Death of Death

(Taken from The Way Into the Holiest by F. B. Meyer. This worthy book has now been made a helpful link in the right sidebar.)

Hebrews 2:

Many of man's fears were known to Christ. And he knew that they would
be felt by many who were to be closely related to him as brethren. If,
then, he was prompted by ordinary feelings of compassion to the great
masses of mankind, he would be especially moved to relieve those with
whom he had so close an affinity, as these marvelous verses unfold. He
and they are all of one (ver. 11). He calls them brethren through the
lips of psalmist and prophet (ver. 12). He takes his stand in the
assembled Church, and sings his Father's praise in its company (ver. I
2). He even associates himself with them in their humble childlike
trust (ver. 13). He dares to accost the gaze of all worlds, as he comes
forward leading them by the hand (ver. 13). Oh, marvelous
identification! Oh, rapturous association! More wondrous far than if a
seraph should cherish friendship with a worm! But the preciousness of
this relationship lies in the fact that Jesus will do all he can to
alleviate that fear of death, which is more or less common to us all.

But in order to do it, he must die. He could not be the death of death
unless he had personally tasted death. He needed to fulfill the law of
death by dying, before he could abolish death. Our David must go into
the valley of Elah, and grapple with our giant foe, and wrest from him
his power, and slay him with his own sword. As in the old fable
Prometheus could not slay the Minotaur unless he accompanied the yearly
freight of victims, so must Jesus go with the myriads of our race into
the dark confines of the tomb, that death might do its worst in vain;
that the grave might lose its victory; and that the grim gaoler might
be shown powerless to hold the Resurrection and the Life. Had Christ
not died, it might have been affirmed that, in one place at least,
death and sin, chaos and darkness, were supreme. "It behooved him,
therefore, to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day." And,
like another Samson, carrying the gates of his prison-house, he came
forth, demonstrating forever that light is stronger than darkness,
salvation than sin, life than death. Hear his triumphant cry, as thrice
the risen and ascended Master exclaims, "I died, and lo, I am alive
forevermore, and have the keys of Hades and of death." Death and hell
chose their own battleground, their strongest; and there, in the hour
of his weakness, our King defeated them, and now carries the trophy of
victory at his girdle forevermore. Hallelujah!


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