Hebrews 2:14, 15
For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same…
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers, etc.
I. THE GREAT FACT OF THE INCARNATION OF THE SON OF GOD. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same." These words suggest:
1. The reality of our Lord's human nature. He partook of our flesh and blood. His body was real, and not merely phenomenal. His physical experiences - e.g., weariness, hunger, thirst, pain, death - were real, not pretended. His human soul also, with its sympathies and antipathies, was genuine.
2. A peculiarity of our Lord's human nature. His human nature was voluntarily assumed. He partook of flesh and blood. We could not apply these words to Moses or to St. Paul without manifest absurdity. We had no choice as to whether we should be or not be, or what we should be; whether we should exist at all, or, if we were to exist, what form of existence should be ours. But he had. We were brought into this world without our will; he "came into the world" of his own will. "He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant." This implies:
(1) His existence before his incarnation. "His goings forth were from of old, from everlasting."
(2) His power over his own existence. He could take upon himself what form of existence he pleased. He had power over his life. He had "power to lay it down, and power to take it again."
(3) His deep interest in human existence. "He was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor," etc.
II. THE GRAND DESIGN OF THE INCARNATION OF THE SON OF GOD. "That through death he might bring to nought him that," etc.
1. Our Lord became man in order that he might die. All other men die because they are human, and their death is unavoidable; but he assumed our nature for the express purpose of acquiring the capability of death. His death was of stupendous importance. He looked forward to it; he preannounced it to his disciples; he deliberately advanced to it; he voluntarily endured it.
2. Our Lord died in order that he might vanquish death. "That through death he might bring to nought him that had," etc. He does this
(1) By the abolition of Satan's power over death. Satan may be said to have the power of death, inasmuch as:
(a) Death, as we know it, is the result of sin, and he introduced sin into our world, and is actively engaged in propagating it. "The sting of death is sin." But for sin, it might have been "a gentle wafting to immortal life."
(b) He kindles the passions which lead on to death; e.g. anger and revenge, which often result in murder; lust of territory, which often causes war, etc.
(c) He inspires the mind with terror in the anticipation of death. The gloomy and dreadful ideas which are frequently associated with death are probably suggested by him. Our Lord died to render this power of Satan ineffective, and in this respect to bring him to nought. How his death effects this we will inquire shortly.
(2) By the emancipation of man from the thraldom of the dread of death. Men recoil in alarm from death for several reasons; e.g.:
(a) The supposed anguish of dying. A good Christian who was drawing near to the river of death said, "I have no doubt of going to heaven; but oh, the crossing, the crossing!
(b) The painful separations which death causes. Tennyson truly expresses the feeling of many in this respect -
For this alone on Death I wreak
The wrath that garners in my heart;
He puts our lives so far apart
We cannot hear each other speak."
(c) The appalling mystery as to what lies beyond death-
"The dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns."
(d) The solemn judgment to which it leads. "It is appointed unto men once to die, and after that, judgment." The dread of death, for these and other reasons, holds men in bondage, enslaves them; they cannot shake it off. Our Lord died to set them free from this thraldom. But how does his death effect this? He was "manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." As an atonement for sin, his death removes the guilt of all who heartily believe on him. Death is no longer penal to them. For them "the sting of death" is taken away. Again, since Christ died and rose again from the dead, death wears a new aspect to the Christian. It is no longer the end of our existence, but an onward and upward step in our existence. It means not repression, but development; not loss, but gain; not the way to darkness and misery, but to light and joy. Death to the Christian is no longer "the king of terrors," but the kind servant of the Lord and Giver of life.
Death is the crown of life:
Were death denied, poor man would live in vain;
Were death denied, to live would not be life;
Were death denied, even fools would wish to die.
Death wounds to cure; we fall, we rise, we reign!
Spring from our fetters; fasten in the skies,
Where blooming Eden withers in our sight.
Death gives us more than was in Eden lost.
This king of terrors is the prince of peace."
(Young.) Thus, by his own voluntary death, the Son of God brings to nought Satan's power of death, and sets free the captives of the dread of death. Death itself remains, but its character and aspect to the Christian are completely changed. The evil of death is vanquished, and transformed into blessing. "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." - W. J.
Parallel VersesKJV: Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
WEB: Since then the children have shared in flesh and blood, he also himself in the same way partook of the same, that through death he might bring to nothing him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,