“For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.” 1 Peter 3:18-20
Saturday of Holy Week. I think of Jesus’ disciples and I remember our day after Becky died. It was a day of somber activity for us as the family gathered together at Jacob and Becky’s home in Rosalia. We were all in a state of complete shock, trying to get our heads and hearts around what had happened. We were struggling to be focused enough to help Jacob begin to move toward planning Becky’s memorial service and burial.
On that day after death two thousand years ago, the disciples were scattered. They must have also been in shock. This man Jesus had completely rocked their worlds. They had left homes and jobs and a normal life to follow him and learn from him. This man whose activities had marked their lives had just been violently punished as an enemy of the Jewish state. Jesus and his followers were on the Roman ‘terrorist’ watch list. Everything these men had given their lives to was gone, ripped away from them and an unfathomable and threatening new life was hanging over them.
And what about Jesus? On this Saturday after he was crucified was he in limbo? Laying dead in a grave? Awaiting the resurrection power to kick in and raise him back to life? We certainly don’t know much about the time that Jesus body lay in the grave, but commentators believe that the passage in 1st Peter that speaks of Jesus preaching to the spirits in prison is referring to the activity of Jesus during that period of time. This resonates with my heart. Jesus, even though pronounced dead and buried, was actively at work accomplishing his mission. Jesus was powerfully alive even when his body was dead!
I find this very small picture into Jesus death a comfort when I think of Becky’s death. Even while our lives were in chaos over her death, Becky had entered into her eternal home and purpose. Resurrection power doesn’t wait until the third day to engage. Resurrection power is today, on the day of our death, and for everyday into eternity. I see Becky stepping from her accident into the presence of God to say “what’s next Papa?” Praise God from whom all life, all power, all purpose flows!
From The Message: “This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us — an unbelievable inheritance!” Romans 8:15-17