How is your Easter planning going? Do you have the church outfits ready? Know who is coming for Easter dinner? Is the egg hunt on the schedule…? Since it is the most significant holiday in the Christian calendar, Easter deserves special attention. So, a few months of planning for Easter are appropriate.
But the first Easter took more planning than that! We know that God worked from before time began and through millennia to complete the work we celebrate as Easter.
“… the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began.” I Corinthians 2:7
Adam and Eve brought sin into the world by listening to the serpent – the manifestation of Satan. They chose to be their own gods, putting themselves on the throne of their lives rather than accepting the abundant life God had given them.
“‘…you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.’” Genesis 3:5b
That first sin was the beginning of generations of sinning by humans, but God in His mercy did not leave them (or us) to eternally suffer the immediate consequence of our rebellion – banishment from His presence. Even in the throes of that dreadful separation, God extended hope to all humankind when He revealed His plan to rescue us.
When He told the serpent, “… I WILL CAUSE HOSTILITY BETWEEN YOU AND THE WOMAN, AND BETWEEN YOUR OFFSPRING AND HER OFFSPRING. HE WILL STRIKE YOUR HEAD, AND YOU WILL STRIKE HIS HEEL.” (Genesis 3:15), God declared the battle plan for your, my, and every person’s eternal destiny and foretold of Easter!
Throughout the Old Testament, we see the plan unfold:
- God chose a people group, Abraham’s descendants (Genesis 23:18), and individuals within that group such as Isaac (Genesis 26:2-6), Jacob (Numbers 24:17), Joseph (Genesis 45:3-8), David (Isaiah 9:7), and Mary (Isaiah 7:14) to carry out His plan.
- He also carried His plan forward through the lives of people who were not part of the chosen people group, individuals like Rahab (Joshua 2:1-24) and Ruth (Ruth 1-4) who are mentioned in Matthew 1:1-6 as forbearers of Jesus.
- He protected the Promised Offspring’s ancestors during famine, enslavement, war, and their own rebelliousness so that that the “offspring” of the woman, Jesus, would be born, grow to manhood, and be crucified.
He shared specifics of the plan thousands of years before they occurred in Scriptures such as Psalm 69:21 (see Matthew 27:34), Psalm 22:16 (see John 20:25-27), Psalm 22:18 (see Luke 23:34) and many others. God was active in every detail of carrying out his plan!
When Adam’s and Eve’s sin, as well as the sins of their descendants, were placed on Christ as he hung on the cross, the “striking his heel” portion of the prophecy was accomplished by Satan. And surely Satan thought he had defeated God and that his own plan to devour and destroy humankind, the object of God’s love, had prevailed. But God’s plan had always included “strike his heel”, as we see in Isaiah 53:5.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
And then came the fulfillment of the remainder of Genesis 3:15 – the “strike your head” promise – on that first Easter morning. The fatal blow to Satan and his plan came when Christ rose from the dead, declared victory over sin and death, freed all humankind from the just punishment for our sins and offered us reconciliation to the loving God who made us!
“But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:19
This Easter, won’t you stop and reflect on that same God who was zealous to carry out His plan for the salvation of humankind? He is just as dedicated to carrying out His plan in our individual lives. No power or person in this world or the spiritual realm can defeat God’s plan for you or me when we choose him as God rather than ourselves!
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6
– Carolyn Johnson