Advent Devotion for November 28
In lighting the candle, the candle lighter says: “Death, where is thy sting?”
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 3:15 [OT prophesied]
Then the Lord God said to the serpent…
15 And I will cause hostility between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring (her seed).
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
SCRIPTURE: Luke 24:39-40 [NT prophecy fulfilled]
39 Look at my hands. Look at my feet. You can see that it’s really me. Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost, because ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do.” 40 As he spoke, he showed them his hands and his feet.
SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 2:14
14 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.
MUSIC: Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs from Messiah - The Royal Choral Society (YouTube)
SOME THOUGHTS: There is so much packed into these short words. “He will strike your head…” Remember who is talking to whom here? God is talking to the serpent. In this phrase God is referring to the offspring of the woman striking the head of the serpent. Some translations replace the word “strike” with “bruise.” In what I think is a better translation because of understanding the larger context, An American Translation uses the words “crush” and “bruise.” The overall picture is clear. The heel of the woman’s seed is bruised. As Handel wrote in Messiah, “He was bruised for our iniquities.” The head of the serpent is crushed. Though Christ, the seed of the woman, is severely wounded as his feet are nailed to the cross, his victory over sin, evil, and death crushes the head of the serpent, Satan. The head is control central to the whole body. Other parts of the body may be seriously wounded or even amputated. Not so with the head. When the serpent’s head is crushed, it is a fatal, certain, and eternal death. God is the victor and has provided a way of restoration for all people. Notice, immediately after the entrance of sin, we have the first mention of the gospel, the protoevangelism, the “first good news.” In the first few chapters of God’s Word, we are given the end of the story. God’s mercy is evident from the beginning. The woman’s seed confirms the humanity of Christ. The victory over death confirms the deity of Christ. The words of the curse in Genesis are fulfilled in the words of the writer of Hebrews. The victory has been won at great cost.
PRAYER: Look upon us, O Lord, and let all the darkness of our souls vanish before the beams of thy brightness. Fill us with holy love, and open to us the treasures of thy wisdom. All our desire is known unto thee, therefore perfect what thou hast begun, and what thy Spirit has awakened us to ask in prayer. We seek thy face, turn thy face unto us and show us thy glory. Then shall our longing be satisfied, and our peace shall be perfect. This we pray through Jesus Christ who was bruised to make us whole. Amen.
–St. Augustine, 354-430 AD