Six-year-old Katie is sleeping soundly in her room. At once, an unfamiliar thud echoes from the basement. Katie shoots up, clutching her blanket and teddy bear as her eyes strain to adjust to the blackness. Fear gripping her senses, her quivering voice musters the courage to utter a one-word plea for help.
Katie’s father enters the room. With calmness in his voice and kindness in his eyes, he assures his precious daughter that everything is okay and that the noise was just the new washing machine he and mommy had bought a few days ago. He reminds her that he will always be there to protect her kisses her forehead. Her mind now at peace, Katie drifts back into her dreams.
For many of us, fear is a paralyzing part of life. It clouds our minds and cripples our senses. Whether snakes, ghosts, clowns, or public speaking, we all have those things that scare us to death.
But what of death itself? Even that phrase, “scared to death,” suggests that death is perhaps the scariest thing of all. We don’t know what exactly happens, when it happens, what it feels like, and, most importantly, what happens next.
In Hebrews chapter two, our author continues his establishment of the supremacy of Jesus introduced in chapter one. Jesus is more than a good teacher, a great fisherman, or an aquatic acrobat. He is fully God, “the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3a, b). As if this were not enough, Jesus is also the Savior. He is the one who substituted himself on our behalf and paid the debt we owed God for our sin by suffocating to death on a cross. God then raised him from the dead, which guarantees that the sacrifice was sufficient, and for the one who repents and believes, eternal life awaits.
The Savior component of Jesus deserves a second look, especially considering what the Bible says about death. The end of Hebrews 2:14 tells us who has the power of death, namely, the devil. Knowing who holds its power, in addition to all of death’s unknowns, creates a paralyzing type of fear that Hebrews 2:15 says results in “lifelong slavery.”
All would certainly be lost if it were not for God’s Son. At the beginning of Hebrews 2:14, we learn that Jesus put on flesh and blood and dwelt among us as a man to become our perfect Savior. In his coming, he did not merely remove the devil’s grip of death. He “destroyed the one who has the power over death” (Hebrews 2:14c). That language is intentional. The author intends to make clear that Jesus didn’t barely sneak out a win over the devil, but absolutely demolished him, which would make this a first-round, first-minute knockout. In his destroying of the evil one, Jesus delivered believers who “through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Hebrews 2:15).
Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, God’s only begotten Son, is our perfect Savior. He is our gracious rescuer, our sinless Superman, our dad who walks through the doorway and brings peace to a troubled mind in a dark room. He is triumphant over all evil and sovereign over all aspects of life. The knowledge of the supremacy of Jesus helps Christians in their battle over their fears. The snake is scary, but Jesus is greater. The medical news is frightening, but Christ is mightier. The approach of death is enslaving, but Jesus wins in the end. May we be comforted by the knowledge that our Lord sees us in our fear, extends to us his hand, and brings us into life forever with him.