Prequel: Genesis 1-3 Creation
There is something awesome about new beginnings. It doesn't matter if its a new school year, new car smell, or a new pair of socks new is usually pretty sweet.
And so, with a new year beginning it's fitting for us to look at THE BEGINNING in Genesis.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good.
Genesis 1.1-4 ESV
Everyone knows this verse. I think I read this and there is already so much Jesus in this verse, even from the very beginning. The obvious parallel comes in John 1.1-5 which was clearly written to show how Jesus has been there from the beginning.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1.1-5 ESV
How does this work? Well, in Genesis 1 the word used for God in Hebrew is "Elohim" which is by far the most common term used for God in the OT. "Elohim" can also be translated as "Gods" meaning gods in plurality. Now, this doesn't mean there are many Gods, but even here in the opening verses of the Bible we see hints and shadows of Jesus. Sure, it doesn't get cleared up fully until John 1, but that is the nature of Jesus fulfilling the OT. He's always there but we don't always see him right away...kinda like a spiritual Where's Waldo.
WHERE IS JESUS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?
Three Ways: 1. Jesus Creates 2. Jesus DESIRES to create something from nothing 3. Jesus Creates Light
1. JESUS CREATES
John goes out of his way to be clear that Jesus creates (1.1). God didn't make anything without Jesus being involved. He was not consulted after the fact but initiated the entire process. In fact the greek word "ginomai" which the ESV translates as "made" is really the idea of "coming into being" and the Hebrew word in Genesis is the word "bara" meaning "to create" which is different than "to fashion" or "to make" because it implies that it didn't exist before you created it. Basically, Jesus didn't work off someone else's work he made something out of nothing. God/Jesus is not limited to what had been done before (aka nothing) and is unabashedly excited about creating. So often I limit Jesus to what has been done before in my life, and say "you couldn't do that." Whether it's my lack of compassion on people or people that I hope to become Christians, I can come up with a reason to say, "that isn't possible." This is where Jesus cracks his knuckles and whips up the amazing. Jesus creates and has created from the beginning.
2. JESUS DESIRES TO CREATE SOMETHING FROM NOTHING
Something that stands out to me here is that the Earth was void (1.2). It was nothing special. The grand canyon didn't exist yet. And yet God/Jesus DESIRED to create something from nothing. He didn't ignore the empty and he didn't pass on the vacant lot that was Earth. He saw it and desired to create, and not just create but create something GOOD. To me I begin to see the daring character of Jesus emerging. When things seem hopeless or maybe even a waster of time, Jesus doesn't step in, he cannonballs into the void to create something GOOD. There is encouragement and conviction for me. Encouragement: Jesus wants to create something GOOD out of me even when I am empty or worse, spectacularly unspectacular. Conviction: Do I desire to do the same thing? I ignore people and situations that I consider mundane. I often only dream for people when I see them being capable of something great and then limit how much I think God can do in someone's life. How un-Jesus-like of me to wash my hands of the empty. I want to see him create something out of nothing.
3. JESUS CREATES LIGHT
Ok, so I feel like its been raining for a month. Seriously, wherever I have been for the last two weeks it has rained for at least a portion of the day. I miss the sun. I don't think I appreciate it that when Jesus/God was creating, they didn't have to create light (1.16-18). They could have left us in the dark. I mean Jesus/God can't create evil things, but he didn't have to create things that were Good and he definitely didn't have to create things in his image (1.27). I mean we were created to be a representation of God/Jesus himself! He didn't have to do that! And when we fell to sin, eating the fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil he didn't have to continue to try and find a way to save us. But look here in Genesis 3, after the serpent (Satan) deceives Adam and Eve and they bring about the Fall of God's GOOD creation, God still has the steel in his spine to say:
"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.” . Genesis 3.14-15 ESV
Here, even here after God's perfect creation falls due to rebellion to him, he still is looking to redeem his creation. And here, not even three chapters into the Bible, the stage is beginning to be built for Jesus. Hints and faint glimmers of his theme music begin playing in the background. No one knows it's him yet. No one knows how the woman's offspring will trample of the head of the serpent, but God knows, and now we do too. Where Jesus goes he creates light. Jesus undoes the evil we do by bringing light into the picture.
Wow, that's a lot of Jesus in the first three chapters of this amazing book. What a way to start!