Text: Hebrews 2:10-18
As Christians, we must face the reality of death, but we must not give in to the fear of death. And with all the news of viruses and diseases, this is a timely encouragement. Times like these expose our hearts, what we’re trusting in, and who we believe is really in control of our lives.
The letter to the Hebrews was written to a small group of Jewish converts to Christianity who were being persecuted for their new faith in Christ. And living in a Roman society, they were not just being excluded or made fun of. They were living under the very real threat of being killed for their faith.
Understandably, some were not quite ready for that thought. Some were even tempted to leave the faith altogether. So God is delivering to them a very specific encouragement to them, and to us, how Jesus frees us from the fear of death.
First, Christians don’t have to fear death, because…
1. Jesus our Savior sanctifies us through suffering. (vv. 10-11a)
Everyone who was made, Jesus made them. And everyone who is saved, Jesus saved them. So, it’s fitting, that the one who made us and the one who saved us is also the one who became like us, becoming a man, living life in the flesh, and then suffering as we suffer, and even greater than we do, for our sake.
And yet, it says that Jesus was “made perfect” through suffering. Now, the writer is not saying that Jesus was imperfect and had to become perfect. He’s saying that through Christ’s obedience to the Father, by living out the sinless life and dying the substitutional death for us, Jesus fulfilled all righteousness. Jesus, the Second Adam, lived that perfection for us. He completed and fulfilled and exemplified what living a righteous life looks like.
Our weakness draws us closer to Jesus. That means our suffering is not a punishment, but a gift, unifying us with our Savior. We have fellowship with Him in our suffering. He knows us and we know Him. Seeing that takes away the fear of pain, because we know that God will use it for our good. Even now, Jesus is using your trial to sanctify you, to grow you in Him, and to unify us with Him and with each other.
2. Jesus our Elder Brother has adopted us into His eternal family. (vv. 11b-13)
When these early Christians trusted in Jesus and claimed Him as Messiah, their Jewish relatives disowned them, and would refuse to speak to them. Because of Jesus, these believers were being treated as orphans and outcasts. So the writer reminds them who their real family is.
Jesus not only saved us from sin, but through faith in Him, we are adopted into the family of God. Jesus is our big brother, the one who has gone before us, the one who became one of us.
We don’t have to be afraid of death because of the fear the unknown, or the fear of being alone or abandoned. God never abandons His children. We are His children, through Christ Jesus. And in Christ, death is not separation from God, it is to see God face-to-face. It is to be with God.
For all who trust in Christ, to depart this life is to gather with Him and all who trust in Christ. That’s our real family. That’s the real bloodline, the real family reunion, to gather with those who are united in Christ, who have been adopted into His family, and together give Him glory forever.
Finally, Christians don’t have to fear death because…
3. Jesus our Victor defeated death and the devil. (vv. 14-18)
Jesus not only defeated sin by remaining sinless, and then died to pay for our sins, but He also took back the authority and power of death from the devil. Jesus fought death to the death, and won – so that all who trust in Him are given the same victory over death, to know that the grave is not our final destination.
Jesus took back the keys of death and hell (Revelation 1:17-18). Therefore, we don’t have to fear the devil taking our lives. The devil has no authority over the life of a child of God. You don’t have to fear when you’ll die, or how you’ll die. God is sovereign over it all. He has numbered every one of your days, before you lived even one of them (Psalm 139:16).
You’re not going anywhere until God’s purposes are complete in your life. If you’re a follower of Jesus, He’s the one in charge of your life. Death can’t touch you until God is done with you here. That means death is not something that just happens to us by accident. For the Christian, death is the glorious moment that God says, “Your work here is done. Your purpose in this life has been fulfilled. Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter in to the joy of your Master.”
If you have trusted in the name of Jesus and surrendered your life to him, you have nothing to fear in death. You don’t have to fear judgment, because Jesus already took that judgment for you on the cross. You don’t have to fear falling short of God’s righteousness because you have already been given the perfect righteousness of Jesus. You don’t have to fear hell, because for all who trust in Jesus, you will be welcomed into heaven by Christ Himself.