About the year 2,500 BC, God had created man and woman, placed them in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1:27; 18). In between there, He had commanded man (Adam) not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 1:17), but the most ‘crafty’ of all animals—the serpent talked Eve into taking a bite of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
When God knew that they eaten from the tree He had forbidden them from partaking of, he delivered ‘curses’ to them and the serpent alike. To the serpent he said:
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head and you will strike his heel (Genesis 3:15). [Emphasis added]
Notice that God says “He” not “they”. Some versions of the bible use ‘bruise’ instead of ‘crush’. In effect, God was saying, “A woman will give birth to a son, and He will crush the serpent’s head.” What happens when a serpent’s head is crushed? It dies. It’s defeated. It’s overcome.
After that, God sent prophet after prophet to deliver His word about one who would ‘bruise the serpent’s head.’ (Compare Micah. 5:2; Haggai. 2:6-9; Isaiah. 7:14; 9:6-7; 11:1-2; 53; 60:10, 13; Psalm. 16:11; 68:18.).
Fast forward, an angel of God appears to a young virgin woman in a small village of Nazareth. The angel told her of how she will have a son—a holy child—which she will name JESUS (Luke 1:26-38). The child was born and after 30 years of training, He started His ministry of grace, recruiting along the twelve he trained to take up from Him three years later.
Among some of His final words to His disciples, with whom He had walked, preached to magnitudes, liberated many souls through His ministry are the most encouraging of words:
“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). [Emphasis added]
This was a prophesy fulfilled in the disciples’ hearing, even before it would be. William Temple, commenting on this verse says, “For what the world thought His shame was His glory and what the world thought His defeat was His victory.”
He later went on to be condemned and crucified, and before His death, He said “It is Finished (John 19:30)”, He died and on the third day, He walked out of the grave. There He left the serpent aka Satan bruised, crushed, bartered, defeated and humiliated. He had overcome the world.
This is the Grace of God!
Notice that Jesus Christ is not asking us to do anything—not even overcome—for He overcame. This is contrary to what the world teaches us—to labor that through it—we may score points of righteousness from God. Jesus doesn’t ask us to ‘do God a favor’ through our works. Instead in a low tone says, “Take heart!” Just that!
This calm assurance is testament to what the message of Grace is all about – Faith. It’s also testament to what Grace is not – works! (Romans 11:6).
The assurance is followed by another one of even greater magnitude, “I have overcome the world.” Not even trouble could get in the way of this glorious and passionate mission of Christ. The mission was too great, the enemy too small, He did it! (John 19:30).
We can therefore flourish in the classroom, workplace, ministry, home, anywhere because the greatest force in the universe and beyond is in control. Through Him alone, can we do these things. He equips and empowers us with His power, by faith to do great, above the expectations of the enemy (Ephesians 3:20).
Notice that the pivot of the gospel is Jesus Christ and not the Christian.
He has overcome!