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,
Hebrews now turns to the core reason for incarnation—Christ must suffer death to free us from the power of death.
14 Inasmuch [since] then [therefore]
These words introduce a conclusion from the preceding verses. Since humanity has human nature, Jesus took on that nature as well. The “then” or therefore develops further the preceding argument of the purpose of the incarnation (He 2:9-10).
as the children have partaken [share in common] of flesh and blood [human nature],
“Children” refers to the children of the previous verse (He 2:13).
To partake of “flesh and blood” is to share humanity in common. This is a statement that Jesus shared in the experience of humanity in unequivocal terms. All human beings share human nature in common.
He Himself likewise shared [become a member of a group] in the same,
The Greek word for “likewise” comes from two words: alongside and nearby. Jesus by His incarnation took His place alongside and nearby humanity. In like manner He took on humanity. His humanity was the same as any other human being.
The word “shared” here is not the same word as “partaken” in the previous clause. “Partaken” speaks of the characteristic sharing of human nature, whereas “shared” addresses the thought that Jesus voluntarily accepted humanity to His person. The Son was both undiminished deity and true humanity.
“Shared” is to become a member of or belong to a group. The Greek word is made up of two words: to have and with. The Lord has human nature with the rest of humanity. He did not have humanity in His eternal state; He was incorporeal in eternity (Jn 4:24). The Son did not have a human nature in eternity. He took possession of a body at His incarnation. He became a member of the group called humanity at His incarnation. The only way humans could be saved was that the Son become Jesus, a human. Jesus shared common humanity with the human race. The word “shared” indicates that Jesus took on human nature.
The “that” here indicates the purpose of Jesus’ incarnation. A primary purpose for the incarnation was that He would die to destroy the power of the devil.
The Son could not have died without becoming a human being. Jesus defeated the devil by His death. The devil held the power of death, but Jesus defeated death with death.
He might destroy [render inoperative] him [the devil]
“Destroy” carries the idea of annulment of the devil’s power. Jesus’ death defeated Satan’s power over believers. “Destroy” in the Greek means to render inoperative, not to annihilate. Jesus did not annihilate Satan at the cross, but his power was broken. Spiritual death has no more power over the person who believes that the cross saves his soul.
who had the power [dominion] of death,
“The power of death” is the devil’s power over those who fear death (Mt 12:29). That fear enslaves them to his purposes. This Greek word for “power” means dominion. Satan had at one point dominion over death; he was sovereign in that realm. Jesus broke that dominion.
The devil holds the power of death in a secondary and not in a primary sense. Death is the darkest event that anyone can face. Jesus conquered death by His death. There is no dualism in the world: God is sovereign; nothing operates without His control. Satan is no rival to an absolute God.
There has always been a link between sin and the power of death; death is the penalty for sin. Christ’s death paid that penalty; He removed eternal death for those who believe on Him. Christ’s death is the gateway to eternal life.
that is, the devil,
The devil is the power behind death; however, God holds the ultimate power over death. The death of Christ on the cross was the death that destroyed Satan. It was at the cross where the encounter between heaven and hell occurred. The cross rendered ineffective the power of the devil. Jesus defeated death with death.
The death of Jesus defeated the devil.
Jesus by dying became sovereign over death. The reason Jesus became incarnate was to die or pay the penalty for our sins. He broke the power of eternal death on our souls. He broke the back of Satan in doing so.
Jesus deprived the devil of his power to cast the fear of death in people. Jesus rendered that problem inoperative (2 Ti 1:10). There is no fear of death in believers because they cannot experience spiritual death. Jesus did that for them. He is Lord of both the dead and living (Ro 14:9).
Jesus destroyed Satan by taking away his weapon of death. God required that someone pay the penalty of death. Since believers died in Christ, the devil lost his power over them.
The purpose of the incarnation was not a sentimental, saccharine attempt to identify with men in general. It was no attempt to give a tribute to the dignity of man. The Renaissance man was of no value to Him. The purpose of the incarnation was to die with a human body for the sins of man. He took our hell on the cross.