Sunday, January 24, 2010
(From my book "The Song of Creation & Other Contemplations)
Men sweat but apparently women only perspire! Was this the case for Adam and Eve in the Garden? It was after their rebellion that the LORD God said to Adam “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground....” Genesis 3:19. Sweat reminds us of God’s curse.
Their work in paradise abruptly ended, Adam and Eve made fig-leaf garments to cover their nakedness. But before their expulsion, “the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them” Genesis 3:21. The fig leaves were to be left behind. They now were clad in garments that would cause any man or woman to sweat or perspire respectively!
The word sweat is mentioned only three times in the Bible. The first is as we have already seen. The second is in relation to Old Testament priests when offering up to God the fat and blood of animals. “They shall have linen turbans on their heads and linen trousers on their bodies; they shall not clothe themselves with anything that causes sweat” Ezekiel 44:18. Upon finishing their work they were to take off and “leave their garments in which they have ministered…in the holy chambers, and put on other garments” Ezekiel 44:19. The “priestly” garments were linen; garments that caused no sweat.
The third has to do with Jesus. Having just finished His Last Supper the “Last Adam” entered a garden to prepare Himself for entering the holy chambers. Jesus was not about to offer up to God the fat and blood of animals. The “Great High Priest” was about to offer up His own blood. “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground” Luke 22:44. He needed something to wipe the sweat from His face. He needed those linen garments that cause no sweat so that He could take His own blood behind the veil. So, as naked as Adam, He was nailed to a tree. “And they divided His garments” Luke 23:34.
Jesus’ work on earth being finished Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and asked for His body. “Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb hewn out of rock…” Luke 23:53. Hearing that Jesus had risen from the dead “…Simon Peter… went into the tomb; and he saw the linen clothes lying there, and the handkerchief (literally ‘sweat cloth’) that had been round His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself” John 20:6&7. Like a priest having finished ministering in the holies Jesus left His “priestly” no-sweat garments behind.
He lived and died by the sweat of His face to wipe away God’s curse from the faces of all who trust in Him and His righteous work. Therefore trust in Him and not in your own sweat! For no sweat or perspiration is allowed to enter heaven. For there all His saints are “arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright” Revelation 19:8.