“Christ’s triumph sets us free to be people of great hope in the midst of life’s trials.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 14, 2023
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 2:14-15, NLT
In countless ways, the human experience is unspeakably diverse and varied, unique to each and every individual. Yet there are also common experiences that unite us across time, culture, and language. Sleeping and rising. Eating and drinking. Laughing and crying. And though we do our best to ignore it and push it to the fringes of our hearts and minds, we are all united in the fear of death.
I find the older I get the more aware I am of the inevitability of death. Rarely do children or young adults take time to reflect on their own mortality. Life is theirs for the taking and youth will never run out! Yet before you know it, you quickly find yourself moving a little slower, worrying about this or that physical ailment, and attending the funerals of beloved family and friends in ever-increasing frequency.
The author of Hebrews was fully aware of this universal human fear, calling out the way people live their entire lives “as slaves to the fear of dying” (Hebrews 2:15). To be enslaved is to be bound and subservient to the will of another. Death has the power and control, directing us as it sees fit. And since there is no greater human fear, there is no greater form of captivity.
It is for this very reason that Christ’s mission led him to confront death head-on. If it is for freedom that we have been set free (Galatians 5:1), Christ knew that until death was conquered we would remain under its power and control. It is in descending in death and then ascending in resurrected glory that Jesus Christ breaks the bonds that have forever held creation captive to the fear of death.
To fear is to be human. Undoubtedly everyone reading these words carries a form of fear or anxiety in their hearts, however great or small it may be. Though Christ’s triumph does not remove us from a life of pain or sorrow, it does set us free to be people of great hope in the midst of life’s trials. Christ shows us that pain is transformed and fear is cast out as we draw close to him. And so today, bring your lingering fears – of failure, of rejection, of inadequacy, of pain, and of death – and place them at the foot of the cross and at the entryway of the empty tomb, and believe afresh that Christ’s victory is also a victory in which you can share and live as one who has truly been set free.
Father, remind us that in Christ we are set free from fear, and help us to live in this truth today. Amen.
What is your most consistent and lingering source of fear or anxiety? Offer it to the Lord today in prayer, believing Christ longs to set you free.
Psalm 23:4; 2 Timothy 1:7; Revelation 21:4
Zach Williams: No Longer Slaves
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