Joe’s eight-week “break” from his job as a crisis care worker at a New York City church was not a vacation. In his words, it was “to live again among the homeless, to become one of them, to remember what hungry, tired, and forgotten feel like.” Joe’s first stint on the streets had come nine years earlier when he arrived from Pittsburgh without a job or a place to stay. For thirteen days he lived on the streets with little food or sleep. That’s how God had prepared him for decades of ministry to needy people.
When Jesus came to earth, He also chose to share the experiences of those He came to save. “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14). From birth to death, nothing was missing from Christ’s human experience—except sin (4:15). Because He conquered sin, He can help us when we’re tempted to sin.
And Jesus doesn’t need to reacquaint Himself with our earthly cares. The One who saves us remains connected to us and is deeply interested in us. Whatever life brings, we can be assured that the One who rescued us from our greatest foe, the devil (2:14), stands ready to help us in our times of greatest need.
The New Testament letter to the Hebrews was written to help Jewish believers in Jesus understand the danger of taking their eyes off the One who came to rescue them and all humanity from our universal fear of death (2:1, 14–15). Only Christ can give us the courage to freely live without the fear of dying. Nothing less than the public record of His life, death, and resurrection can overcome Satan’s twisted suggestion that God can’t be trusted because He isn’t as good as He wants us to believe. It took Jesus’ suffering and death to reveal a God who’s merciful enough to forgive the worst of our wrongs. It took His resurrection from the dead and the changed lives of His witnesses to expose the lie that when we’ve taken our last breath, all hope is gone.