Saturday, April 7, 2012

What Jesus did between death and resurrection

Hebrews 9:11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;

What happened to Jesus between His Death and Resurrection?
As you read the various accounts in the New Testament regarding Christ's death, burial and resurrection - that second item about His burial is included in the preaching of the Gospel.  When Jesus died, where did He go and what did He do between that time?  Furthermore, if He did anything, what bearing did it have in the relationship between His crucifixion, resurrection and the lives of Christians today?  Today's blog will attempt to deal with these questions by sketching out a plausible set of scenarios that may explain what went on between Christ's death and resurrection.

1. When Jesus died, His human soul and spirit went into the presence of God the Father
As the above text indicates, Jesus appeared before the presence of the Father.  The text goes onto describe how He appeared before the Father "with His own blood".  At the end of Hebrews 12 we read that this blood bears witness before the Father's throne of the innocence of all those whom He calls and convctis to believe.  Hebrews 9:14 tells us - "how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"   Thus Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, offered Himself.  When He cried out "into thy hands I commit my spirit", the answer to that prayer was given when he breathed his last. 

Because Jesus did this, every Christian who dies is immediately ushered into the presence of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:1-6; 2 Peter 1:11-2)  The Lord accomplished much not only on the cross, and not only in His resurrection but also in the time in between.  However there is more.

2. Jesus in between His death went to proclaim His victorious death to the regions of Hell
1 Peter 3:18-19  18For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison.  When Jesus presented His once for all sacrifice to the Father in Heaven, He journeyed to the regions of the Kingdom of Darkness, to Hades itself, (sometimes translated Hell) to proclaim His victory. 

It would had been during this time that He came to grab the keys of death and Hell.  Revelation 1:18 clues us in on this journey of Jesus between His death and resurrection - "and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades."  When Christ was on the cross, He suffered the wrath of God in the place sinners.  His journey into the regions of Hell was to proclaim victory.  It is finished!  This is why Jesus' earlier statements of the "gates of Hell" not prevailing against the church could be held as true.  The King went behind those gates to announce to Hell and its powers of the Death that He had conquered ithem- and that His soon resurrection was going to seal the deal.

3. Jesus' affected things in the Heavenly realms to secure the church's mission here on earth
No doubt about it, Jesus was still working, even though His body layed in the grave for three days.  He journeyed into the presence of His Father to present His blood, then he journeyed into Hell to proclaim victory.  His work on the cross was not just an event here in history, it was a cosmic victory. 

Ephesians 4:7-9 connects His work done in His death, burial and resurrection to the ongoing work of the church: 7But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8Therefore it says,“WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”
(Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)

4. When Jesus Christ raised bodily from the dead, He affirmed the work accomplished on the cross and the groundwork accomplished before His resurrection
Christ's work prepared for what would be done here on earth by the church.  He would send His Holy Spirit and He would transition everything from the Old Testament way of things to the New Testament way of things.  The work of redemption was secured at the cross.  The groundwork for the mission of the church was prepared between His death and resurrection.  The power of redemption for such a mission was supplied from His resurrection.  The guarantee that His church will accomplish her mission comes from His ascension as Lord over His church.

Today, praise the Lord Jesus Christ for all He has done in His death, burial and resurrection!

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