Who did Jesus taste death for?

One of the age-old questions that circle around the topic of the Atonement of Christ is found in Hebrews 2:9-12.

Hebrews 2:9-12-“But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, “I will proclaim Your name to My brethren, In the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.”

On reading this passage, there is no question that Jesus tasted death on the cross. That is what the text says, However, there is a huge difference in merely saying what the text says and understanding what is meant by what is said.

Every seasoned bible reader understands that a text without a context is a pretext. That is to say, every verse in a specific book of the Bible, in this case, the book of Hebrews is connected to paragraphs within that book and every paragraph is connected to the overall message within the overall Bible, so that in the end, there are no contradictions in scripture because every verse, paragraph, and book of the Bible has one overall author, namely God the Holy Spirit.

If one’s interpretation of the passage at hand teaches that, Jesus died for every person ‘Head for Head’ then the fact of the matter is that the overall message of Scripture must be consistent in teaching the same thing, otherwise, that interpretation is wrong and must be disregarded.

Questions to consider

What did the Holy Spirit intend to communicate through the human author for the recipients of this writing?

Did the Holy Spirit, speaking through the writer of Hebrews intend its readers to conclude that Jesus literally tasted death for every single person that has ever lived?

If so, what does Jesus’ “tasting death for everyone” actually accomplish if His death does not secure the salvation of those it was intended to save?

If Jesus’ work of atonement was finished at the cross when He died for “everyone” then how is it that anyone ends up in hell?

Does Jesus’ tasting of death for everyone guarantee the salvation for anyone? or did His death only make salvation a possibility for everyone?

A closer look at the text 

These questions and others are enough for me to question the initial interpretation of those who read this text on a surface level and conclude that Jesus literally ‘tasted death for every person, Head for Head.’

However, as we take a closer look at the passage in Hebrews we see that the author of the book explains who Jesus’ death was intended for.

In verse 10 we read that Jesus’ death “brings many sons to glory.” Here we see a definite work of atonement and not a possibility. Jesus’ death actually accomplishes something for those it was intended for.

In verse 11 we read that those “sons” (in verse 10) are being sanctified and the Father is not ashamed to call them brethren. Furthering his point concerning who Jesus tasted death for the writer of Hebrews uses Psalm 22:22 as a reference which states, “I will tell Your name to my brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.”

I assure you that Jesus was not standing in front of the Father calling the non-elect his brothers. Jesus was not unshamed of the non-elect and Jesus was not boasting in the satisfaction of the non-elect. Rather, Jesus was praising God for all the elect that was given to Him by His Father.

John 6:37-40-“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

Jesus is a perfect savior and will indeed save everyone that was given to Him by the Father. In this way, Jesus did indeed taste death for everyone.

Turn to Christ

Today, if you find yourself reading this blog the question you should be asking yourself is do you believe that you are a sinner? and if so, will you continue to look to yourself for salvation or will you look to Christ who perfectly saves all those who call on His name?

If you respond by faith and turn to Christ you can know for certain that Jesus tasted death for you. On the other hand, if you continue in unbelief until the day of your death then it will be made evident that Jesus did not taste death for you on that old rugged cross.

So the question that remains is, What will you do with Jesus the Christ. Will you reject Him or will you turn to Christ? Today is the Day of Salvation. Repent and believe the gospel today.

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