Read Hebrews 2:14-15.
Centuries of oppression. The Israelites experienced hundreds of years of being conquered and oppressed. It’s easy to say they brought it on themselves, especially after what they were told in Leviticus 26. That doesn’t make their suffering any easier. These centuries were spent looking and hoping for the arrival of Messiah, whom they believed would deliver them.
Hope. The people were hopeful for freedom they imagined their Messiah King would bring. Deliverance. Delivery from the oppression and injustice of this foreign regime, the Roman Empire. Peace. Their hope for future peace was probably based on experiences during King Solomon’s reign, and the realization of just how little peace they’d experienced since. Little did God’s people know their desire for hope, deliverance, and peace would be incarnated soon, and not as they expected. Their expectations of Messiah King revolved around their nation being freed from their earthly oppressor and their former power being restored. Their hope for freedom was based upon national liberation and restoration. Israel discovered Messiah’s freedom to be very different, and their reaction followed the prophecies (Psalm 22:1,8; Psalm 31:13; Isaiah 53:3; Zechariah 11:12-13; Isaiah 50:6). While the Messiah would bring hope, deliverance and peace, the oppressive mantle thrown off wasn’t the Roman Empire, but one more insidious, invisible, and having near-eternal presence: sin and death (Hebrews 2:14-15, 1 John 3:8).
We have hope today, too. We have hope in the resurrected Son of God, our Messiah King, who gives us incomprehensible peace and life eternal, delivering us from sin and death. We shouldn’t miss what the Israelites did: this is why Jesus came. Christ-given hope, peace, and deliverance were given to usher us into the Kingdom of God, which is now and to come.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
What comes to mind when you think of the freedom Christ came to give you? Consider how you might share peace and freedom with another believer today.
By Rich Obrecht