Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood...
That’s us. Flesh and blood. Human. Finite. Limited. Mortal. Frail. That’s our nature. And “children” is a good word to describe us. O, how helpless we are! I mean when the real issue is at stake: death. Presidents and paupers are all flesh and blood. They get old and die.
...he himself likewise partook of the same nature...
That’s Christ. Eternal Son of God. Infinite. Almighty. Creator. Heir of all things. Upholding the world by the word of his power. He looked down on us with love and, without ceasing to be God, took on our human nature. God-Man. God, yet without the unapproachable glory. Man, yet without sin. Limited. Mortal. Frail. Why?
...that through death...
He became a man because the death of a man who was more than man was needed. The incarnation was God’s locking himself into death row. Christ did not risk death. He embraced it. That is precisely why he came: not to be served but to serve and give his life a ransom for many.
...he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil...
No wonder Satan tried to turn Jesus from the cross! The cross was his destruction. How did Christ do it? The “power of death” is the ability to make death fearful. The “power of death” is the power that holds men in bondage through fear of death. It is the power to keep men in sin so that death comes as a horrid thing. But Christ stripped Satan of this power. He disarmed him. He molded a breastplate of righteousness for us that makes us immune to the devil’s condemnation. By his death he wiped away all our sins. And a person without sin puts Satan out of business. His treason is aborted. His cosmic treachery is foiled. “His rage we can endure, for, lo, his doom is sure.” The cross has run him through. And he will gasp his last before long.
...and deliver those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.
Christmas is for freedom. Freedom from the fear of death. He took our nature in Bethlehem, to die our death in Jerusalem, that we might be fearless in Minneapolis. Yes, fearless. Because if the biggest threat to my joy is gone, then why should I fret over the little ones? How can you say (really!), “Well, I’m not afraid to die but I’m afraid to lose my job”? No. No. Think! If death (I said, death!—no pulse, cold, gone!)—if death is no longer a fear, we’re free, really free. Free to take any risk under the sun for Christ and for love. No more bondage to anxiety. If the Son has set you free, you shall be free, indeed!