Some thoughts...

What a great weekend!  We had our largest crowd ever for our Good Friday Service and a good crowd on Resurrection Sunday.  It was a great weekend of worship.  Thanks to all who participated and led in both services.  I was asked by a couple of different people, Sunday before worship, about where Jesus was between the time of his crucifixion and his resurrection.  This is a good question, a reasonable question.  There have been various answers through the years.  The truth is we do not have a verse or passage that gives us an itinerary.  Some have referred to Saturday of Holy Week as “Silent Saturday.”  The Apostle’s Creed confesses,
“I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of Heaven and Earth,
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, Our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, died, and was buried;
He descended into Hell…”
Descended into Hell?  What is that all about?  

When I say, “We do not have a verse,” I’m not saying the Scripture is silent on the issue.  We do have that statement in 1 Peter 3:18-19, “…being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison…”  Is that a reference to Christ’s descent into hell?  Let’s consider the full quote, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.”  Some read this as Christ descending to hell and proclaiming victory over Satan and righteously declaring their everlasting doom.  Others say this is talking about Christ having, in the past through Noah, proclaimed God’s truth to those who are now imprisoned.  There are those in the Word of Faith movement who say that Christ’s death on the cross was not sufficient and thus he spent that time between the cross and resurrection in hell to pay for our sin and thus redeem us.  I would say that is a heretical teaching!  Jesus cried out from the cross, “It is finished!”  The word means complete, done, there is nothing to be added.  Redemption was accomplished on the cross.

We have to add to this another word from the cross.  One of those who died with Jesus said, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Our Lord’s response was, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”  Further, Luke tells us that our Lord cried out with a loud voice saying, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”  My answer to the question would have to be, “He went to his Father and may well have also gone to Hades and pronounced judgement.”  I don’t think we can say, definitively, this is where he was for those hours between death and resurrection.  Certainly, he was with his Father at least part of that time but again, we do not have the itinerary.  We see through a glass darkly.

Here is what I do know: Jesus died for our sins, according the Scripture.  He was buried, and he rose again on the third day.  Our redemption was accomplished on the cross when he cried, “It is finished.”  After his resurrection there were multiple appearances over a 40-day period.  He then ascended to the Father’s right hand where he now, ceaselessly intercedes for his own.  One day he is coming again in power and glory to take us home and usher in the new heavens and the new earth.  In the meantime, we are to live in anticipation of that glorious day.

I’ll see you Sunday.