And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" And he said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself." He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 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 his heel."
To the woman he said, "I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." And to Adam he said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return."(ESV)
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Satan Under Foot
Thursday of Pentecost 11
13 August 2015
When I have had the privilege of touring the medieval cathedrals of Europe, I found the medieval tombs standing in the buildings to be fascinating. The persons buried in those tombs are frequently memorialized by reclining effigies on the lid of the monument in which their remains repose. Often their hands are clasped in prayer and their feet rest upon a creature such as a lion. I suppose that these two elements recognize the claim of the church and the state upon such long-deceased nobles. Their temporal power could be symbolized by feet standing upon this supine creature. Certainly, when you are able to place your feet upon the head of your enemy, he is powerless to harm you. The kings of the ancient near east would so treat a defeated king to indicate that he had now become a vassal under the complete power of the victor. I wonder if this tradition hadn't arisen from the ancient memory of the divine promise to Adam and Eve that our inveterate enemy, Satan, would be crushed under the feet of the Messiah (Gn 3:15
When Paul says, "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet" (Rm 16:20), he seems to be going beyond what God had said in His promise to Adam and Eve about the victory of the Messiah. How is it that what has been attributed to the Messiah is now placed under our feet? We are found to be in Him by faith, so that whatever He has done for our salvation is attributed to us. Our feet scarred by the nails of the Christ now stand over our old enemy. What He has crushed we stand upon with no fear of opposition. Satan can pose no threat to the church or her children because the Lord has crushed his head and placed him as a trophy under our feet. We are kings and priests in His kingdom and sanctuary, with all the titles and authorities that accrue to those who are elevated in this way by the King of kings and Priest of priests. What is said of Him is also ours.
These marks of faith are the true stigmata of the holy people. Occasionally, people who have meditated upon the death of Christ with sufficient intensity claim to begin bleeding from their hands, feet, and side, like the suffering Christ. Such things are difficult to verify and of dubious provenance and value. However, there is a way in which all Christians are marked by the wounds of Christ. We all have stigmata, because Christ has been superimposed upon all of us by faith. We have the marks of life upon us because His death becomes our death, and His wounds become our wounds. If we are His and He is ours this is the way it has to be. We are the living icons in the world of the living Lord Jesus. He will soon crush Satan under our feet because He has crushed Satan under His feet.
"'The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you' (Rm 16:20
). Since Paul had spoken of those who 'who cause divisions and create obstacles' (Rm 16:17
) among them, he mentioned "the God of peace" also, that they might be hopeful about the removal of these evils. For he who rejoices in peace will put an end to that which hinders it.
"Paul does not say, 'will subject,' but 'will crush' (Gn 3:15), which is a stronger expression. And not those people only, but also him who was the general over them in this disturbance: Satan. And not 'will crush' merely, but 'under your feet,' so that they may obtain the victory themselves, and become noble by the trophy. The time is made a ground of comfort. For he adds, 'shortly.' What Paul wrote was a prayer and prophecy at the same time. 'The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.' That greatest weapon; that impregnable wall; that tower unshaken!"
John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 31
Lord Jesus, You have crushed the head of our enemy under Your feet. Give us hope and confidence in Your victory that we too soon see our feet upon his head. Amen.
For Diva Pilli, who will be undergoing a biopsy today, that the doctor's hand would be guided and that a proper diagnosis might be made
For President Matthew Harrison, who is suffering vicious slander, that he would undergo it as a badge of honor and that the Lord Jesus would vindicate him
For President Obama, that the Lord would grant him the strength to uphold the Constitution of the United States according to his oath of office
Art: Dürer, Albrecht The Adoration of the Trinity (1515)
© Scott R. Murray, 2015