God’s Messiah: The Promised Savior-King
The following is an enhanced transcript of the TheoTalk episode with the same title.
Who is Jesus? Some think he was one of many moral teachers who have existed throughout history. Others see him as something of a deluded rabbi. Still others wonder if he was just a myth. So what are we to make of Jesus?
There is plenty of evidence Jesus lived in first century Palestine, claimed to be the Messiah, was executed by crucifixion, and three days later his tomb was found empty. There is also evidence many claimed to have seen Jesus alive from the dead and, therefore, left everything to follow him and proclaim his gospel.
Throughout this series, we’ll consider the evidence that affirms Jesus was and is who he claimed to be: God’s Messiah — savior to a fallen world and King over God’s kingdom he came to restore. To do that we need to go back to the beginning of the story we find ourselves in; to the God who was there before there was anything else, who created all things and us in his image, that we might enjoy a face-to- face, soul-surrounding, self-defining relationship with him, through which we would experience life as it was meant to be in and under Him.
Adam and Eve enjoyed this kind of relationship with God in Eden, until they followed the temptation of the Evil One to rebel against God, plunging themselves and us, their descendants, under the curse of sin. Now alienated from God who is the source of life, they became alienated from themselves, one another, and the rest of creation, which is really bad news. But it’s followed by some really good news in Genesis 3:15.
Right after Adam and Eve rebelled against God, but immediately before God pronounced judgement upon them, God spoke to the Evil One who had tempted Adam and Eve to rebel against God, saying, “I will put enmity between you and the woman.” It’s interesting God focuses on the woman, Eve, instead of Adam, since, as we’ll see moving forward, Adam was the head of our race. But God was laying the groundwork for the remarkable role that woman, specifically, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, a descendant of Eve would play in bringing the Messiah into the world. This becomes clear as God says to the Evil One in Genesis 3:15,
“I will put enmity between you and the woman; and between your offspring [or seed] and her offspring [or seed]. And he, [a particular male offspring of the woman, at some point in the future] shall bruise [crush] your head, devil.” (Genesis 3:15, ESV; comments added in brackets)
In other words, God declares His promised champion (Messiah) would utterly destroy the devil and his plan to thwart God’s good plans for mankind. In the process, we read, “you (devil) shall only bruise his (Messiah’s) heel.” In other words you will injure this messiah-savior to come but you will not destroy him, utterly. Instead, he will utterly destroy you (bruise/crush your head). And that’s good news; that God promised to send a Messiah who would destroy the works of the devil, conquer the power of sin and death, and thereby restore to us a right relationship with him as He re-establishes his righteous reign upon the earth.
in the next lesson, we’ll see how the Old Testament lays out a genealogical treasure map to the promised Messiah (Christ) who was to come. For now, I invite you to consult your deepest intuitions about the story you find yourself in. I’ll bet you know, deep down, your life isn’t ultimately without purpose; that you aren’t randomly existing on planet Earth; but that you were created by God to know and thrive in him. I’ll bet you also know, if you have the courage to admit it, that neither you nor your world are what they were meant to be; that the fall is real and we are all in desperate need of the restoration only God’s Messiah can bring.
Throughout this series, we’ll discover that Jesus of Nazareth is this Messiah: perfect savior for a fallen world and righteous king over God’s kingdom he came to restore.