This is part of a series of reflections on the Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Maker of Heaven and Earth
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary;
suffered under Pontius Pilate
was crucified, dead, and buried.
He descended into hell,
The third day, He rose from the dead.
He ascended into heaven,
And sitting on the right hand of God the Father almighty
from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
The holy catholic Church
The communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body
and the life everlasting. Amen.
Between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, there was a Bad Saturday. There was that day when many who followed Jesus believed that it was all over. There was the day when the disciples locked themselves up in a room, fearful that the soldiers would be coming for them. When I think of that day, I imagine all of the hopelessness that could engulf me if not for Jesus.
It is a terrible thing to imagine Jesus Christ lying dead in a tomb. And yet, in the spiritual realm, it must have been all the more terrible.
For this is the place where the most ancient creeds state "He descended into hell." Some translations read "He descended to the dead" but Lutherans, Anglicans and others still recited "hell." For just as the dead in Christ shall rise first, it was the dead that first heard the fullness of the Gospel proclaimed. Peter writes that having suffered once for sins, Christ preached to the spirits in prison.
Upon his death, Jesus proclaimed, "It is finished." And it was. For at that moment, the Old Covenant was fulfilled. All the demands of the law were met. This is what was proclaimed to the dead.
We can get lost in the theological weeds on this one, but I believed the key is this, He descended. He descended that he might then ascend over all things. In the days before Noah, man tried to ascend and was scatted. Now the Lord descends (and later the Holy Spirit), gathering his people.
On that Saturday, all creation waited. For the law was fulfilled, something new must be coming!
Author, Parent, Husband, Christ-follower