April 14, 2020
The predictions of the death that COVID-19 would cause put incredible fear in the hearts of people. Some expanded the fear to say it was not a simple virus—fearing it was biological warfare of a conspiracy that released the virus on purpose. Fear does crazy stuff to our mental states and emotions, and that in turn affects our relationships, decisions, and daily activities.
One of the biggest realizations of COVID-19 for many people is the in-your-face realization that everyone is vulnerable to death. We are all going to die sometime, and fear of death has spread throughout not only America but literally the world. We have been forced to face something that we do our very best to deny or at least ignore. Some of the poorest people in the world have died from it, and some of the richest. Just this weekend a multi-billionaire who was a friend of President Trump died from it. The fact is we are all going to die sometime. Money or status has no effect on that. We are all going to spend forever somewhere.
This should cause a sense of urgency in all of us in two areas:
- Make sure that we are personally right with God. We need to be ready to live with His presence in our lives right now and be ready to meet Him without fear at a moment’s notice.
- Make sure we are living 1 Peter 3:15: We are ready to share the reason for our hope, doing it with gentleness and respect.
BIG TRUTH that underlies both of those goals: God does not want you to live with the fear of dying. That is one of the main reasons Jesus came to earth.
Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. Hebrews 2:14-16
Once we have been delivered from the fear of death, we need to be intentional in helping our family and friends experience this too. This gives us confidence and security. We can know with confidence that though everything may not be okay, we will be okay because God is with us.
Jesus Christ is not only our substitute, He is our Satan-conqueror. Somebody had to break Satan’s power over us, right? If we’re going to be free to live with God and experience what God has, somebody’s going to have to shatter the power that holds us down.
What is Satan’s power over us? Death. Death is Satan’s weapon. Sin is a part of it, but death is the ultimate weapon. If Satan can hang on to a man until he dies, he’s got him forever. So, death is his weapon. Somebody had to conquer death in order to conquer Satan and tear his weapon out of his hand.
Satan knew that God’s holiness required death because of sin. Satan knew that as in Adam, all died; that death had entered as a principle unto life. He knew that men would die and go from God’s presence forever. How are we going to break Satan’s power? Simple. Conquer death, right? If you’ve got a greater weapon than him, his weapon is useless. You can’t fight against a machine gun with a bow and arrow. If all Satan’s got is death and God’s got something greater, then Satan’s weapon is useless.
Jesus provided something better than death. And what could be better than death? Life. Jesus destroyed death. That’s exactly what it means in verse 14: “…only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.”
It was through death that Jesus destroyed Satan’s power of death. He went into death and came out the other side and showed that He could conquer it. Then He said, “Because I live, you shall live also.” He left the door open. The resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us the way to eternal life. It’s the only thing that could have done it.
Jesus became human so that He would be able to identify with each of us. Jesus died and smashed Satan’s power on our behalf. Revelation 1:18 says that Jesus Christ recovered the keys of hell and death. And so, Jesus became the death of death.
Humans are all their life subject to the bondage of the fear of death. It’s a fear. It’s a horrible fear. It’s the king of terrors. But when we receive Jesus Christ, we’re released from the bondage of the fear of death. Like Paul you can say, “To live is Christ, and to die, promotion.” Death simply releases us to the presence of Jesus Christ. We are no longer in fear of death. Why? Because Jesus has conquered it. We’ve placed our hands in the hands of Christ.
But He is able also to sympathize. The Hebrew writer goes on to say, “Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.” Hebrews 2:14-18 NLT
He came to save us, and also to help those who are tempted. He wanted to feel everything we ever felt so he could be a merciful and faithful high priest. You see, He came not only to save us, but He came to sympathize with us. He felt everything you will ever feel. He felt it to the highest degree, because the one who never gives in to temptation feels temptation to its extreme on every occasion. Jesus never sinned; therefore, He took the full shot of every single temptation that ever came and felt every pain that you and I will ever feel.
That’s amazing. We have an all-powerful Savior who defeated death, and a compassionate Savior who feels and cares.
Jesus, I thank You for being everything a Savior needs to be. I want to thank You for a Savior who died my death, who leads me to God, who leaves nothing undone, who feels the pain as I feel it, who hurts where I hurt, who sympathizes with me with tenderness and love. I want to thank You for a Savior who conquered Satan and who was victorious for me. I thank You that we will spend this life together, and eternity as well. Amen.