He Descended to the Dead. The Third Day He Arose from the Dead. He Ascended into Heaven and Sits at the Right Hand of God the Father Almighty. From There, He Shall Come to Judge the Living and the Dead
1 Peter 3:18–22
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, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 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, 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, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
The redeeming work of Jesus Christ on the cross extends not only after his death but even before his life. Jesus was not taking a break on the Sabbath, what we today call “Holy Saturday.” He was preaching the gospel to those whose death preceded his own so they, too, would have an opportunity to respond to the gospel. The grace of God in Christ is truly awe inspiring, covering all of time and eternity. In attempting to reach this unreachable reality, the apostle Paul wrote down his prayer for us:
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:14–18).
Sit with this prayer. Pray it slowly and deliberately and aloud. Kneel on the floor if possible.
He descended into Hades and took Hades captive! He embittered it when it tasted His flesh! And anticipating this, Isaiah exclaimed: “Hades was embittered when it encountered Thee in the lower regions.”
It was embittered, for it was abolished! It was embittered, for it was mocked! It was embittered, for it was purged!
It was embittered, for it was despoiled! It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!
—From Paschal Homily
Express your questions, doubts, curiosities, and conundrums.
Write any fresh affirmation stirring in your heart and mind from today.
Now affirm the Apostles’ Creed aloud:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord . . .
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