Tonight, my mind is wandering about what happened those three days Jesus was dead and in the grave. It seems at Easter time we go from Friday and his death to Easter Sunday and his resurrection. I'm thinking we're overlooking a major reason Jesus was here. He came to beat sin AND death. His blood covered the sin of the world. His resurrection beat death, but how unless Jesus was still fighting for us those 3 days?
I know in the Apostles Creed it states: "He descended into hell" I have done some searching to find biblical references to this.
Matthew 12:40 (NIV) For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
So is the "heart of the earth" just the tomb? Or is it where all of us deserve to go because of our sin...where Jesus went to battle for our right to eternal life with God in Heaven?
1 Peter 3:18-22 (NIV) 18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19 through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20 who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
Ephesians 6 speaks of our spiritual armor and that our fight is against the devil's schemes and our struggle is with the spiritual forces of evil. Jesus fought against those powers and won!
Hebrews 2:14-18 (NIV) 14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
When I have read about Gethsemane, I kind of assumed that Jesus asked for "the cup" to be taken away if possible because of the cross and the physical pain of being crucified. Maybe it was more because of the spiritual battle that would ensue after his physical death. He knew he would have to fight this battle while feeling forsaken by God, but on that 3rd day? He knew he was not forsaken.
Some really good info here: http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html?mainframe=http://www.reformed.org/documents/apostles_creed.html and http://www.apostle.org/lectures/inthegrv.htm
For now, I'm going to think on these things with the anticipation of realizing that Jesus has suffered more and took on more than I have ever imagined. And He did it for me, for us.......