(14) Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, (15) and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
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All men have been subject to the fear of death, and it is something that we have to strive to overcome. When we are called out of the world, we do not immediately shed all of our wrong, human perspectives. It may take years to overcome our fear of death, and most of us never do. However, Christ has freed us from the fear of death, and now we live in the fear of something else, the fear of God (II Corinthians 7:1).
Even so, we still fear death a great deal. We often take a loved one's or a friend's death very hard, and personally, we fight death with a vengeance. These are natural, human things to do, and we are not bad people if we do them. Nevertheless, there are situations and reactions that we need to learn to approach from God's perspective. Normal reactions like deep grief or denial are hard to let go because we have all our lifetime been enslaved to the fear of death.
Even Jesus, facing the horrific death of crucifixion and the crushing penalty of humanity's sins, reacted with strong, visceral emotion:
And He was withdrawn from [His disciples] about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done." Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:41-44)
Jesus was God in the flesh (John 1:14), and at this moment, His flesh cried out in anticipation of the suffering and pain He would soon encounter. Not only that, He had never experienced a moment of being forsaken by His Father (Matthew 27:46), when He would be absolutely alone to undergo the cessation of His life in payment for all iniquity. How frightening a prospect that must have been! Yet, even in His desire to avoid these physical and emotional pains, Jesus illustrates perfect submission to His Father's will, realizing its necessity for the success of His plan. Knowing God would raise Him to eternal life after three days, He did not fear death—what He feared most was life without God!
— Richard T. Ritenbaugh
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