"The foe was triumphant when on Calvary, The Lord of creation was nailed to the tree. In Satan's domain did the hosts shout and jeer, For Jesus was slain, whom the evil ones fear.
"But short was their triumph; the Savior arose, And death, hell, and Satan He vanquished, His foes. The conquering Lord lifts His banner on high; He lives, yes, He lives, and will nevermore die. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!"
The foe had been working on this plan for a long time. The devil, the serpent of Eden, sought from the beginning to destroy God's work and discredit His Word. The foe tempted Eve, leading her to doubt the Word, asking her, "Did God actually say...?" (Genesis 3:1b). Adam and Eve disobeyed the command of God, bringing sin and death into the world. The first man and woman knew guilt and shame. Their relationships with God, with one another, and with creation were shattered. The serpent was cursed. Yet within God's dreadful announcement of sin's curse lay the seed of a promise. God said to the serpent, "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" (Genesis 3:15). The Offspring of the woman would struggle in a bruising conflict with the serpent.
The foe was warned of the bruising battle to come. Just as he hated the Word of God at creation's beginning, the devil attempted to discredit and destroy Jesus, the Word made flesh. The evil foe tempted Jesus in the wilderness but, unlike Adam and Eve, Jesus did not surrender to temptation. Satan gathered his forces against the Son of God as Jesus' opponents continually challenged Him and "plotted how to entangle Him in His words" (Matthew 22:15b). Jesus called people to believe and drove out demons, who recognized and feared Him. They knew what lay ahead for them, asking Jesus, "What have You to do with us, O Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?" (Matthew 8:29b). The serpent and his legions apparently knew the outcomes of the battle with the woman's Offspring but, true to their fallen nature, they were going to go down fighting.
Finally, the foe's plan appeared to succeed. Jesus was betrayed, tried, and condemned to death. Perhaps Satan, that ancient serpent, was triumphant when "the Lord of creation was nailed to the tree." After all, the promised woman's Offspring, the Son of God so feared by the legions of hell, now hung, bruised and dead, on a cross. "But short was their triumph"—just three days. Jesus, the Son of God, rose from the dead. The serpent fell in defeat, bruised and crushed, at the nail-scarred feet of the woman's Offspring. By His death, Jesus destroyed "the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil" (Hebrews 2:14b). Now "the conquering Lord lifts His banner on high; He lives, yes, He lives, and will nevermore die!" The promise made so long ago in Eden has been fulfilled.
WE PRAY: Crucified and risen Lord, with faith in Your Name, I too will conquer death! Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn "He's Risen, He's Risen," which is number 480 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. When you are tempted to do something you shouldn't, how do you resist?
2. How are you comforted by the words of Genesis 3:15? What does this text say to you?
3. How did Jesus ultimately conquer the serpent in the garden?
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"