The Final Days of Jesus: Saturday
After the cruel, yet glorious, realities of the cross took place on Friday Jesus was taken off the cross and placed in a tomb. Incredulity. Silence, blank stares, sadness, anger, anxiety, despair, along with a myriad of other emotions must have been experienced by the followers of Jesus. Dreams crushed, hopes destroyed. We, knowing that the resurrection is just hours away, aren't crushed but rather expectant and hope-filled! This was not the experience of Jesus' followers that day so many years ago.
A question arises amidst the dark realities of Jesus' death. When Jesus died, where did he go? The Apostle's Creed (which we read together a month ago) states that Jesus "descended into hell." Did he really? Remember that the Apostle's Creed was written in the early centuries by men who came after the Apostles. They were not writing authoritatively (the creed is not the word of God) but rather working to communicate as concisely as possible what the Apostles had taught. Throughout church history there has been no small amount of disagreement over where the spirit of Jesus went after he died. In fact, many have pulled that specific statement ("he descended into hell") out of their reciting of it. The main question we need to answer, however, is "what does God's word tell us?" Watch the video below to hear some thoughts by Douglas Moo, a well-respected theologian and commentator of God's word.
Other resources that will help us think biblically through this difficult, and misunderstood, statement in the creed:
- R.C. Sproul's excellent devotional about this.
- A brief interview with John Piper.
- And if you want to go deeper, consider the thoughts of John Calvin.