Sunday, December 2, 2007

What about Cain? or Cain Redeemed.

Jesus is the New Adam because by this one man's obedience all are redeemed (Rom. 5:17). By His sacrifice on the Cross, Jesus is the New Abel offering to God the first fruits of all creation, Himself. Mary is seen as the New Eve because in her fiat she said yes to God through the angel Gabriel, while Eve said no to God and yes to the ancient serpent, Satan.

What about Cain? Who is a type of Cain in the New Testament? Our minds may immediately jump to Judas. Judas was the holder of the purse and the Gospel of John tells us that he was stealing from it (Jn. 12:6). He gave up Christ for thirty pieces of silver. Cain killed Abel out of jealousy because God was not pleased with Cain's sacrifice. Judas was not pleased with Christ's sacrifice of giving up worldly power and proclaiming a Kingdom that was "not of this world." Cain was filled with self pity but had no remorse for his actions. Judas was filled with despair over what he had done and committed suicide apparently without seeking forgiveness from God. But is that where it ends? Is there no redemption for Cain planned for from the foundations of the world (Eph. 1:4)?

Looking more closely we might see the chief Apostle Peter and his denial of Christ as being similar to Cain's denial of any knowledge of his brother's whereabouts. Cain asked God "Am I my brother's keeper (Gen 4:9)?
God told Cain, "And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand" (Gen. 4:11). Peter "began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, 'I do not know the Man' (Mt 26:75). The cock crowed convicting Peter of his treachery and he went out and wept bitterly. Both are accursed by what they have done, but Peter did not despair and deny Christ again by believing his sins could not be forgiven. The Gospel of John tells that Christ asked Peter three times if he loved Jesus more than the other apostles. Three times Peter confessed his love for the Lord, and three times Jesus responded to him "feed my lambs" or "feed my sheep(Jn 21:15-17)". Here is Cain redeemed.

Where else is Cain Redeemed in the New Testament? There are several other examples. I will only look at two others.

The pharisee Saul was killing followers of the Way. He was the instigator in Stephen's martyrdom and was feared by the Christians. We know the story of how Saul of Tarsus was on his way to Damascus and how he was struck down blind. He heard the voice of Jesus say, "Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?" He was given his sight back and a new name Paul. With his new name he had a new mission, Apostle to the Gentiles. His writings give us the majority of the text of the New Testament. Saul was Cain to Stephen's Abel. He confessed Christ crucified all the way to the court of the emperor of Rome where he received his crown of martyrdom. Cain is redeemed.

Finally, there is one other who ran away. Perhaps the same young man who ran away naked in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mk. 14:51). The disciple whom Jesus loved even ran away from him. Somewhere Cain was found by Eve and brought to the ground where the blood of Abel cried out to God for justice. Somewhere John the Evangelist was found by Mary the Mother of the Redeemer and brought to the foot of the Cross to seek his redemption. The blood of Jesus gave the earth a once for all response to the unholy taste for blood it received from Abel's murder (Gen. 4:10-11). The blood of Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant which "speaks more eloquently than that of Abel", now redeems all of creation (Heb 12:24).

From the mercy seat of the cross, God Incarnate says to His Mother, "Woman, behold your son", and to John he says, "Behold your Mother" (Jn. 19:26-27). Eve is given back her first born son Cain. The first child to be conceived in sin is now , in type, redeemed. Our abortion from Eden is now undone in Mary's adoption of John as her own son. John is the New Cain who represents all of us as the Church with Mary as our spiritual mother in the order of grace. Through His Cross and Resurrection and by the power of the Holy Spirit we become God's children. From the throne of grace, the King of kings addresses God as His Father and commands us to take Mary as our mother. Let us follow his example and command.