Jesus, the Offspring of Eve
Did you catch those words we sang just a few minutes ago? “Rise, the woman’s conquering Seed, bruise in us the serpent’s head.” We don’t often sing that fourth verse of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!” And I suspect it’s because that line, and some of the other lines in that verse, don’t really make sense to most people. The truth is, they don’t make sense, until you know the story of the Bible.
But if you’ve been around this fall, you should understand that line. Because “seed” is just another way of translating the word “offspring.” And so that line is simply echoing the words from Genesis 3:15, where God said to the serpent, “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 [or crush] his heel.”
This is a passage we looked at back in September when we talked about the Fall of Adam and Eve into sin. Our first parents were tempted and deceived by the serpent, who was Satan, and so God promised that one day the serpent would be destroyed by an offspring of Eve. Satan would try to strike at that offspring—he would bruise his heel—but in that very act, that very heel will come down on his own head and crush it. The Offspring of Eve will destroy the serpent.
For centuries, Jewish and Christian interpreters understood this to be the first mention of the Messiah in the Bible. This is the first time we find out that a saviour is coming; someone is going to be born who will destroy our deceiver.
And it’s because of this promise that this word “offspring” becomes really important in the story of the bible. It shows up again and again in the story. All throughout the Old Testament, the line of offspring is traced from Adam to Noah to Abraham to Jacob to Judah to David. And all along the way, with each important person that comes up, we ask, “Could this be him? Could this person be the promised Offspring of the woman who will crush the serpent?” And each time we were painfully disappointed.a
But the writer of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” understood what we are celebrating this morning: that the promised Offspring of Eve was finally born, and His name is Jesus. And today we’re going to be seeing how Jesus perfectly fulfilled this promise. Jesus of Nazareth is the one who crushed, is crushing, and will finally crush His ancient enemy Satan.
The way that we’re going to be seeing this truth today is by walking through the gospel of Luke and highlighting a few key passages there that speak about Jesus and His mission to conquer and defeat the Devil.
Angel Armies at His Birth
Angel Armies at His Birth
The first passage that opens this theme up to us is one you may not expect: Luke chapter 2, the familiar passage that tells about the birth of Christ. Listen to these words from verses 8-10:
“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David [the warrior-king], a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host” (Luke 2:8-13) - stop right there.
What comes to mind when you hear the word “host”? In many of our songs and pictures of the birth of Christ, we picture this to be a men’s choir, with, you know, matching choir robes that have little holes for their wings. But what we often miss is that the word “host” is a military word. It means essentially the same thing as “army.”
That changes things a bit, doesn’t it? “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army.”
And by the way, this is what’s going on in the Old Testament when God speaks of Himself as the “Lord of Hosts.” That essentially means Lord of Armies—angel armies.
And it’s just like what Jesus said to His disciples, “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53). Legion is another military word, pointing to angels as soldiers in an army.
All throughout the Bible angels in the Bible are repeatedly identified as warriors. In fact, you could almost say that should be the default way we think about angels—as soldiers, warriors. They fight for God against His enemies. And so on this night that the king is born, His birth is announced by an army of angels, “praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’” (Luke 2:13–14).
What I’m suggesting is that we should view the birth of Christ as a military invasion. The Offspring of Eve has come with His armies to do battle with His ancient enemy.
The next place we see this come up in Luke’s gospel is at the end of the next chapter, where Luke records Jesus’ genealogy. I won’t read it for you, but this genealogy traces Jesus’ ancestry all the way back to Adam and Eve. When scholars compare this genealogy to the one in Matthew’s gospel, many think that this one in Luke’s gospel is likely tracing the line of Mary, who was the physical mother of Jesus. And so it goes from Mary all the way back to Adam, and thus, Eve. In other words: Jesus really is the promised Offspring of Eve.
And so it’s significant that right after tracing Jesus all the way back to Adam and Eve, we read these words at the beginning of Luke chapter 4:
“And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil” (Luke 4:1).
For years this passage baffled me. We know that God doesn’t tempt anyone (James 1:13). Jesus taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation” (Luke 11:4). But here is Jesus, right after being baptized, full of the Holy Spirit, being led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil for forty days.
What’s going on here?
What’s going on here is that the Son of God, the Offspring of Eve, is going to war. He is intentionally beginning His ministry with a head-on confrontation with the serpent.
And like Tim explained for us last week, there are some strong parallels between how Satan tempted Eve in the garden and what he does with Jesus here. But unlike Eve, and unlike Adam, Jesus resisted Satan. He fought back. He clung to the truth of God’s word instead of letting it be twisted by Satan.
I wonder if panic seized the kingdom of darkness in those moments as Satan and all his legions realized that for the first time in history, their game wasn’t working. Jesus was not caving in. Exhausted and hungry and alone, in a place of complete weakness, where most of us would have long since given up, Jesus dug in and “answered him, ‘It is said, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test”’” (Luke 4:12).
Think about your own life, and how easily you’ve given in to temptation over and over again. Think about how easy we’ve made it for Satan to deceive us, and what little effort he’s needed to put into leading us astray.
And now look at Jesus, weakened from forty days of starvation, with subtle, alluring little temptations being dangled in front of his face—ones that most of us wouldn’t even think are sin—and he says “no.” No discussion. No negotiation. No wavering. Solid, unflinching strength. And Satan can do nothing but to back down.
Marvel at Jesus in these moments. Be amazed.
I Know Who You Are
I Know Who You Are
Verse 14 tells us that “Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee” (Luke 4:14). And if you just look a little bit further down in that chapter, you’ll see the very first miracle that Luke records for us is a confrontation with the enemy.
Luke 4:31-34: “And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority. And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.’”
Did you hear that? This demon—one of Satan’s soldiers—is quite comfortable being in a synagogue with all of these religious people. But then Jesus shows up, and he is terrified. He fears that his judgement day has come. “Have you come to destroy us?”
He knows who Jesus is—the Holy One of God. And He knows that this Holy One of God is going to crush the head of Satan, and that means that as a member of Satan’s army, he’s in big trouble.
“But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent and come out of him!’ And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. And they were all amazed and said to one another, ‘What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!’” (Luke 4:35–36).
The idea of casting out a demon from someone wasn’t new to these people. There were exorcists among the Jewish people, but they used all kinds of weird rituals, and it was always a question whether they actually worked or not. And so the people had never seen anything like this. Jesus just tells this demon what to do and it just obeys.
Never before had anyone showed this kind of authority over the forces of darkness.
Plundering the Devil’s House
Plundering the Devil’s House
Now this comes into even clearer focus in Luke chapter 11, which is the passage we read at the beginning of the message. Please know that as we move to chapter 11 we’re skipping over a few things. We’re skipping over the time when Jesus cast the legion of demons out the man. We’re skipping over chapter 10, where Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18). But our passage in chapter 11 records some of the most important words that Jesus spoke about this topic.
The background here is that Jesus’ had cast a demon out of someone, and people was amazed again, but Jesus also had some enemies by now, and they were saying that Jesus was casting out demons by the power of Satan instead of the power of God.
And so what Jesus does in verses 17-19 is show just how silly that idea is. It makes no sense to say that Satan would be casting out Satan. Why would he do that? There’s no logic there. It’s plain silly.
And then after making that point, Jesus said these words in verse 20: “But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Luke 11:20). There it is again—the kingdom of God. If Jesus is able to cast out demons with this kind of authority, then He is the long-promised king, the Offspring of Eve and Abraham and David. And that means that the kingdom has arrived.
And then Jesus makes this astounding claim about Himself in verses 21-22: “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil” (Luke 11:21–22).
Who is the strong man Jesus is talking about? Satan. Who is the one stronger than him, who has attacked and overcome him and is dividing his spoil? Jesus.
That’s what Jesus was doing in His whole ministry, and most visibly every time He cast a demon out of someone. It’s like He had walked into Satan’s house and said, “This is mine now.” And just started taking his stuff. And Satan was powerless to do anything about it, because Jesus had overcome him and destroyed his defences.
He had been completely overwhelmed by the power of Jesus, and so there was nothing he could do to stop Jesus from taking people out from under his domain and transferring them into the kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13).
The Decisive Victory
The Decisive Victory
Everything we’ve seen so far this morning was just preparation for the final showdown. Because even though he was defeated in the wilderness and hopelessly overpowered by Christ, the ancient serpent wasn’t ready to give up yet. In fact, back in Luke 4, after Jesus resisted him in the wilderness, we read that “when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13).
In other words, he wasn’t giving up. He was waiting for another chance. And that chance came on the dark night that Jesus was betrayed and led away to be killed.
We read in Luke 22:3 how Satan entered into Judas, and this led Judas to go arrange to betray Jesus to the authorities. And there in the garden of Gethsemane, after Judas’ awful kiss was planted on his cheek, and the other disciples had abandoned Him, “Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, ‘Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness’” (Luke 22:52–53).
That was the hour of the power of darkness. This was Satan’s hour. And so it’s very likely that in this whole process of entering into Judas and getting Jesus arrested and killed, Satan thought he was winning. Maybe he thought that if he couldn’t get Jesus to sin, then he’d have to settle to shame Him and ruin His reputation and destroy the faith of his followers and kill Him before He could actually rule like a proper king.
But he had no idea.
He had no idea that Jesus had outmaneuvered Him. He had no idea that as he moved in for the attack, he put himself into a checkmate. He had no idea that Jesus still had the upper hand even as He was whipped and beaten and led up the hill and nailed to a cross and hung up to die.
Because this was God’s plan. What looked like Satan’s greatest victory actually became the very thing that sealed his doom. It was in His death that Jesus destroyed the power of Satan.
He reached out to strike at Jesus, but in so doing he was destroyed. He bruised the heel of Jesus, but in that very action, that bruised heel crushed his own head.
How Satan was Undone
How Satan was Undone
Now let’s think for a few moments about how this actually happened. We need to start by understanding a few things about Satan and his conflict with God. First, we should realize that Satan’s power is quite a bit more limited than many of us think. He doesn’t just go around doing whatever he wants. The book of Job shows us that he’s on a pretty tight leash.
The main way that Satan works is by doing what he did with Adam and Eve—lying and deceiving and tempting people into sin. Revelation 12:8 calls him the “deceiver of the whole world.” He tries to make us sin. And then, when we have given in to him and committed our sin, he turns on us and begins to accuse us for that sin before God. And that’s why Revelation 12:10 calls him the “accuser of our brothers” who “accuses them day and night before God.”
That’s his M.O. Deceive, and then accuse. Just like the White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia, he allures us with Turkish Delight and feeds us lies until we commit our crimes, and then he turns coat and becomes our prosecutor who tries to make sure that God gives us the full punishment we deserve.
And as a prosecutor, he has a good case. He’s right. We’ve sinned. We deserve God’s judgement.
But on the cross, the Offspring of Eve stepped in to our place and took that judgement onto Himself. “He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). And right before He died He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). The sentence had been served. Justice had been satisfied. Our sins had been paid for in full.
And we have nothing left to fear. We don’t need to fear God’s judgement. We don’t need to fear death. We don’t need to live with a guilty conscience.
And that means that there are no sins left for Satan to accuse us for. There are no fears left for Satan to manipulate us with.
The Accuser of the Brothers is out of work.
Listen to how Hebrews chapter 2 describes this: “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Hebrews 2:14–15).
The Final Victory
The Final Victory
So, on the cross, Jesus won the decisive victory over Satan.
Now that’s different from saying that He won the final victory over Satan. The final victory is still in the future. We read about it in the book of Revelation:
“When the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:7–10).
The devil will be vanquished and will never be able to tempt or deceive or oppose or accuse again. And when that happens, then the prophecy of Genesis 3:15 will finally be fulfilled in it’s all of it’s fulness. That will be Christ’s final victory. That will be the end of the war.
But on the cross, Jesus won the decisive victory. That’s another military phrase, that refers to a victory which doesn’t end the war, but decides who the victor will be. It’s like D-Day in WWII. When the Allies successfully landed on the beaches of Normandy, the war was not over. There was still more fighting to do. But the war was essentially won. It was the beginning of the end for Hitler and his forces.
And so it was with Christ’s victory over Satan at the cross. It was the decisive victory. It was the fatal blow. Satan’s doom is sealed. He’s been stripped of all of his authority over God’s children. He can do no real, eternal harm to us. And so even though he tries to make us forget this, and there may be some battles to fight in this regard, the war has already been decided and essentially won. Jesus is victorious.
It’s the already-but-not-yet thing again. Satan has already been crushed, even though he has not yet fully been crushed.
And that’s where we live today: in this time between the already-and-the-not-yet. In between D-Day and VE Day. Satan is still around, and he still tries to deceive and tempt us, even as God’s children. And so 1 Peter 5:8 tells us, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). But then it simply says, “Resist him, firm in your faith” (1 Peter 5:9).
Just like what James tells us. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
So in other words, just like Jesus in the wilderness, when we resist the Devil—which we can, with God’s power—the Devil will free from us. Because he has no real, lasting power over us. Our sins have been paid for, and we have no reason to fear death. You belong to the Snake-Crusher. You are protected by the King and His armies.
And in the New Year, we’re going to spend a whole morning talking about what this means for us today, and the whole idea of spiritual warfare. That Sunday we’ll consider the incredible words of Romans 16:20, which say that “the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20).
But for our purposes today, our focus is more simply Christ and His victory, and the way He fulfilled God’s ancient promise. I want us to marvel at Christ today. To worship our snake-crushing, Satan-pillaging Saviour, whom God promised to send, and then did finally send.
Unlike Adam, unlike Noah, unlike Abraham and Jacob and Moses and David and Solomon, this Saviour perfectly resisted the temptations of the serpent. He did not give in once.
And in His ministry, He proved over and over again that He was vastly stronger than Satan and all of his forces.
But it was in the weakness of death, when Satan thought he had the upper hand, and reached out to strike at Jesus, that he found the heel coming down upon his own head. On the cross, Jesus destroyed Satan’s real power once and for all.
And so while we need to be wary, we truly have nothing to fear.
Now if you are here this morning and you don’t know Christ, if you haven’t trusted in Jesus, please hear the sobering truth that you do have reason to fear. Satan still does have power over you. He can accuse you and manipulate you with legitimate fear.
But it doesn’t need to stay that way. You can turn to Christ, today, for safety and salvation. God’s word promises that “The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned” (Psalm 34:22).
So please don’t leave this morning without turning from your sin and believing in all that Jesus is and promised to be. Please come talk with me or someone else here who knows Jesus.
If you do know Jesus this morning, then know that you can walk out of here into whatever is ahead of you this week with absolute safety and absolute confidence. Not because we are strong, but because we belong to the Snake-Crusher, and He is strong. And as Colossians 1:13 says, God “has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13).
And so we’re going to end by singing a rousing old hymn to celebrate this truth.
Did we in our own strength confide
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing;
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth [the Lord of Hosts], His name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.