THURSDAY, APRIL 2
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 (NLT2)
THE POWER OF DEATH IS DEFEATED
When Jesus shouted, “It is finished!” He proclaimed victory over the power of death. As we saw in the devotional reading yesterday, the Greek word Tetelestai was an ancient battle cry shouted by the victor when the enemy was defeated. Jesus didn’t set out to defeat physical death in our world. The Apostle Paul clarifies that “everyone dies because we all belong to Adam” 1 Corinthians 15:22 (NLT2). On the cross, Jesus defeated a much larger foe. Jesus defeated spiritual death. For those who follow Christ, their death will not result in their soul’s separation from God for all eternity. Instead, the moment our eyes close in this world, we will instantly be at home with the Lord. Paul did not live in fear of death because he knew where he would be. “Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8 ESV). His approach to life was, “If I live, it will be for Christ, and if I die, I will gain even more” (Philippians 1:21 CEV).
Imagine a student who is told to report to the school principal. Trembling, he approaches the principal’s office, afraid that he might be punished. Too fearful of entering, he waits outside for a while. Then he sees another boy strolling in confidently—and walking out a few moments later, smiling. He asks the other boy, “Why are you so unafraid about entering the principal’s office? And how could you come out so happily?” The boy looks at him and replies, “Because he’s my father.” When we trust Jesus, we will be like the second boy—we will no longer fear death. Although we will still die physically, God awaits us on the other side of death, and we do not need to fear his judgment anymore. What is your greatest fear about death? What could it cost someone if they refuse to face the reality of death? In what way could you benefit from thinking more about life after death?
Jesus not only predicted His death but also His resurrection. “From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Matthew 16:21 ESV). Thank Jesus for conquering the grave so it wouldn’t have the last word in your life.