By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison: 1 Peter 3:19
(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might ffill all things.) Ephesians 4:9
Easter Saturday seems to be not so marked by what happened to Jesus in life but what happened to Jesus in death. From the two Scriptures above it implies that however we take the view, literal or symbolic, the death of Jesus did not imply a extinguishing of spirit, however for believers it is defined that when the body dies the soul and spirit go on living. The view is carried through those two verses which detail the journey between Calvary and resurrection day.
What do we know? What happened? And what are the applications into this current year?
Old Covenant saints hear the Good news and are freed to heaven.
The coming in of the New means that Jesus’ mission had to even extend to the dark realms of death. It seems as far as I am aware that the Saturday before Easter Sunday was a sombre affair. However Jesus was doing an even greater work…His Mission freed us from the power of death, as it implies that the Old Testament saints were not free to populate their eternal estate. They heard the “Good News” that He is the Messiah to free them from the chains of the law.
Revelation 1 tells us that Jesus took the keys of Death and Hades. Here we have a interesting angle at what happened on that fateful Great Sabbath.
Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Revelation 1:18
The greater work was how the devil was disarmed in his own domain, the domain of the dying and the dead. Death was transformed into a passage into heaven for the saints. The keys are the destiny of who goes there, to hell and who is bound by death. The devil’s power to accuse and condemn in the Gospel, is taken away. As much as the devil inspired the flogging of JESUS, the whole panorama of suffering, now the full power of the Gospel is felt in his own domain, he now realises how defeated he is.
And it from that base we present this message today, because whilst we are treating Jesus in death we are treated its application in life! The Mission of Jesus transitions here into the eternal, He has resolved the Old Covenant dispensation regarding death, He has now taken the power of eternal condemnation from the devil and his dominion of accusation away, now JUDGMENT BELONGS TO THE LORD! We can debate much time if this was literal, all we know that the implications and applications of what Jesus did in death is felt by all who are in Him. The condemnation of satan resided in the fact that the sacrifices did not resolve the redemption and changed nature question. Animals only covered sin, but sin still dominated man, now in Christ He has vanquished the power of death.
Jesus resolved not only the question of physical death, but the second death in the last great judgment, through Him, who is now King over all, we are given the great opportunity to live in peaceful and joyful abode.
So wow…we have to recognise, whilst we have focussed on Friday on His Suffering, and on Sunday in His resurrection we have never, or rarely given Saturday a thought.
The greatest battles in the spiritual dimension are those fought in silence and darkness, and in the obscurity, but the greatest defeat of that darkness is forever won on Easter Saturday.
We have focussed on Friday being His Physical Suffering, even focussing on Sunday and His Resurrection, but the greatest victory was won on the Saturday! Death has been Vanquished!
For all today quarantined, made to stay home, for which we must follow government guidelines, we have great comfort in these truths. Jesus had won over Coronavirus in the place of Hades, it will not be a virus that determines our destiny. The power of the virus is limited to this life, and whilst there are many a family suffering the loss of a loved one, a son, a daughter, a parent, Jesus in the darkness won over Coronavirus, and it is an opportunity for the Church to believe its role in extending its vision of the Gospel in warfare against the fear that goes before this deadly plague!
It is the Church that must present the Jesus, Glorified and Ascended Lord and Judge that will come on our behalf to work miracles and healings. I firmly believe from the place of Hades, and what it represents He took back the authority to pour out over His Church the power of healing. From the place of death birthed the place of Life! There will be testimonies of miracles, in the hospitals, let us pray for doctors and nurses, believers to access the power of healing! A revival of healing that has not been seen for many a year!
Psalm 110 is David catching a conversation between God the Father and God the Son. He gives us a picture of our role as the Church in this putting the enemy as a footstool. This is what Jesus destined the Church to be, and to do, be a channel of His healing and His Judgment on evil. Now that the Church does not meet in buildings it is now time to pray for, contact believers on the front line in hospitals to grasp what Jesus did on Calvary and face death head on! As they meet death head on, they will go with Jesus who vanquished hell and death in bringing eternal salvation and healing!!
Do not just emphasise Friday, when Jesus died, the Cross, nor Easter Sunday when He rose, His complete work must also contemplate Saturday when He vanquished death and hell!
Today reach out in faith…find victory and healing!