Sunday, July 26, 2015

Jesus' descent

Golgotha - from The Children's Friend - Part 5

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Ephesians 4:1-16

TO CHEW ON: "He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all heavens, that He might fill all things." Ephesians 4:10

Where was Jesus in the hours between His death and resurrection?

Paul suggests one possibility here as he explains a quote from Psalm 68:28, applying it to the ascended Christ:  "Now this, 'He ascended'—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? ..."(verse 9).

What that descent meant has been a source of discussion. Peter, preaching in Acts 2 from the text of Psalm 16:8-11 says:
"…he (David, the writer of the psalm) foreseeing this (the resurrection) spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption" (Acts 2:31)
Isn't Peter implying that Christ visited Hades? Was that what we call hell? It was some aspect of the underworld in any case.  Peter refers to this again in 1 Peter 3:19-20.

Another view is that Jesus' descent refers to His coming to earth from heaven. Paul describes the extent of that lowering beautifully in Philippians 2:5-11:
"… Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross..." - Philippians 2:5-8.

Still another view is that Jesus suffered in hell. Of that view the writer of my Bible's notes on Ephesians says, "… there is no biblical support for the notion that Jesus suffered in hell, only that He descended to hell to release the righteous dead into eternal glory, proclaiming the adequacy of the Atonement and validating the testimony of the prophets" - Jack W. Hayford, notes on Ephesians,  New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1650.

Surely He was enjoying Paradise, for at least part of the time. After all, He said to the believing thief on the cross, "Today you will be with Me in Paradise" - Luke 23:43.

Whatever, wherever, it was enough! No part of earth or hell has been unaffected by His death and resurrection. As Paul says it in our focus verse:
"He who descended is the [very] same as He who also has ascended high above all the heavens, that He [His presence] might fill all things—the whole universe, from the lowest to the highest" - Ephesians 3:10 (Amplified Bible).

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Jesus and Your plan for my atonement, which was enough. Amen.

MORE: It Is Finished - Gaither Vocal Band


The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.

Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation - Used with permission.

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