Advent Devotional Day 1: THE STORY BEGINS (Genesis 3.15)
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise Him on the heel.” (Genesis 3.15)
The record of the incarnation does not begin with the announcement of a pregnancy to a young Galilean virgin. It doesn’t begin with droves of shepherds being terrified by the stunning, awful glory of myriads of angels in heaven announcing the birth of the Messiah. The beautiful thing about the incarnation of our Lord, is that the story begins much, much earlier. It begins in the misty ages of the dawn of time, and the characters in this story are one man, one woman, two trees and a transcendent, holy God. The story of the incarnation begins with the whole creation being plunged into the darkness of the curse because of Adam’s disobedience.
What is beautiful about this dark, awful, gloomy part of history is the flicker of light of God’s promise to rectify everything that had been broken in Adam’s rebellion. Against the black backdrop of Adam’s sin and the Serpent’s deception, the Lord turns to the Serpent before He even addresses Adam and Eve and utters the words above. This is a curse of utter destruction upon the serpent and victory on behalf of mankind whom the Serpent helped plunge into sin. So in this proclamation there is both condemnation and the immense light of God’s promise that floods the scene. Notice some of the various aspects of this curse/promise that God utters: conflict, offspring, wounding, and victory. Conflict, because the seed of the woman (the children of God’s promise) would continually be at odds with those who belong to Satan (the seed of the Serpent). This is a theme that runs consistently throughout both Testaments. This is one of the many reasons that Jesus calls the religious leaders a “brood of vipers,” and says that they “are of their father the devil.” Our Lord knows His Old Testament and is identifying them as the offspring of Satan that He had come to have victory over.
Offspring, because the woman would continue to bear children and populate the earth, and this bearing of children would finally one day produce the Ultimate Seed of the Woman. Notice how the verse above narrows in its application from the entirety of the “seed of the woman,” and “seed of the serpent” into one single Individual. The implication here is that the conflict between the people of God and those who are under the power of the Serpent would finally be brought to an end through one single Offspring, the Ultimate Offspring.
Wounding and Victory, because the Ultimate Seed of the Woman would be bruised, even as He Himself bruised the Serpent. But notice the location of these wounds. The Seed of the woman is bruised on the heel, as He stomps the Serpent’s head. The wound on the head of the serpent is fatal and final, while the wound on the heel of the Savior is easy for him to overcome. The Seed of the woman will have victory over the Serpent, this victory will involve Him suffering Himself and overcoming.
To put it in more plain terms, this passage is beautiful because it is the first in a long line of prophecies and events that foretell, shadow, and pattern the incarnation, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Seed of the Woman. Incarnation, because He was born into the woman’s line, taking on Adam’s own flesh. He is a person who overcomes Satan. Death, because the Satan will indeed wound Him through the horror of the cross. Resurrection, because the wound that was dealt to the Lord Jesus was to the “heel” and not ultimately fatal, and it was impossible for that tomb to hold Him inside any longer than three days. The victory of the incarnate Son of God was foretold, starting here.
This passage is one which shows that the entire storyline of the Bible, from the beginning, is moving toward God coming in human flesh, the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we read the Scriptures with our families and in our private devotions this Christmas season, we would do well to remember that this whole Book, not just the first portions of Matthew and Luke, is the story of the Gospel, and the incarnation of God the Son is there in the story from the very beginning.