City of Tiberius, Galilee
“Before we start, Centurion… Ah, may I call you by your name?”
“Please… by all means.”
“Thank you, Cornelius. Please call me John. Now, let me clarify that it is true that Israel awaits the coming of a savior who will lead them to freedom. I will even say so boldly that they wait for the Messiah to push you Romans out of Israel forever.” When he saw the concern on Cornelius’ face, he chuckled a little and said, “Be not too alarmed, Cornelius. When the Messiah comes, I believe the salvation he brings will not be limited for my people alone but for all man… for you, Cornelius.”
Cornelius blinked and sat up straight. At first, deep inside, he resented the notion. How is it the he needed to be saved? Saved from what? But before he could ask, John the Baptist asked his question first.
“You are seeking meaning in your life, are you not?” Then he continued saying, “You are a soldier who have seen much death and suffering. You yourself have killed. You desire answers especially on the question on why you need salvation by our Messiah.”
“When one seeks meaning… answers, then that one must go back to the very beginning for perspective.”
“I think you know.”
How would he know? He thought to himself. Then an old childhood tale of a garden, a tree, a man, a woman and a serpent that can talk came to mind. A story he thought was made for children.
“Creation story of Adam and Eve?”
The Baptist nodded then said, “Think about it. What did they have?”
The creation story is the beginning of Moses’ five books of the Torah. It tells in prose how God created the world by voicing into the darkness and just said ‘Let there be light’ and there was light. That was the first day! In the course of five more days, God called into being the sky, land, vegetation, and every kind of living creatures including mankind. Then the story focused on how God fashioned the first man and named him Adam. From the way the story goes, Cornelius imagined God carefully and lovingly mold Adam from the dust of the earth then breathed life into his lungs. Then God placed Adam in a protective environment, the Garden of Eden, where even the natural law of survival was suspended. God provided everything for man; purpose, companionship, joy and life eternal.
“In the beginning, everything was perfect for man,” Cornelius answered.
“Because in the start, mankind had a very close relationship with God, their Creator… like family. But they lost it!”
“God gave them one commandment, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat…’ But the Serpent enticed Eve to eat the fruit, then she gave it to Adam who knowingly ate the same. Then something in them changed. I never understood what really happened.” [Genesis 2:16-17 NASB]
After Adam ate of the forbidden fruit, their eyes were open. In other words, they became acutely aware of their nakedness and experienced shame for the first time. They covered their nakedness with fig leaves. Then when they heard the sound of God walking in the Garden, they both hid.
“There is a word… SIN. Do you know what it means?”
Cornelius frowned. It is a word strewn through out every book in the Scriptures. But for some reason, he never delved into it closely.
“By the look of your frown, you are not too sure of its actual meaning nor its significance.”
“My understanding is that sin is when you do wrong in God’s sight.”
“Yes but there is more. Isaiah wrote, ‘But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.’ ” [Isaiah 59:2 NASB]
“So, when they ate the fruit, they sinned and was separated from God. How does their sin entail for mankind?… at that matter, for me?”
Again, Cornelius saw the glint in the Baptist’s eyes. “Cornelius, if my own people would ask such questions as yours, well… never mind. The answer is what happened next in the story.”
The story continues on in my next post a week from now.
If you are interested in reading the entire ebook, you can find my ebook in Amazon.com for only $1.99. Just click the link below.