“ He Descended into Hell” Sunday, 24 April 2022 10:00 a.m.
We are continuing our series for the Easter season entitled: “Resurrection: Power Over Death.” Last week on Easter Sunday we talked about (3) resurrections. The initial resurrection was Jesus being raised by the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit. The second is our own resurrection: when we believe and die to our old way of life and are raised with Him. And the third resurrection will happen at the trumpet call when the “dead in Christ” will rise to meet our Saviour in the air!
This Sunday and the next, I will be concluding our series by talking about what Jesus accomplished in those three days while awaiting His glorious resurrection. The Apostle’s Creed, written a few hundred years after Christ, gives a statement of belief that reads in part, as follows: 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, dead, and buried. He descended into hell…
There are many who believe that Jesus physically went through the torment of hell's flames in order to atone for the punishment of our sins. But the message of the Bible is clear on this; that He bore all of our punishment on Himself on the cross. When He said; “it is finished” it meant that a debt has been discharged and it was paid in full. There are some who believe that it's just a symbolic thing; Jesus descending into hell. It's symbolic language that speaks about the hell of earth that we live in, or the hell of the cross that He had to endure.
What happened between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning? Paul gives us a bit of a hint in Ephesians chapter 4; his writing is centered around God giving “Grace” to believers as a result of the resurrection and also His ascension.
Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.”9 Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
God the Father had a plan and a purpose for His Son Jesus. He would not leave His soul and spirit in sheol, nor would He allow the body of His Son to undergo decomposition. These two go hand-in-hand; He raised up the soul and spirit of His Son on the third day and united it to a glorified body which lay in the grave; and Jesus walked out alive.
The captive Old Testament saints had been enslaved in this place waiting and hoping; but now Jesus had come and released them and was taking them home. He leads “captivity” captive. The conquering King leads this procession, and behind Him are His followers; those who have been held captive awaiting their freedom; and behind them is the booty (the spoils of war) that Jesus is giving to His church - the gifts of the Spirit.
Join us in person on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. or via livestream by going to https://www.firstbaptistsudbury.com and clicking on livestream for “He Descended Into Hell.”