Advent Devotional | Day 1: Jesus and God’s First Promise of the Coming King
Omosomi’Gamazi Izesu Nimu ogo Venabo mino evene do eita
And 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
To understand God’s promise in Genesis 3:15 of an offspring of the woman who would crush Satan’s head is to make sense of the rest of the Bible narrative. It is like joining the final pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to fully understand God’s work to restore the kingdom of God in Jesus.
God’s Promise of the Coming King in the beginning
God promised a deliverer in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15). The idea and identity of the deliverer is developed further in Genesis and then throughout the Bible’s narrative, but the promise is first made here. God intervenes because His rightful rule as King was distorted by Adam’s disobedience. In Genesis 1–2, God clearly fulfilled the role of king by ruling over His creation. His visit in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8) was a regular expression of His loving, personal rule among His creatures, but it took a turn because of the disobedience committed by Adam and Eve. Though they rebelled and sided with the serpent, allowing him to rule them, God, from His abundance of love and mercy, promised that He would undo the new, broken order by sending one who would, though struck himself, defeat this enemy of God and God’s rule, the serpent. Throughout its subsequent pages, the Bible records a conflict between two kingdoms—between God and Satan, between evil and righteousness—anticipating the promised victory by the seed of the woman who would defeat the serpent.
God’s Provision of the Coming King for Us
Jesus fulfills this wonderful promise when He comes and achieves victory through His obedience all the way to the cross! When Adam disobeyed and brought despair and death, God promised that another, Jesus, would obey and bring rescue from death to life. Jesus has delivered us from the punishment for sin through His death and resurrection. And He delivers from the reign of sin by sending His Spirit to lead His people in renewed obedience to God’s rule and restored life in God’s kingdom. Eventually, Jesus will reunite heaven and earth, restoring His people to life with God where God dwells. This is, as Mark Meynell defines it in his book What Angels Long to Read, the blessed reality of the Kingdom of God: God’s people living in God’s place following God’s rule.* What was lost by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when they went against God’s word and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is partially restored now as the church, where God dwells by His Spirit, walks according to His Word as revealed in the Bible. And it will be fully restored one day when Jesus returns and makes all things new! That full restoration is hinted at in God’s first promise in Genesis 3:15.
In Papua New Guinea, one of the big challenges people continue to face is poverty and the hunger and sickness that go with it. Our citizens expect the government to deliver, but nothing happens at all! Greed and corruption are huge road blocks to societal development, so many people live in bondage to that poverty. In the face of that, God’s promise of salvation through His Son is our living hope and can fuel our restorative efforts! We are the stewards of this promise to re-establish the good and rightful reign of Jesus. As we apply God’s Word into our societies, resisting greed, corruption, and selfish living, we are a living hope to the many people we serve as we holistically meet their needs and work to deliver from the bondage of poverty, hunger, and sickness. What a privilege to know this promise and be a foretaste of its ultimate fulfilment!
*Mark Meynell, What Angels Long to Read (Carlisle: Langham Preaching Resources, 2017), 14.
Jonathan Inapelo is the Coordinator for Langham Preaching in Papua New Guinea and lives in Goroka in the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea.