In Hebrews 2:9 is an intensely personal term, “taste death.” It is used to reference Jesus’ work of redemption. The verse states, “But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angles, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.” In order to taste something it must be taken into the palate. It must be experienced internally in a very personal way. We often vastly underestimate how personal Jesus death was.
The passage also states that Jesus “by the grace of God might taste death for everyone.” Jesus did not simply taste death for all – one death substituting for the many. Jesus tasted death for everyone – in one death Jesus experienced death for each individual. How could this be? How could it be so personal? The answer is that Jesus established a relational, spiritual union with you through the His death, burial, and resurrection.
Romans 7:4 speaks of the union Christ established, “Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.” We are joined in a spirit to Spirit union the moment we place faith in Jesus. It is an intimate union. 1 Corinthians 6:17 states, “But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.”
Christ did not remove sin and death from His children before establishing union with them. Oh no, He united himself with our sins and our death that we might be united with His life! 2 Corinthians 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Jesus’ death on the cross was the most intimate act ever! Jesus established an unbreakable relationship with His children by uniting with and knowing them experientially in every sin and in every aspect of their death.
The reality of a believer’s union with Christ makes possible victorious living in the midst of the sin cursed world in which we live. Victory comes by placing faith in what Christ established!
Biblically speaking death means separation, not cessation. In order to begin to understand the dynamic beauty of Christ’s intimate, redemptive work we must know what it means to experience death in each facet of our being. Man is body, soul, and spirit (1 Thes. 5:23). We must know what death means in body, soul, and spirit.
Spiritual death means that one’s spirit is separated from God. A believer’s spirit is given new life the moment faith is in placed in Christ and His Spirit is united the believer’s spirit. 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”
Death in our body brought mortality, and started the process that will return that body to dust. Sickness, pain, aging, and decay are all the result of death in the body. Believers look forward to the day when their new, glorified body will not be affected by death. 1 Corinthians 15:54, “But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.
Our soul (mind, will, and emotions) experiences death as the absence of basic human needs like love, acceptance, worth (or value), security and adequacy. In the soul death is experienced as rejection, lack of acceptance, feeling unworthy, insecure, and inadequate.
For Jesus, to taste soul death was to taste complete rejection without any hope of love – to taste complete isolation without any hope of being known or heard. To taste death was to completely experience being unacceptable – to have no one to delight in Him and, temporarily, no hope of anyone ever delighting in Him. It was to be utterly insecure and to have come to the stark reality that everything about Him and about His life was falling apart in the most painful way! To taste death was to feel the implosion of the soul that realizes it has no worth or value along with no hope of anything but the stark reality of being nothing! To taste death was to experience the shock of utter insignificance -to cry for help – to cry, “Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani,” that is “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” and have it echo into emptiness and to be completely inadequate in His humanity to do anything to mitigate the suffering!
Jesus tasted your death for you! He has taken the imploding weight of darkness as it crashed upon his soul and all hope vanished into nothingness! He has taken all death’s sting! He has been in your death and preempted it so that you never have to know it. He has changed your destiny from that which is unspeakably horrific to that which is unspeakably glorious. He knew you in your death so that you can know Him in His life!
If you are a believer in Christ Jesus victory is yours in spirit, in soul, and eventually in the body. Although our mortal body may be a source of temporary pain, the soul is where the battle rages. It is in our soul (mind, will, and emotions) that the enemy attempts to use fear to bring bondage. The battle for the soul has already been won through union! Jesus has united with you in your deepest fears. What that means is phenomenally relevant. In your fears, even in your worst nightmares, Jesus waits to reveal His soothing love already present. You need only to choose to believe what is already true. Fear has been preempted by divine love. Hebrews 2:14&15 states, “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” Death is utterly defeated! 1 Corinthians 15:55, “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”
Pastor Don Steve
Grace Christian Church