Can you imagine what life would be like if you were at rest in a total paradise? What if all the food you would need was readily there, and all your surroundings served as a lush and secure dwelling for you to fully live in? What would your life be like if time was either inconsequential, or it served you instead? I have a feeling that we’d be free to engage in some pretty monumental things!
Things like being fruitful and multiplying.
If you remember back to the beginning of the story, you’ll remember that the Lord designed humanity (male and female) to exist in a paradise in which everything was provided for them. The first family was simply given the task of relating to one another. This would lead to multiplication as the Lord wanted. Human beings are image bearers. His chosen image bearers. As you may know, He desires that the earth would be filled with His beautiful image.
If you’ll recall the story, you’ll remember that humanity (male & female) stumbled along the way. They chose knowledge over life. As a result, they were removed from that lush place where all they had to worry about was eating, intimately relating, and multiplying. They now had a much harder life.
Now, let’s fast forward to Jesus’ day. He had good news to bring of another kingdom. Some of the things that He had to say about life in this kingdom sounded familiar. Things like “Don’t worry about what you’ll eat, or what you’ll wear, all of those things will be provided for you”. Really? That sounds like that garden paradise I read about. Didn’t humanity (male & female) get kicked out of that place?
The good news is this. Jesus said all of that was really written about Him. The rich paradise where all humanity (male & female) had to worry about was intimately relating and multiplying was a picture of life in Him. Everything in the natural realm is a shadow of a greater reality in the spiritual realm. Just as the paradise garden was a picture of Christ, the first human family was also a picture of Christ’s body (church). Natural human family is simply a shadow of the ultimate spiritual family.
In Christ, we can now get our old job back of being fruitful and multiplying.
When Jesus showed up on the scene, He demonstrated this beautifully. He lived by life, not knowledge. He lived by His Father’s uncreated, indwelling life. Because of this, He was fruitful. By fruit, I mean things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc… Just like natural fruit contains seeds, so too does the fruit of the Spirit. As you know, seeds lead to reproduction. When seeds are shared in the proper soil, reproduction happens naturally. Humanity (male & female) in the garden was created to be a shadow of this greater reality.
In the NEW kingdom, the proper soil for seeds to be shared and reproduction to occur is relationship. We were created to know and be known. Just like in the natural, this requires relating to one another (knowing) intimately. Jesus demonstrated this with His life. He had relationships, deep relationships, with many kinds of people. Some of those people were socially acceptable to relate to, and many others were not. He related to them nonetheless. Thankfully, He lived to the beat of a different drummer than old humanity lived by.
Because Jesus valued intimately knowing people (male & female), He spent time with them simply relating. This was His priority. This was His work, so to speak. Sounds like the original job given to humanity (male & female) doesn’t it? It looked irresponsible to those who lived by the old kingdom, however. As you know, they criticized Him for living this way. Jesus let us in on some of the accusations made against Him. This is what He said:
“The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ “Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her CHILDREN”. (Luke 7:34-35, NASB, emphasis mine)
I LOVE the fact that He used the word children to point to what would eventually vindicate His new kingdom as superior to the old. Intimacy and knowing lead to children (multiplication) not barrenness. The religious mindset focused on duty and performance is one that leads to barrenness, not multiplication. By multiplication, I am not talking about how many people show up once a week for our meetings and organized gatherings, I am talking about a family that lives in this NEW kingdom through divine relationships. For true reproduction to happen, love and intimacy must be the fabric of those heavenly relationships.
The house and city of God is birthed from the fruitful womb of a glorious woman. Children are the evidence of intimacy. Any attempt to build the house in another way will lead to emptiness and will not last. I’d like to leave you with the words of a song written by Solomon many years ago. They ring true still today:
“Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate”. -Solomon (Psalm 127)
For His vindication,