“So the LORD said to the serpent…”From now on, you and the woman will be enemies, and your offspring and her offspring will be enemies. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel”. Genesis 3:14-15
As we reflect on the coming of Jesus and await His return we need to remember why He came that first Christmas. He was born with a destiny. A mission that God had declared right at the start. This was not a secret mission. Before He left the throne of heaven for the mess of a stable Jesus knew what He was coming to do. And those who were awaiting the promised Messiah knew what He was coming to do. He was coming to be the serpent crusher.
All had started so well. God created the earth and saw that it was good. Jesus was with God and through Him everything that is was formed, perfectly. And God made man and woman in His image, unique in all creation in that we alone are made in God’s image. We are not just flesh and bones – we are soul and conscious and spirit. God made us with free will to make our own choices, and He gave the first man and woman some pretty simple instructions – tend the Garden and eat any fruit except from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
And all would have been well, but for the existence of another character in our story, the devil. From before creation Satan had been in rebellion against God, and had been cast out of heaven. He first enters our story taking the form of a serpent, who challenges Adam and Eve, getting them to question what God had said (“’Did God really say…’” Genesis 3:1) and then playing down the consequences of rebellion against God’s commands (“You won’t die!” Genesis 3:4)
That is a tactic the devil still uses with us today. He encourages us to question what God has said, to doubt in His goodness, to lose faith in His promises. And he tries to deceive us into thinking the consequences won’t be that severe if we give in to the temptation. The devil tells us that it won’t hurt anyone, that everyone is doing it, that it would be silly not to, that we can get forgiveness later – anything and everything in a desperate bid to corrupt us and pull us away from a life lived in fellowship with God.
And after that fateful moment when Adam and Eve are deceived by the serpent’s lies and eat the fruit God gives a promise of hope to all who are caught up in the curse of sin. There is a serpent crusher coming. One who will break the power of sin and death, once and for all.
That serpent crusher is Jesus, God’s plan A. Before He made the world God knew Adam and Eve would give in to temptation. He knew we too would sin and fall short of His glory. He knew our hearts would be prone to wander and prone to leave the God we love. He knew a sacrifice would be needed to atone for the debt of sin and restore us to a right relationship with Him. God knew this and so He had plan A in place from the start. Jesus would take the punishment we deserved and would be our serpent crusher. On the cross sin’s power was broken. And while we know we now have the victory through Christ, while we know the serpent’s head is crushed, still for now temptation comes as the devil doesn’t go down without a fight. But now we know our serpent crusher has come and is coming back we can stand firm, resisting the devil’s tactics. We can trust in God’s promises, remembering them when the devil tries to get us to doubt, reflecting on all the times God has been faithful to us in the past. God isn’t going to give up on us now, no matter what the devil tries to make us think.
As we look to Christmas we can take hope from the knowledge that we have victory over sin because Jesus came to crush the serpent’s head. We can trust the God keeps His promises, for Jesus came to defeat the power of sin, just as He promised back in the third chapter of the Bible. We can take heart when the wait for God to break though seems long, for we know that at the right moment our long expected, long awaited Saviour came and the sound of heaven touching earth was the sound of the serpent’s head being crushed in defeat as the Light of the World rose victorious!