Genesis 3:1-4:26; Matthew 2:13-3:6; Psalm 2; Proverbs 1:7-9
The First Gospel
The story of Adam and Eve from Genesis 1-3 establishes the fundamental conflict of the Bible—what is God going to do about the problem of evil? This is the age-old problem that has plagued humanity since the beginning. We do not have an intellectually or emotionally satisfying answer as to why God allowed humanity to fall into evil, sin, and rebellion other than He gave us a free choice.
The truth and reality of that initial fall into temptation and sin rings as true today as ever. Evil, sin, and rebellion are in evidence everywhere. Humanity continues to seek after its own knowledge of Good and Evil to the exclusion of faithfulness to the clear will and direction of God. There is the easy way and the hard way to learn; again and again, we choose the hard way. Ignorance was bliss, but the fall brought shame, guilt, and fear.
Amazingly, in the very verses where God reveals the consequences for humanity’s rebellion—toil, pain, and strife—a ray of hope emerges with the first announcement of the Gospel of God. The offspring of the woman would receive a painful smite on the heel by Satan, but ultimately her Offspring would deliver a fatal blow to the head of the evil one.
“I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.” – Genesis 3:15
The pages of the Bible will reveal that the promised offspring of the woman will be the Anointed One, Jesus. Yes, He would be killed by the forces of evil on the cross, but His death was not an ultimate end—it would prove to be merely a “bruised heel.” Three days after His death, He would rise from the dead, and God would place all of His enemies under His feet, even the head of Satan.
Psalm 2 announces and inaugurates the Son of God’s reign in the face of global rebellion against Him by the world’s leaders and people. The reading from the Gospel of Matthew, proclaims His birth under the pursuit and attack of corrupt political powers, King Herod the Great. Indeed evil is real, as the Lord said to Cain:
“And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” – Genesis 4:7
The promise of victory over sin and Satan is for you. Jesus holds the power over the evil one. Cain lost sight of the promise made to his mother. But thanks be to God, you and I can master the power of sin through the power of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus has crushed Satan’s head! Like the earlier followers of God, call upon the name of the Lord (Genesis 4:26) for salvation.
Prayer: Dear God, please help me with the struggles against temptation and sin and its consequences. I, too, am under the threat of evil, and it is seeking to master me. But, I know that your Son, Jesus, has gained the victory over Satan, sin, and the evil powers of this world. Father, lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil. In Jesus name, Amen.
The Rev. Charlie Holt
The Church of St. John the Divine