Jesus the Christ was born on Christmas Day, but that is not the beginning of the story.
The coming of Jesus was foretold throughout the Old Testament. The prophets announced throughout Israel’s history that a Messiah would come. But even that is not the beginning of the story.
We could argue that the Easter Story begins with us. After all, our sins are the reason Jesus came. We are the ones being connecting back to God through Jesus’ death and resurrection. We are the reason for the Easter Story. But I don’t think that is the beginning of the story either.
The need for a savior is first manifested in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve go against God’s only command. “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die… Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?’” (Genesis 2:16-17,3:1). We know from the passages that follow and from the intent of this serpent that this is no ordinary serpent. This is not one of God’s good creations. This is the Great Deceiver and the Great Tempter, masquerading as a lowly serpent. No one but Satan would prod God’s good creation to question God’s authority, wisdom, guidance, and love.
Eve and then Adam made humankind’s biggest mistake – they listened to Satan’s whispering and went against God’s command. Indeed, as Satan had suggested, Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened to good and evil, but at a terrible cost. Sin was unleashed into the world, and they were powerless to escape it. They hid. They covered themselves with leaves. But the release of sin was not something they could erase. It would be passed down, generation to generation. Every generation would be just as powerless as the last to staunch the rush of sin.
Except that God made a promise – even then. Although Satan would wield sin, it would not overcome us. Somewhere down through the generations, an offspring would crush Satan’s head. “You shall bruise His heel,” God told Satan. “But He will bruise your head (Genesis 3:15b). For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22).
So we see that God’s promise came first in the Garden of Eden. But even that is not the beginning of the story.
It is John who tells us where the Easter Story truly begins. In the beginning, John wrote, was the Word. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God… the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-2,14).
Jesus was in the beginning with God! Jesus was God! God is the beginning of the Easter Story. Consider for a moment what that means.
We can feel our need for the Easter Story in our own failures. We can hear the promise of the Easter Story in the Garden of Eden and in the prophets’ proclamations. We can witness the Easter Story in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. But we can trace the beginning of the Easter Story to only one place. The beginning of the Easter Story is God. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him might not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).
The Easter Story does not begin with us reaching out to God, or even with God becoming one of us. It begins with God himself. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).
Thanks be to God. For He is the beginning of the Easter Story.
In the beginning, God… (Genesis 1:1)