At our house, Kim and I have a good thing going. I make the mess, and she cleans it up. I like to cook, so I can make a pretty good mess cooking, and she typically cleans all the dishes. That may not sound like too bad of a deal, except that I can have a tendency to make messes in general that Kim ends up cleaning up. I apparently have a little higher tolerance for a mess than she does. I am thankful that Kim has never made a big deal about it (by the way I do help clean sometimes) because if she did our relationship could be in trouble.
In this part of our relationship, she demonstrates the way God is with us. We make the mess. He is left to clean it up. In Genesis 3, we see this demonstrated clearly. Most are familiar with this passage because it recounts what we call the fall of mankind. It is the account of Adam and Eve sinning in the garden. There they were in the perfect environment created by God, and they messed it up. They gave into the temptation of Satan and ate from the tree that God had forbidden, then compounded the problem by seeking to blame others, then ultimately tried to hide from God. Mess on top of more mess.
Thankfully in the midst of all this, we see God actually speaking to Satan these words about the offspring of man in Genesis 3:15, “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.” This verse is called the protoevangelium–a fancy way of saying the first reference to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Satan in all his dealings might bruise the heal of man, but Jesus would ultimately bruise the head of Satan. The word translated “bruise” in the ESV can also be translated “strike” or “crush” which may help us understand why the location of the blow is so relevant. A striking or crushing of the heal would not be fatal, while a strike or crush to the head would be.
That is exactly what Jesus has done to Satan for us, struck a fatal blow to deal with the mess we have made. The difference between what Jesus has done for us and and what Kim does for me is that I could clean up my mess around the house, but only Jesus can take care of the mess we have caused by sin. The mess we have made by sinning has actually caused our death, but thankfully, we are told in Colossians 2, “13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” Even Satan has been disarmed through Jesus. Let’s be thankful today that God can clean up our mess when we are unable.