14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he likewise shared in their humanity, so that through death he could destroy the one who holds the power of death (that is, the devil), 15 and set free those who were held in slavery all their lives by their fear of death.
Our aim today is to answer this simple yet very relevant question: Why Christmas? What are the reasons for incarnation? I would like to propose at least four reasons from Hebrews 2:14-15 :
- The object of Christ’s rescue mission are humans.
- So that Christ could die.
- In order to destroy death.
- And set us free from slavery to the fear of death.
The Object of Rescue are Humans(vv. 14 a-b)
The first reason for the necessity of Christmas or incarnation is the fact that those whom Christ will save are humans. Verse 14 is quite explicit, “since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same.” Christ took the form of flesh because we are flesh and blood. But the children being referred to in verse 14 are not all who have ever lived. These are the children given to Christ according to verse 13. So in Matthew 1:21 it says,”.. you shall call his name Jesus for he will save his people from their sins.” Christ came to save a specific group of people, namely the children God has given to Him, these are his people. Or as Jesus put it in John 6:39, “Now this is the will of the one who sent me–that I should not lose one person of every one he has given me, but raise them all up at the last day.” If you are one of his, Christmas is for you in a very special way.
The Means of Rescue is Death(vv. 14 c)
The second reason for the necessity Christmas is death. As God, the Second Person of the Trinity cannot die. So in order for him to die he must share in the flesh. This is clear from the logic of 14b and 14c, “He partook of the same, that through death.. ” Death is only possible if he would share in the flesh, that is, take the form of a human. One other observation we can see from here is that God’s plan of slaying the Lamb precedes the plan of incarnation. The plan for Christ to die on behalf of his people necessitates incarnation. So Christmas and Salvation is not an after thought. It is God’s predetermined plan. It is not as though God had a different plan, but man rebelled and so comes His plan B. No, there’s only one plan, and the plan requires the death of the Son of God, and death necessitates that he be born as a child.
Christ came to save a specific group of people, namely the children God has given to Him. These are his people.
Jesus Escaped Death to Die
We are told that Christ came in order to die, yet we saw from Matthew 2:13-23 that as a child he escaped death. This is not to depart from God’s plan. This happened in order that he would die on behalf of man as “the man”(John 19:5). Satan tried with all his might to stop Jesus from getting killed on the cross. First by trying to kill him as child through Herod and failed. Then in many occasions by offering him escape from a sacrificial death on the cross(Matthew 4:1-11, Matthew 16:21-23). The temptation in the wilderness is Satan’s scheme to stop him from going to the cross. All of it is about saving His(Christ’s) own life. And
when Jesus predicted to the disciples that He is going to be beaten and spit upon and rejected and killed, Peter butts in, “Lord, this shall never happen to you.” And what did Jesus say to him? “Get behind me, Satan.” What did that mean? It means Satan doesn’t want this to happen. Satan don’t want Jesus to die. He knows that it would be he’s own undoing. But why enter Judas in order to betray Jesus? Because Satan is a lackey. It is God’s purpose that Satan will become a means to his own disarming. The powers of darkness may slay the Son of God, but they will always obey Him. In a very strange turn of events, Satan will do the bidding of Christ, and as Christ dies, Satan commits suicide.
The Purpose of Rescue is to Destroy(vv. 14 d)
So we turn now to the third reason for Christmas and incarnation. He came so that through Christ’s death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil. Definitely God ultimately has the power of death as we saw earlier from God’s sovereignty, and He only delegates authority to Satan. But how does Satan have any power over death? Or more accurately in what way does he have power? And what does it mean to destroy him.
The powers of darkness may slay the Son of God, but they will always obey Him. In a very strange turn of events, Satan will do the bidding of Christ, and as Christ dies, Satan commits suicide.
Let’s look at Colossians 2:13-15. We can see from this passage that Satan has power of death in this way; he keeps a record of debt that stood against us in judgment day. It says in Colossians 2:15 that the rulers and authorities were disarmed. Who are the ruler? Satan and his demons. What’s their weapon against us that was removed from them? The record of debt, the record of our sins. This is Satan’s deadly power that’s being referred to in Hebrews 2:14. And Christ came to destroy him and his weapon. Colossians 2:13-15 says that we are forgiven for all our sins by cancelling the record of debt, with all its legal demands, which is death. And as a result the rulers and principalities are disarmed and put to open shame.
The Result of Rescue(vv. 15)
Lastly, Christmas is necessary because God’s purpose for his people is to bring them joy and not fear. The result of disarming the devil of his power over death is so that we may no longer be enslaved by our fear of death. Verse 15 says, “and deliver those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” When Satan was disarmed of his weapon of death, namely our guilt, there’s no longer any reason to fear death if you are God’s children given to Christ. Instead death would become a welcome to an everlasting joy with our saviour.
Christmas is necessary because God’s purpose for his people is to bring them joy and not fear.
So let us be reminded of these four crucial reasons why there’s a Christmas. Since we share in flesh and blood, that is, we are human beings, therefore Christ shared in our humanity so that he could die and by his death destroy the devil’s deadly power and as a result set us free from our fear of death.