Hebrews 2:5-18 February 16, 2020 Jesus > Everything
We do serve at times at the altar of chronological snobbery, as C.S. Lewis called our historical short-sightedness. We assume we would never done some of the things those dolts back in the day did or - how could they think so primitively? We, however, are so much more enlightened and smarter than all previous generations. This attitude is a hallmark attitude in our institutions of “higher” learning these days. And I refer to them as higher only because of their price tags.
But I think reading Hebrews while humbly attempting to consider where the collective thought of the day was on each of these particular subjects, opens our minds to understand the importance of them more. It also helps us appreciate the legacy that’s been left to us in this book. We are the beneficiaries of two thousand years of education and theology along with the finished work of the word of God in our hands as personal copies. Without these benefits, we may be surprised at how similarly we would have reacted to Jesus and His cross as the folks in the first century (that first century that lasted through the year 100). So for people today who do not have the collective background of understanding we are blessed to have, we must find ways to begin to communicate it and help them see.
Clearly, one of these areas is this fear of death mentioned in verse 14. The devil had the power of death and with it, the grip of this pending doom that enslaved everyone. There was no rebounding from death – that’s it. That possibility was not yet part of their thinking. Today, because of Jesus’ resurrection being part of our pre-understanding of how life is, along with other endless imaginings of what life after death might look like for both people and dogs, we almost don’t take it seriously enough. Or we make a lot of assumptions about life after death. This is exactly why paying closer attention to what we have been taught is so essential. This is exactly why Jesus had to become flesh and blood and suffer death (the penalty of sin and the devil’s claim on us). Death reigned from Adam to the second Adam, Jesus. The fear of death was complete. When one died, there was no hope past the grave – because it was true, death’s grip was final. JESUS BECAME AS ONE OF US SO THAT HE COULD OVERCOME DEATH ONCE AND FOR ALL FOR ALL TO SEE!
There is only one source of overcoming death because He is the only who ever has. There is of course now a growing number of myths and fictional stories being invented told so that we might latch onto other false hopes. Some alternative to the real savior will always be conjured up so we can avoid the moral responsibility that goes in lock step with accepting Jesus’ death and resurrection. After all he died BECAUSE OF WHAT SIN HAD DONE TO US. How could a solution avoid that or a continuing approval of it?