled to Egypt to buy grain. Joseph, the brother they had sold into slavery, now had the power to bestow or deny their request. Joseph forgave his brothers, saved his people from starvation, and relocated them to Egypt. “You intended evil but God intended good,” Joseph told his brothers. Joseph’s mercy was a landmark victory over evil. But was evil necessary for those good results to take place?

Centuries later, Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him three times. Peter insisted that he would never deny Jesus, but he did -- three times, just as Jesus had predicted. Why was Peter so afraid? Was Satan whispering in his ear? After the crucifixion, Jesus appeared to his disciples and asked Peter three times, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” This painful reminder of his three denials strengthened Peter’s resolve to become a fearless leader of the early church during Rome’s cruel and dangerous rule. Out of Peter’s weakness came strength. Was evil necessary to teach Peter the lesson of courage?

Then the crucifixion. Did God have a bet with Satan, as he did concerning the suffering Job? Did Satan believe the suffering would be so overwhelming that Jesus would back out of the Promise? Jesus did ask God if this cup could be taken from him but, despite suffering, pain and death, Jesus remained obedient to God’s will. Others intended evil, but Jesus brought love. Satan lost the bet.

Marsha Sears

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