Growing up in a Baptist context we never talked about Advent that I remember. We certainly didn’t decorate with wreaths or use candles or anything like that. That would have seemed far too Catholic.
As I have learned and progressed in my faith, I have come to a deep appreciation and love for our ancient faith and the ancient practice of our faith. In our worship, we have the opportunity to be connected in spirit and form with our brothers and sisters who have come long before us. So it is with great joy that I am observing Advent now.
I preached the first of four Advent sermons yesterday. My title was ‘The Snake Crusher.’ The text was Genesis 3.
Now this might seem a little odd for an Advent sermon but let me explain why I think it’s not only not odd but necessary. For us to even understand the significance of Jesus’ birth, life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension and eventual return, we have to know where this all got started.
The reason Jesus came is because of the Garden.
So we talked yesterday about three specific things from this Genesis text.
1. The Sin (verses 1-13)
2. The Curse (verses 14-19)
3. The Promise (verse 15)
The sin should be fairly obvious to us I think. Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating off the tree that God told them not to. It’s the reason that I think is less obvious. I believe one of the reasons Adam and Eve disobeyed God is because the serpent planted just enough doubt in their mind about the goodness of God to make them ask questions.
Questions like, why can’t I eat from this tree? Who are you to tell me what I can and can’t do? And the one I think is really at the heart of the matter: What are you trying to hide from me? See, I think that deep down we don’t trust God. We don’t trust him when he says no because we are too busy trying to make ourselves the authority. We don’t trust his goodness, his kindness, his grace toward us; mostly because we try to make God in our own image.
The curse is also fairly obvious. Women and men now cursed. Their toil will now be painful and their naturally complementarian relationship created to bring order, balance and wholeness now marred by an unholy desire for control.
And the serpent gets cursed as well. God says to the serpent, ‘I’m going to thwart your treasonous plans and humiliate you into the dust.’ Not sure he paid much attention to that or if he’s really that arrogant ‘cause he keeps trying to win a battle that he’s doomed to lose.
But the real good part is the promise we see in verse 15. There will come one, God promised, who would crush the serpent’s head. Adam failed but Christ has come.
Christ is the better Adam. Christ is the promised seed who has caused enmity between the serpent and the people of God. Christ is the one who has withstood the temptations of the serpent and he didn’t blink or waiver or fall. Christ is the one who has bruised the head of the serpent at the cross and one day, our anticipation will be realized when Christ returns and he will once and for all crush the head of our enemy.
Death will be no more.
Sin will be no more.
We began in a garden, thrown out into the wilderness for our defiance and sin against an Almighty God. But we end in another garden, welcomed into eternal fellowship with Christ our King!
No longer defiant but grateful.
No longer sinners but finally and forever free.
Free to be who God has truly created us to be, children of the King welcomed home with the smile of our Father.
Soli Deo Gloria!