(The Seed of the Woman, Part 2)
Before I begin, I promised to talk to you about something–the little section entitled Emmaus Road Reading. You’ll notice the authors talk about our minds being illuminated by the Scriptures. The fact that God creates a passion for himself in our hearts by the reading of the Scriptures is often misunderstood. The verse, “They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”” (Luke 24:32 ESV), is often thought to mean that everyone must get a feeling like that or else their hearts are not genuine. This could not be further from the truth! We cannot and should not test ourselves by our feelings (See Jeremiah 17:9). This is a case of reading the experience of someone in the Bible and wrongly interpreting that it must be the prescribed norm for all believers. Not everyone (and I venture to say, hardly anyone) will get a ‘burning’ feeling in their chest when they have a Scripture passage rightly explained to them and they finally understand it. It’s more like a light-bulb moment followed by the desire to learn more. If you desire to know more about God by reading your Bible, don’t worry about getting butterflies in your tummy or a burning sensation in your chest.
That said, let’s move on to my favorite part of this chapter. Three quotes stand out:
“This is the underlying plotline of the whole of the Bible. It appears in embryo in the very next chapter of the book of Genesis. One brother (Cain) is in conflict with another brother (Abel) because the latter’s sacrifice was acceptable to God. Jealousy and murder result as the seed of the Serpent (Cain), seeks to destroy the seed of the woman (Abel). The same plotline makes its way through the tower of Babel as man seeks to build his kingdom over against God’s. But in sovereign power God pulls down that kingdom and destroys its unity. This is also the story of Egypt against Israel. It is the story of Goliath against David. It is the story of Babylon against Jerusalem, of Nebuchadnezzar against Daniel. It is the story of Satan against Jesus, and of Pontius Pilate and Herod seeking to destroy the Savior. It is the story that runs through the Gospels and beyond. The Jews seek to destroy Jesus during his ministry: “You are of your father the devil,” he says. It is the story of how the enmity then turns on the Christian church.”
I’ve never had this explained to me quite like this before. Of course, it makes perfect sense. This is where we stand today–the world is in enmity with the Christian church.
“We sometimes make an elementary mistake when reading the temptation narratives. We assume that their chief purpose is to teach us about our temptations and how we should resist them…But their point is not to say, “Jesus was tempted, and you are tempted just like him, so respond to temptation as he did.” That would turn his temptations into a mere example for us to emulate.”
This is very important, because the last thing we want to do is teach moralism. What is moralism? It’s teaching all the rules–the do’s and don’ts without teaching the gospel. It’s telling people to be like Jesus, but not telling them what Jesus did for them. Unfortunately, the teaching style is very common. My absolute worst moralism pet-peeve is being taught the ‘command’ to be like the Proverbs 31 woman. There is no command in the Bible to be like the Proverbs 31 woman. She is not even a real person. The very best thing to learn from Proverbs 31 is that nobody can be like the perfect picture of what a mother-in-law thinks her son should marry! Jesus Christ was perfect in my place. He gives me the grace to lean on His perfection, not to strive for my own until I go insane. The worst thing about moralistic teaching is it can easily slide into a heresy known as Pelagianism. If you have time (about 45 minutes), listen here for a very informative message on the subject.
“Jesus’ temptations were not a series of unfortunate events that overtook him unexpectedly. They constitute an epic confrontation taking place within the divine strategy. What we see here is Jesus’ work of conflict, victory, and salvation. He came face-to-face with Satan. He appeared as God’s new man, the second Adam, to do what the old man, the first Adam, had failed to do.”
And aren’t we grateful He did!!
I have dallied long enough — I must get on to chapter 2. I hope you are enjoying this book as much as I am!