Can you imagine jumping out of an airplane for the very first time? You and a friend who has done it before have decided to take the leap! You’re scared… really scared! He’s been telling you about the “rush” he’s experienced the times he’s done it. But you look down at the ground beneath the plane and it seems at least a hundred miles away… everything is so tiny way down there! You’re scared to death… “Come on,” he says, “just jump!” Your response? “You go first!”
It always helps us when someone is willing to take the lead “and go first!”
Jesus went first! And I’m so glad!! I read about it this morning in my Bible reading during “coffee with the Lord”…
“It was fitting that He, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering… Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery… Therefore He had to be made like His brothers in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” (From Hebrews 2:10–18 ESV)
Because He was willing to “go first” Jesus is able to help us in every way… In life, in temptation, and even in one of the most frightening things we will ever experience (because we’ve never experienced it before)… in death!
I have a dear friend, Nick Wilson, a missionary, who through the pain of cancer over several years has exemplified the grace of faith, the steadfastness of trust, and the joy of the Lord! This week he made his final journey from earth to heaven. His family testified that he said that he “felt like an excited kid with his boarding pass at the departure gate waiting for the plane to board.” He was impatient to get going to his final destination. Who took away Nick’s fear of death? The one who went first! “Through death He destroyed the one who has the power of death… and delivered all those who through the fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery!”
Thank you Jesus for “going first!” Thank you Nick, as well, for showing us all how to live, how to face challenges, and how to die “in Christ!”