The First Failure, The Second Triumph

The first man, Adam failed, but the Second was triumphant over death. What made Jesus, the Christ, victorious and did He really have anything in common with Adam?

A contrasting look at Adam and Jesus shows our Saviour to be superior in nature and victorious in the flesh after confronting similar circumstances to Adam. These victories make Christ qualified to return as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Adam is referred to as the first man and Jesus Christ “the last [second] Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45). The similarities and differences between Adam and Christ (the second Adam) show why Christ is indeed worthy to the called The Saviour of Mankind!
The First Failure

Failure and Victory

Satan tempted both Adam and Christ. However, Christ succeeded where Adam failed. The book of Genesis reveals that God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They were truly in a paradise. They were surrounded with lush trees and vegetation where there was plenty of food and water. God made available to them every tree of the garden, but denied them to take from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Satan appeared to Eve and tempted her. As a result, Adam and his wife disobeyed God and ate from the forbidden tree.

In contrast, the second Adam, Christ, was also tempted by Satan, but remained obedient. Unlike the paradise setting of Adam, Jesus was led into the wilderness where there was nothing around. He had neither food nor water. Among the temptations He faced, like Adam, He was tempted with food. He was hungry from fasting, and Satan knew it was the opportune time to tempt Him. He was challenged to turn stones into bread. Where Adam succumbed to Satan, Jesus in a weakened, vulnerable state resisted and was victorious (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13).

Pride and Humility

Satan’s temptation no doubt appealed to the pride in Adam as a human being. This lack of humility was a contributing factor to the first Adam’s fall. Satan told Adam’s wife that by eating from the forbidden fruit their eyes would be opened and they would be like God knowing both good and evil (Genesis 3:4-5). The tree was then desirable to the woman because of the wisdom that could be acquired (Genesis 3:6).

The second Adam, on the other hand, already possessed all wisdom, but more importantly, was the perfect example of humility-an indication of His superior nature. Christ humbled Himself so much that He was obedient all the way until death (Philemon 2:8).

Death and Life

Both the actions of Christ and Adam impacted mankind. Sadly, by Adam’s sin, death entered the world and spread to all men. How can this be? Simply put, the actions of a father affect his wife and children. The decisions of a king or ruler affect everyone in the nation. Likewise, the actions and decisions of the first Adam, who physically fathered the human race, had a deathly result on all of mankind that followed (Romans 5:12-21).

The second Adam, Christ, created all things and thus is head over all Creation including the human race (Colossians 1:16). His actions, too, have affected humanity-but in a good way. By contrast, because of His perfect obedience, death, and resurrection, the grace of God is made available to all by way of Christ Jesus. Romans 5:19 says,

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”

Mankind can once again come into right standing with God, justified by the supreme sacrifice of His only begotten Son for the sins of the world. Where Adam’s sin-and consequently death spread to all humanity, Christ’s righteousness and consequent life can spread to everyone. 1 Corinthians 15: 21-22 puts it this way,

For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.”

The Second Triumph
Like Adam, Jesus was fully human, born of the seed of man, but God incarnate (Hebrews 2:16-18). Unlike the first Adam, Christ was perfect in obedience. He possessed perfect wisdom and humility. Adam was given dominion over the created world, whereas Christ was given dominion over all things. Where the first Adam failed to overcome Satan, the ruler of this world, Christ succeeded! He was triumphant over sin, the flesh, and the devil (John 16:33).

While the first Adam was made in the image of God, Christ “is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). While the first man was of the earth, made from dust, the second Man is the Lord from heaven (1 Corinthians 15:47). While the first Adam brought sin into the world, the second Adam took away sin from the world. While the first Adam brought sin and death, the last Adam brings eternal life!

Thus, this King of kings and Lord of lords, Christ, the Saviour of Mankind, is the better Adam, the Second Adam, and the Last Adam who will return at the end of the age. Indeed, the King is coming—the only one worthy to rule and redeem humanity.

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