Thursday in the Twenty-Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

Hebrews 2:14-16

To Deliver from the Fear of Death

Death.  It is the just reward for our sins, for “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).  It is that which everyone—rich and poor, kings and peasants, healthy and diseased—must experience.  No one is excluded.  Death is the great equalizer among men; indeed, it is the very reason we are called “mortals” (from the Latin, mors, mortis, “death”).  And, ironically, though it comes to all, it is the great unknown.  No one has come back to tell us about it, what it was like, how it felt, what exactly happened, and, most important, where did they go and what was it like.  Sensible people have always feared it; those who mocked it only betrayed their ignorant, braggadocious nature.

Returning to verse thirteen from yesterday, Jesus delivered unto the Father “the children God [had] given him.”  But how did he do this?  Well, there is something which all the children share, and that something is “flesh and blood,” or we might say, “humanity,” for when the Bible says, “flesh and blood,” the soul is not excluded but assumed by use of the literary trope, “synecdoche,” in which a part is made to represent a whole.  But I digress.  The Son delivers the children by sharing in that which the children share, that being flesh and blood.  And so the Son “partook of the same things,” which is the very heart of the doctrine of the Incarnation—that he became like us and was tempted as we are yet without sin (4:15).

And it is his living our life without sin that is not mentioned here but assumed as there would be no other reason for his sharing flesh and blood with us.  For he shares our flesh and blood to redeem us and that redemption is predicated upon his sinless life and offering.  And why is this?  Because it is his sinless offering of himself by which he “destroy[ed] the one who [had] the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver[ed] all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”  And this is all to say that he delivers us from both death and the fear of death by taking our sins upon himself, which was the very reason that we were subject both to death and the slavery to fear which accompanied it.  Sin brings eternal death; cleansing brings eternal life.  Death brings fear; life brings joy.

And this is why he is our High Priest.  He is both the one who offers and is offered, and not for angels but for his people, the children of Abraham by faith.  The Christian might not look upon death with glee, but he need not fear it, and not because he’s a braggart, but a child.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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