A question was asked in Sunday School regarding the reference to “heel” in Gen. 3:15: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” This is of course is what we call the first proclamation of the gospel as it refers to Christ’s ultimate victory over sin, Satan, and death through the cross and His subsequent resurrection.
The question had to do with Satan bruising Christ’s heel. Why “heel” as opposed to shin or knee or something else? After searching a bit, most commentators do not comment on this dynamic and the ones who do generally talk about the heel being the easiest part of the foot to reach (for Satan). My own thought has been spurred by a combination of things a couple of our church members said and the usage of the word heel in other parts of Scripture. The heel is that which one uses to put someone under his feet. It is used to trample or strike or crush. The heel or the foot is a symbol of power and authority. The earthly king is on a raised platform that his subjects may stare at his feet. He rules over them. Further, the bible says that Christ will put all enemies under His feet. He will make His enemies His footstool.
Now, Satan’s desire was to be as God and take power and authority to himself. If he could somehow conquer Christ, he would be eliminating God’s power and authority and Christ would be unable to put His enemies under His feet, that is, crush them with His heel. When Christ died on the cross, the Father turned His face away as the Just One died for the unjust by virtue of His being declared a sinner (though He had no sin of His own). There is a great mystery here but Christ did die. There’s a sense in which Satan struck a blow at His kingship and authority, but, to no avail. Satan bruised the heel of Christ but Christ in turn took it and crushed Satan’s head. After all, that’s how you kill a snake.
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