Some years back, while heading the street ministry team with my husband for a previous church, we came across the question: What about those who lived and died before Jesus came to bring salvation?
What did Jesus do in those 3 days that He was “Dead?”
Jesus “went to preach to the spirits in prison (1 Peter 3:18-20),” that is the abyss – the spiritual prison for those who died before. Jesus died for all those before and after Him. He died ONCE FOR ALL SIN, although He was innocent Himself; so that He might bring us all – those who believe, safely home to God.
But though His body was dead for 3 days, His Spirit lived on “and it was in the spirit that he visited the spirits in prison and preached to them—spirits of those who, long before in the days of Noah, had refused to listen to God, though he waited patiently for them while Noah was building the ark.” (1Peter 3:18-20)
The GOOD NEWS was preached to those who were dead, so that although their bodies were punished with death, their spirits could live as Christ lives. For we are all spiritual beings; now when we die, our spirits either rest with Christ if we were true believers, or face eternal suffering if we denied Him, in the Lake of Fire with the devil. (1 Peter 4:6, 2 Cor. 5:8, Matt. 10:33, Rev. 20:14)
50And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. 51Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.Matthew 27:50-53
The Disciples Didn’t Die for A Lie
Death could not hold Him down. The depths couldn’t keep him, because by the power of the living God, He rose from the dead and that stone covering His tomb was rolled away. Our Savior lives and is seated on His heavenly throne, eager to wrap up all prophecy and reign on earth.
The bible says that Jesus came at just the right time and of course, Israel had to be a nation in order for Jesus to be persecuted by the Jews and Romans. So a 500 year old prophecy, by Isaiah was fulfilled with exact precision. Jesus was able to be born by the virgin Mary, crucified – as if that was a privilege, and buried in a rich man’s tomb (Joseph of Arimathea), who was a Pharisee – the Jewish group that despised Jesus, but Jesus had undercover followers.
Jesus’ death killed the faith of His disciples, but His resurrection brought their faith back to life. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, the disciples, would have never written the New Testament, there would be no church and no such thing as a Christian. But not only did Jesus die and rise from the dead, but because He was resurrected the disciples lived and died for Jesus.
Many people will die for something that they believe is true, but no one would be willing to die for what they know is a lie. So, the disciples knew that Jesus died on the cross and was buried, but unless they saw Jesus alive, they would not be willing to preach a false resurrection and be beaten, tortured, and killed, which all but one disciple experienced (John the beloved/ revelator).
When Jesus came riding into Jerusalem on a donkey the people laid down their clothes and palm branches for Jesus to ride in on. What are you willing to lay down for Jesus Christ? What things, or areas do you still have in your life that you have been hiding from God, that you know you need to lay down, so that Christ can lift you up?
Don’t let another Resurrection Day/Easter pass over you, without allowing the Gospel of Jesus Christ purify your heart and mind. Let us not forget, that our old self and all of it’s ways, were buried when we received salvation through Jesus Christ, and our new self has been made alive in Christ.
Let us share with others – the hope that is found in our resurrected Savior Jesus Christ! This is one of the evidences of a true believer – the Gospel urges them to testify and be a witness of what the Lord has done!
5But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”Matthew 28:5-7