Last month I introduced you to the new apologetic focus we will pursue for the next few months: Surprised By Jesus: Encountering Christ in the Old Testament. I am preaching this as a sermon series, which is available for you to hear on our church website. I want to emphasize that this concept was not invented by the imagination of men, but rather expressed through the revelation of God in the words of Jesus to two downcast disciples on the afternoon of the first Easter as they travelled the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-30).
This month, we will see Jesus in God’s first Gospel proclamation, also known as the protoevangelium, which was made to Adam, Eve and Satan in Eden. We will see Jesus as the Seed of the Woman under the following three headings: The Problem, The Promise and The Person.
God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden, a paradise of unimaginable pleasure, which included an intimate, personal relationship with God Himself. Adam was given one simple prohibition: he was not to eat from the tree of life under the penalty of death (Genesis 2:17). When Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s clear command (Genesis 3:6), God would have been perfectly just to destroy them on the spot, but He did not, leading us to . . .
Instead of serving His justice and destroying Adam and Eve, God, in the midst of a series of judgments pronounced on the three guilty parties, gave His gracious promise of a Savior who would be the Seed of the woman. Speaking to the serpent, God said – “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15).
There are three important observations to make here. First, the Redeemer is identified as the Seed of the woman and not the man. By this we are to understand that this will be a unique, supernatural birth — the virgin birth of Jesus Christ: “The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
Second, we see in God’s promise that His grace will not come without cost; the heel of the Savior would be bruised (signifying the shedding of His substitutionary blood) as the head of the serpent would be crushed, signifying a divine death-blow.
The prophet Isaiah wrote that “He was pierced through for our transgressions” and “The Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief” (Isaiah 53:5, 10 NASB). This promise establishes a principle that runs throughout the entire Old Testament: the promised Savior who is the Seed of the woman will be in constant spiritual conflict with the seed of the serpent. Jesus emphasized this truth in confronting the religious leaders: “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire . . . He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God” (John 8:44, 47).
The problem of the willful rebellion of Adam and Eve, which led to God’s gracious promise of the Seed of the women, finds its fulfillment in . . .
When John the Baptizer saw Jesus, he made it clear that God’s unfolding plan of redemption, seen throughout the Old Testament, would be carried out by Jesus the Christ: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).
When the first disciples began to follow Jesus, Philip uttered these profound words: “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1:45).
In his letter to the Galatians, the apostle Paul confirmed that Jesus is the promised Seed of the woman: “When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).
For centuries, God’s people eagerly anticipated the fulfillment of the first Gospel promise, and “when the time had fully come,” Jesus took on flesh and dwelt among us as the Savior who would be our sacrificial Substitute, securing our salvation and bringing us back into right relationship with God. Paul referred to Jesus as “the last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45). Where the first Adam failed, the last Adam succeeded. Where the first Adam yielded to temptation, the last Adam stood firm. And where the first Adam was promised life if he obeyed, the last Adam was promised death if He obeyed. Adam rebelled against the Word of God; Jesus, the Seed of the woman, obeyed the will of His Father and died in our place as so that we, by trusting in Him, will receive eternal life.
Satan did bruise the heel of Jesus through His death on the cross. But that death was not final. On the third day, God raised His Son from the dead, which was the glorious fulfillment of the promise to crush the head of the serpent. As our promised Messiah, Jesus became the death of death, so that all who have trusted in Him may live forever and ever: “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14-15).
How is it with you today? Are you surprised by Jesus’ appearance in the Old Testament? We will see Him appear many more times before the birth in Bethlehem. I hope you’ll come back next month and find Him in a new place that may surprise you.
And if, by God’s grace, you are surprised to feel Him calling you to Him for what feels like the first time, why not give your life to Him today? Place your trust in His atoning death on your behalf right now, right where you are reading this . . . and then you will know that you are His, and that you will live with Him forever and ever, world without end.
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!
Tommy Boland is senior pastor of Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach. He blogs regularly at tommyboland.com.