Gracefully Truthful

Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Hebrews 2:14-18

Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through his death he might destroy the one holding the power of death—that is, the devil—15 and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that he does not reach out to help angels, but to help Abraham’s offspring.17 Therefore, he had to be like his brothers and sisters in every way, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in matters pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 For since he himself has suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.

The Original Intent

1) How does the death of Jesus destroy the one holding the power of death, the devil? (verse 14)

Hebrews 2:14 tells us Jesus’ death destroys the devil and the power of death he holds; this is an immense victory! The Greek term for destroy, katargeo, means to “nullify or to bring to nothing.” (Preceptaustin.org.) This means Jesus defeated the work of the devil through His work on the cross once and for all. 

Why did it take the death of Jesus to destroy the devil?  When Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross, it was to take the punishment for our sins on Himself, even though He was blameless without sin. The act of Christ bearing our sins, and forgiving them, allowed us to be in right relationship with God.

Pastor John Piper declares, “If your sin is forgiven, and the wrath of God Almighty is turned away from you, then the devil is disarmed. The one deadly, lethal tactic he has is to accuse you of sin and keep you sinning and to keep you away from Christ who forgives sin and removes the wrath of God.” 

When Jesus offered Himself up to death, He took away the enemy’s right to accuse those who have been washed clean of their sins by the blood of Christ. Those who accept Jesus’ gift of salvation, made available by His death on the cross, are no longer slaves to the fear of death (Hebrews 2:15) because Christ has given them eternal life.

The Everyday Application

1) How does the death of Jesus destroy the one holding the power of death, the devil? (verse 14)

Is it just me, or does our culture have a preoccupation with death? The show The Walking Dead had a remarkable following, and even my own favorite British novel has been reimagined as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies!

There are countless movies, songs, poems, and books about death and dying. Death, and the uncertainty it brings, monopolizes much of our art and culture because it is one of our biggest fears. BUT for those who are saved by God’s grace, the fear of death has no hold on us. When Jesus died on the cross to save us, he destroyed the power Satan had over death.

Of course, Christians still die, but they have no need to fear dying, for those in Christ, death is nothing to fear because we have an eternal home with Jesus. Even though our bodies die, Jesus says we will live with Him. (John 11:25) He promises us eternal life when we trust Him and the forgiving, redemptive work He did on the cross. (John 3:16)

The Apostle Paul tells us death cannot separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38) and that God has swallowed up death in victory. (1 Corinthians 15:54) No matter what the countless horror movies and sad songs tell us about the power of death, those of us whose lives “have been hidden with Christ in God” have no need to fear! (Colossians 3:3)

The Original Intent

2Why did Jesus need to be “like his brothers and sisters in every way” to make atonement for their sins? (verse 17)

Hebrews 2:14-17 tells us Jesus does not “reach out to help angels” (spiritual beings), but to “help humans” so, He had to be like us, putting on human flesh, in order to become our merciful and faithful high priest, making atonement for our sin. He needed to become human so He could become the propitiation for human sins.

The sin problem we all have is a human problem. For it to be forgiven, a human was needed to live our life perfectly in our human flesh for us. Of course, only God could be perfect, which is why Jesus came as God in the flesh. If Jesus wasn’t God, it would be impossible for Him to live the human life perfectly.

Pastor R.C. Sproul  asserts that “No mere creature could save us but only a human being free from the stain of original and actual sin. Our Creator provided this Mediator by sending His Son. Taking a human nature, the Son of God became incarnate as the man Christ Jesus, our Savior who is both truly God and truly human.”

Only Jesus could reach across the divide between God and man, separated by man’s sin, and restore us to the Father. It had to be the flesh and blood man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5) to act as the mediator between man and God because only Jesus He was both fully man and fully God. (Romans 8:38) No one but Jesus could take all of our sins on Himself and redeem us to present us blameless before the Father. (Colossians 1:22)

It was necessary for Jesus to be like us so He could effectively take on our blame for our sin.  We are forever grateful for Jesus coming into the world as both God and man to save us from our sins through His redeeming work on the cross!

The Everyday Application

2Why did Jesus need to be “like his brothers and sisters in every way” to make atonement for their sins? (verse 17)

When you stop and think about the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross, it is humbling.  That He would choose the Father’s plan for our redemption over His own desire to let the cup of sorrow pass from Him is staggering. (Matthew 26:39) It makes my grumbling and complaining about choosing to follow the precepts in His Word sound trite and ungracious in comparison.

His entire journey on earth was lived out in humility and obedience to His Heavenly Father. He came into the world as a tiny baby born into a simple, unassuming family. He chose to come as a helpless infant, truly becoming just like us in every way. (verse 17) He submitted himself to parents, teachers, and rabbis, allowing them to teach Him and mentor Him, even though He created them and numbered every hair on their heads. (Luke 12:7)

He experienced human emotions (Matthew 27:46) and suffered the pull of temptation (verse 18) so He could empathize with us and help us when we faced the same things. He came to earth, God incarnate (in flesh), so He could become our Deliverer. Author David Guzik explains, “For Jesus to truly fulfill the role of “Elder Brother” for the family of the redeemed, He had to take on flesh and blood. He had to enter into the prison to free the captives.”

God’s plan was for His Son to come in the flesh, so He could take on our sins and save us from them, by shedding His blood on our behalf. His atonement washed us clean, and it is His role as our Redeemer that gives us access to God. 

The Original Intent

3) How does Jesus’ experience with suffering temptation help others who are tempted? (verse 18)

The Bible tells us Jesus, the Son of God, suffered temptations. One specific time was when Jesus had been fasting and praying for 40 days and the devil tested Him in the desert. (Matthew 4:1)

Even though Jesus suffered every temptation known to man, He never gave in to any temptation and remained entirely sinless. (Hebrews 4:15Verse 18 tells us since Jesus suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help others being tempted. One way He helps us is by being an example to us in the midst of our tempting pull to give in to sin. Writer Thomas Constable declares, “As our priest, Jesus Christ can help us because He has undergone the same trials we experience (in body, mind, and emotions) and has emerged victorious.”

Because Jesus was able to overcome temptation, we have the capability to withstand temptation as well.  Because His power as God dwells within us in the form of the Holy Spirit, we can resist sin’s tempting allure! R. C. Sproul asserts, “In His humanity, He also gained an experiential knowledge of temptation, one that enables Him to sympathize with us in our frailties and, as our Mediator, to give us what we need out of His entire person to fortify us against evil.”

The Bible also tells us Jesus provides a way out of every temptation we suffer. (1 Corinthians 10:13) He has compassion on us and helps us by making a way of escape to flee every temptation to sin that we face.

I am thankful that one benefit of God coming to earth in human form is that He knows what we are facing and how to help us because He faced it, too.

The Everyday Application

3) How does Jesus’ experience with suffering temptation help others who are tempted? (verse 18)

It is interesting how much we benefit from talking to someone who has been in our shoes and had similar experiences.  I used to seek out books, blogs, and articles by homeschool moms who also worked part-time. These moms experientially knew my time management struggles and home school hacks I needed!

It’s for similar reasons Jesus suffered every temptation a human could experience. (verse 15) We can enjoy a deeper relationship with Him because He knows what it is like to live the human experience. It is easier to resist temptation knowing that God incarnate resisted the same thing. (John 17:5) Jesus was fully God, but He was also fully man.  Author Phillip Hughes notes that Christ’s “conquest of temptation, while ensuring His sinlessness, in fact increased rather than diminished His fellow feeling, since He knows the full force of temptation in a manner that we who have not withstood it to the end cannot know it.”

Jesus not only suffered every temptation, but He conquered every temptation so we could also experience the same victory of triumph in His name and His power!

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