Genesis 3:15 and Jesus

Out in Bethel I am nearing the end of our study of John in seminary, but God continues illuminating His wondrous Word! I’ll share with you one quick example that I think fits really well with Easter!

In John 13:18 we read, “I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’” Later in verse 27 of the same chapter we read, “Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, ‘What you are going to do, do quickly.’”

In each of these verses we peer into the last couple days of Jesus’ physical earthly life, just prior to the cross. As Jesus and His disciples partake of the Passover meal together, Jesus begins some of His last teaching for the disciples. Judas Ischariot, however, will follow his predetermined course of betrayal. It is absolutely critical to see what is occurring behind the scenes in this passage! Notice that the power behind Judas is his submission to Satan’s work of opposition. Notice further back in verse 18 that Jesus quotes Psalm 41:9 in reference to Scripture being fulfilled of one’s betrayal of his Master. Just as David in that Old Testament passage felt the sting of a close trusted friend’s betrayal, so Jesus would feel the supreme sting on this level of betrayal. Although the language of lifting one’s heel references a Jewish way of describing one who dines with friends and then opposes the host in great contempt, it does also remind us of a similar occurrence of heel earlier in Scripture. Recall with me for a moment Genesis 3:15… “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.” Back in John 13:27 we clearly see Satan’s headstrong opposition behind Judas’ betrayal. Thus, we see Genesis 3:15 played out right before our eyes in John’s Gospel! The seed of the woman ultimately brought Jesus through the virgin birth, thereby avoiding the sin curse of Adam. The enmity relationship continued through all of Adam and Eve’s descendants as sin now became inherent with all humanity (Romans 3:10, 23, Chp. 5). But, Satan’s ultimate opposition came against the Messiah. His antagonism is seen through the attempt to thwart Jesus’ survival even as a young baby/toddler. His opposition continued through the course of Jesus’ life and public ministry, escalating to this climax of antagonism with Judas and ultimately the cross.
At the cross we see Satan’s supreme attack against God Almighty.

If the cross had ended at the cross (death), then Genesis 3:15 would have been null and void!
But, but, but!
We know the glorious truth of the resurrection!
The glorious truth of the resurrection fulfilled the protoevangelium declaration of Genesis 3:15!
Satan’s best attempt against Jesus became as a mere bruise on Jesus’ foot, as Jesus’ resurrection became a great crushing blow eternally against Satan!

What an incredibly beautiful truth we have in God’s revelation to us, for it is here in the Gospel of John that we see the glorious plan of God from the beginning! Truly, Jesus came in the fullness of time in and by His own authority for His supreme eternal purpose!
We as believers are a part of this incredibly sovereign and beautiful plan of redemption!

Amazed at the foot of the cross and the emtpy tomb,
Derek

Easter Eggs, Pixar and God

Recently my family went to see the new Pixar movie “Brave”.  (Sorry, no spoilers nor recommendations from me.) While there, I was reminded of my mother’s axiom – cartoons are not made for kids, but for grown-ups.  She was commenting on my fondness for Bugs Bunny at the time, but the same holds true for Pixar.  The animation in “Brave’ is wonderfully done, with a beautiful, rich Highlands backdrop – a quality that most kids simply overlook for various reasons.

Another thing that I like about Pixar is the many ‘Easter Eggs” that they place in each one of their films.  In modern media, an “Easter Egg” is a ‘hidden’ message, usually a joke known to the creators of the movie.  For example, every Pixar movies has a pizza delivery pick-up somewhere in the film.  Even the medieval “Brave” had the 20th century pick-up truck hidden in the film.  It is a subtle note placed in the movie by the creator of the movie.

As I dig into our VBS curriculum, I am reminded of the same thing: The fingerprints of God are evident in His creation.  If you know Him and know where to look (like an Easter Egg), you can see a subtle message hidden in the creation by the Creator.  The whole of creation points to a loving, careful, wonderful Designer - one who created you and loves you with an everlasting love

Through the history of the Church, God has been seen in His creation.  Martin Luther writes:

Now the whole creation is a face or mask of God. But here we need the wisdom that distinguishes God from His mask. The world does not have this wisdom. There it cannot distinguish God from His mask. When a greedy man, who worships his belly, hears that "man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4), he eats the bread but fails to see God in the bread; for he sees, admires, and adores only the mask. He does the same with gold and with other creatures.

And from John Piper:

God means for us to be stunned and awed by his work of creation. But not for its own sake. He means for us always to look at his creation and say: If the work of his hands is so full of wisdom and power and grandeur and majesty and beauty, what must this God be like in himself!

These are but the backside of his glory seen through a glass darkly. What will it be to see the Creator himself! Not his works! Not even a billion galaxies will satisfy the human soul. God and God alone is the soul's end.

If you like Pixar movies, enjoy the Easter Eggs (A-113, John Ratzenberger, etc.).  More importantly, seek out the gems of creation and use them to better worship the Creator – your Creator and hopefully your Savior - Jesus Christ.

Worship, Missions, and Life

Greetings! I just wanted to check in and share some stuff that I am really enjoying going through with the Koinonia group from our Let the Nations Be Glad study.

 

The study itself finds it's roots in a principle inseparably connected to the Scriptures as a whole. However, Psalm 67 rings clear on the study's central premise. 

 

"May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face to shine upon us, Selah

that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon the earth. Selah

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!

The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us.

God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear Him!"

- Psalm 67, ESV

 

The totality of the Scriptures are resoundingly clear that our fundamental existence on planet earth is for the spread of our God's fame/glory. From the Old Testament way of dwelling amidst God's presence through the promised land and the sacrificial system to the New Testament's focus on Jesus' redemption, the centerpiece is the exaltation of God's great fame. The centerpiece of the Scriptures, really then, is worship. We are created for worship. Sin corrupts this. The Old Testament shows our gracious God's dealing with His people to point them back to His holiness through their faith in His redemptive provision through His law and sacrificial system. The New Testament (that which the entire Old Testament pointed toward) shows our gracious God's sovereignty and mind-boggling work of redeeming His own to Himself through faith in His provision in the form of Jesus.

Missions therefore exists because worship does not. Missions must exist therefore, to beckon fallen humanity back to worship. This, of course, is a provision and work that only God can accomplish. We post-New-Testament humanity have the incredible privilege (along with people like the Ephesians in Eph. 1:10) of heralding the truly, infinitely good news of Jesus and the redemption His work offers.

From texts like Ephesians 1:5-6, Romans 3:25, and 1 Peter 3:18, we see that Jesus' purpose was consumed with His zeal for the spread of the Father's glory. In John 11:1-6 we see a clear example of God's love and the exaltation of His glory. After hearing of Lazarus' imminent death, the text says that because of Jesus' love for His friends, He remained for the purpose of glorifying God. Do you see the connection to God's loving plan and the exalting of His glory?

Oh, this all carries such profound implications for us today! Do we recognize that our God is truly worthy of worship? Do we truly realize that our God is on mission to spread His worship throughout the nations? Do we truly realize that our fundamental existence on planet earth is inseparably connected to this purpose? Are we truly enamored in worship of our great God? It is then precisely that enamored worship that should be the flame in our missiological outlook, passion, involvement, and prayer!

 

For the Spread of His Fame,

Derek

 

 

 

Passionate Worship

I have to admit this story gave me a smile.  A kindergarten student was so committed to her parents’ alma mater that she would not color a picture of the mascot from the rival school, even though it was a required assignment in school.  The teacher was not happy, but her parents were pleased that she stuck up for her convictions.  Eventually, the little girl colored the picture (Because Mom said she had to), handed it in and threw it away when she received it back from her teacher.  The story spread like wildfire at the alma mater to the point where the little girl was the guest of honor at a recent Big 12 Conference game.  It is a great, lighthearted story that has at least 2 powerful reminders for Christians.

The first one is – how passionate is our worship of Jesus?  Would we do the same thing for Christ?  How quickly we show our passion at athletic events for our favorite players and teams – would we do the same for the Kingdom!

The second brief reminder is similar – how much does passion for Christ please the Father.  The little girl received great ‘rewards’ for her passion to a university.  How much more will the Lord honor those who have suffered and died for Christ!  In fact , we will ge the greatest reward imaginable – we will receive Him! 

Revelation 21:3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 

I hope that these story stir up our passion for the Lord and our desire to honor him in all we are, even at the cost of everything we hold dear in this life. 

KS