from Hebrew shulammit,
“woman of Jerusalem”
is the central figure in the Song of Solomon
In Genesis 3
God metes out various judgments against those who
brought sin into His perfect world.
and the serpent all hear of the consequences of their rebellion.
To the serpent God says, in part,
“And I will put enmity between thee and
and between thy seed and
it shall bruise
and thou shalt bruise his heel”
(Genesis 3:15, KJV).
Even in this judgment,
there is mercy.
God’s curse on the serpent, in particular, was laced with words of hope.
The woman mentioned in Genesis 3:15 is Eve.
The serpent, addressed directly, is the animal that Satan
used to deceive the woman.
Some of the curse was directed at the animal (verse 14); at the same time, the curse of God falls upon Satan, who had taken the
serpent’s form or body in Eden
(cf. the dragon in Revelation 12:9).
As part of the curse, enmity—mutual hatred and ill will—will exist between the woman and the serpent. Later, the same enmity will continue between the woman’s seed or offspring (mankind in general, since Eve is the “mother of all living,” Genesis 3:20) and the serpent’s seed.
Their offspring will remain enemies throughout all generations.
The serpent’s (metaphorical) offspring are demonic forces and also those people who follow the devil and accomplish his will.
Jesus called the Pharisees
a “brood of vipers” in Matthew 12:34 and said they belonged to
their “father, the devil” in John 8:44.
In short, God says that Satan will always be the enemy of mankind.
It follows that people who side with Satan will be at perpetual war with God’s elect and that we are engaged in a very real battle between good and evil (Ephesians 6:12).
Genesis 3:15 is a remarkable verse, often called the protoevangelium (literally, “first gospel”), because it is the Bible’s first prediction of a Savior. The second half of the verse gives two messianic prophecies concerning that Savior:
The first messianic prophecy
in Genesis 3:15 is that “he will crush your head.”
That is, the seed of the woman will crush the serpent’s head. The Amplified Bible makes it clear that “the woman’s seed” is more than mankind in general; it is an individual representing all mankind:
“And I will put enmity (open hostility)
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed (offspring) and her Seed;
He shall [fatally] bruise your head.”
The second messianic prophecy in Genesis 3:15 is that “you will strike his heel.” That is, the serpent will bite the heel of “the woman’s seed.” The heel-bite is set in contrast to the head-crush, as the Amplified Bible brings out: “And you shall [only] bruise His heel.”
This passage points to the
promise of Jesus’ birth,
His victory over Satan.
The woman’s offspring is Jesus. Being virgin-born, He is literally the offspring of a woman (Matthew 1:25; Galatians 4:4; cf. Isaiah 7:14). Being the Son of Man, He is the perfect representative of humankind. The devil’s offspring were the evil men and demonic forces who, like a snake, lay in wait for the Savior and struck at Him. Their venomous conspiracy condemned Jesus to be crucified.
But the serpent’s strike did not spell the end of the Offspring of the woman. Jesus rose the third day, breaking the power of death and winning the ultimate victory. With the cross, Jesus “crushed” the devil’s head, defeating him forever. So, in Genesis 3:15, the crushing of the serpent’s head was a picture of Jesus’ triumph over sin and Satan at the cross (cf. John 12:31). The striking of the Messiah’s heel was a picture of the wounding and death of Jesus on the cross. Satan bruised Jesus’ “heel,” but Jesus showed complete dominance over Satan by bruising his “head.”
Satan, although still active in this world, is a defeated foe. His doom is sure: “And the devil . . . was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur” (Revelation 20:10). Until that time, there remains enmity between Satan and God’s children.
The protoevangelium shows us that God always had the plan of salvation in mind and informed us of His plan as soon as sin entered the world. Satan formulated a plan involving the serpent in Eden, but God was way ahead of him, having already ordained the Serpent-crusher. Jesus Christ perfectly fulfilled God’s mission:
“The reason the Son of God
appeared was to destroy the devil’s work”
(1 John 3:8).
The Lion of the tribe of Judah is a symbol found in Genesis and Revelation. In Genesis, Jacob blesses his son Judah, referring to him and his future tribe as a lion’s cub and a lion (Genesis 49:9). In Revelation, this symbol is seen again when the Lion of the tribe of Judah is declared to have triumphed and is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals (Revelation 5:5). Jesus is the One who is worthy to open the scroll (see John 5:22). Therefore, Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
In Genesis, as Jacob blesses his children, he promises Judah that his brothers will praise him and that they will bow down to him. Jacob also tells Judah, “You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?” (Genesis 49:9). Jacob says that in the future the scepter and ruler’s staff will not depart from Judah “until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be His” (Genesis 49:10). This messianic prophecy points forward to the second coming of the Lord Jesus,
the descendant of Judah who will rule the earth
Based on Jacob’s blessing, the lion is a symbol of the tribe of Judah, which is known as the kingly tribe (King David was of the tribe of Judah). Lions symbolize power, fierceness, and majesty. Lions are the king of the beasts, and the Lion of the tribe of Judah is the king of everything. In the Old Testament, God is sometimes described as being like a lion. In Isaiah 31:4, just “as a lion growls, a great lion over its prey—and though a whole band of shepherds is called together against it, it is not frightened by their shouts . . . so the LORD Almighty will come down to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights.” The Lord is not afraid of His enemies. He protects His people and does not allow them to be conquered. In Hosea, God is angry at Israel because they became proud and forgot Him. God says, “I will be like a lion to them. . . . like a lion I will devour them. . . . You are destroyed, Israel, because you are against me, against your helper” (Hosea 13:7–8). It is better to experience the help and protection of the Lion than to deny His kingship and face His fierceness.
In Revelation 5, Jesus is the long-awaited Lion of the tribe of Judah. John weeps because no one was found worthy to open the scroll of God’s judgment or even to look inside it. Then one of the elders says to John, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals” (Revelation 5:4–5). Both of the genealogies in Matthew and Luke record that Jesus is a descendant of the tribe of Judah. When Jesus is revealed as the promised Lion of the tribe of Judah, it reveals His deity. He is the true king and the One to whom belongs the long-awaited obedience of nations. Yet it is not His fierceness or the force of His power that makes Him worthy. The Lion has triumphed because He became a Lamb (Revelation 5:6–10; cf. John 1:29). Jesus Christ is worthy because He lived a perfect, sinless life and in shedding His blood defeated sin and death. His death and resurrection have resulted in a protection for His people and an eternal kingdom that will honor and worship God. Ruling this kingdom will be Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
The phrase my cup runneth over is the King James Version’s wording of Psalm 23:5. Other versions say “my cup overflows.” A cup runs over when it cannot hold all that is being poured into it. The emphasis of Psalm 23is the Good Shepherd’s loving care for His sheep (cf. John 10:11, 14). The Lord not only gives His people what they need (Psalm 23:1–2), but He supplies abundance in the midst of difficult times (verse 5). This abundance is not limited to material blessings under the Old Covenant, but it also includes the Holy Spirit’s future outpouring upon all who ask (Luke 11:13; Acts 2:1–4).
The Bible emphasizes the excessive love, blessing, and power that God desires to pour out on those who love Him (Malachi 3:10; Lamentations 3:22; Psalm 108:4). Jesus reflected God’s generosity when He said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Paul continues that theme in Ephesians 3:20 and describes God as the One “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” Romans 8:37 promises that we are “more than conquerors through Him who loves us.” The message echoed in each passage is that of God’s excessive grace and provision for every area of our lives. He is not stingy, nor are His blessings confined to temporal things. In Christ we can have overflowing joy, overflowing love, and overflowing peace. We can bear everlasting fruit for God’s kingdom, and we can overcome impossible challenges when the Holy Spirit fills our hearts until our “cup runneth over.”
The Bible records many mighty things done when people were filled with (i.e., controlled by) the Holy Spirit (Exodus 31:2–3; Ezekiel 43:5; Luke 1:67; Acts 4:31). We are urged to be filled with the Spirit as well (Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:16, 25). However, as a glass cannot be filled with milk if it is already filled with mud, we cannot be filled with the Spirit when we are already filled with sin, pride, or self-will. Before we can be filled to overflowing, we must be willing to empty ourselves of everything that would hinder the Spirit’s working in our lives. It is only when our hearts are filled with God that we can accomplish all He desires to do in and through us. His grace knows no limits for those whose hearts are wholly His (2 Chronicles 16:9a). He desires to fill us with His Spirit until our cup runneth over.
There is no way to know for certain why Jesus chose a wedding in Cana to perform His first miracle (John 2:1–11). We can hypothesize, however, and we have some Old Testament prophecies to help us piece together some possibilities.
It seems that
Jesus’ family had close connections
to the event in Cana
The fact that Jesus’ mother, Mary, is concerned with the lack of wine
suggests that she was involved in the planning
and organization of the wedding.
The fact that after the wedding Jesus’ brothers travel with Him to Capernaum (John 2:13) indicates that Jesus’ whole family was present for the wedding. Could the wedding have been that of a relative of Jesus or a family friend? It is quite possible. Such a connection would explain Jesus’ presence at the wedding but not His decision to perform His first miracle there.
One consideration is that of honor. In those days, family honor was of vital importance. Weddings usually lasted for seven days, during which time food and wine supplied by the bride’s and groom’s families flowed freely. To run out of either implied a thoughtless or impoverished host. Running out of wine would bring dishonor upon the family name. As a personal favor, Mary turned to her divine Son for help. Her family was about to be shamed in the community, and she knew her Son could do something about it.
Jesus’ earthly ministry had begun at His baptism by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:16–17; Mark 1:9–12). The wedding occurred over a month later after Jesus had gathered about half of His disciples (John 1:43). Although He had never performed a miracle in public, it was time to demonstrate who He was.
It is interesting that the quality of wine He supplied was superior to anything that had been served thus far (John 2:10). The quality of the wine stunned the host. The miracle made a strong impression on Jesus’ new disciples, teaching them from the start that He could take care of them (Isaiah 46:4; Matthew 6:8).
Jesus’ creation of wine may be significant, prophetically. Jeremiah had foretold that in the Messianic age “they will rejoice in the bounty of the LORD—the grain, the new wine . . .” (Jeremiah 31:12). Amos said that Israel “will plant vineyards and drink their wine” (Amos 9:14). The association of the Messiah with a time of plenty—including freely flowing wine—makes Jesus’ first miraculous sign all the more meaningful.
The fact that the miracle was performed at a wedding is also significant. By His attendance, Jesus places His stamp of approval on the marriage covenant, and with His miracle He shows from whence the blessings in a marriage spring. The love and joy inherent in a wedding ceremony are also characteristic of the ministry of Christ, who came into this world because of love (John 3:16) and brought joy to all who believe (Luke 2:10). Also, Jesus may have chosen this family situation to perform this miracle because it is something everyone in every culture can relate to. An ordinary setting became the showcase for His supernatural power. Perhaps that is another lesson He wants us to learn from it. He wants to do something supernatural in the everyday events of our lives, as well.