Hebrews 2:14 Since, therefore, the children (of God) share flesh and blood, (Jesus) himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.
Verse 14 tells us that Jesus suffered death so that “he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil.” So what does it mean to say the devil “has the power of death”? My take is that the devil has power by virtue of suggestion, not the actual power of life and death (which is unique to God the Creator). To be more specific, the devil has the power of temptation and condemnation – which can lead to death. Let me explain.
First, the devil tempts us to step outside of the will and ways of God (temptation). Then, once we’ve strayed, he will throw our sins in our faces reminding us of our complete hopelessness in the face of a holy and just God (condemnation). The bible tells us clearly that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The devil loves to remind us of this.
But Jesus’ death and resurrection changed all that. Verse 17 tells us that Jesus died to “make a sacrifice of atonement for the sake of the people”. In other words, Jesus paid the price of our sin by taking on the death sentence himself. The devil’s power was broken. Forever.
This morning I’m reflecting on this important truth. I don’t have to perform for God or produce for God to compensate for my sins – which are many. This is particularly relevant for me today because it’s my Sabbath. It’s a day to rest from the demands of production. I can step off the hamster wheel trusting that Jesus’ works are enough.
Lord Jesus, today we thank you once again for giving your life that we might have eternal life with you and the Father. Amen.