To Spirits in Prison

In Lent 24 by Bruce LogueLeave a Comment

“,,,Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey….”

1 Peter 3:17-20

Have you ever thought about what was going on the day after the crucifixion and before the resurrection? Maybe that Jesus was “asleep” waiting for God to wake him up. Or maybe thoroughly dead, incapable of doing anything. But what if it was only his body in the tomb but not his spirit?

I think the answer lies in the view of Jesus’ mission. Why on earth would God allow this horrible death to happen to God’s son? Suffering, humiliation, and false accusations. But this depends on whether you think Jesus’ death was all about death. First suffering and then dying. Or whether you think the scope of Christ’s mission was much larger than is normally thought.

Peter seems to be describing in the text a Christ who has pierced death in order to preach to spirits in prison. Some think this was directed to those people who perished in the flood and did not have the opportunity to repent. This could have only happened by a spiritual being, unrestricted by a physical body.

It also helps us see that Christ’s coming had greater scope and implications than just paying off the cost of sin. But then Jesus also was raised from his physically dead state to finish his mission on earth. The Bible makes it clear that Jesus’ resurrection was no smoke and mirrors. Thomas touched him, though he previously doubted whether Jesus had been raised from the dead. There were also repeated appearances, meals, and other human experiences with Jesus to prove he had arisen.

The scope of Christ’s life is farther reaching than we sometimes imagine. He didn’t come to punch our ticket to heaven, but rather to put an end to sin and death forever. To remove the power of evil and to show that death doesn’t have the last word.

Something to think about: How do you tend to think about the meaning of Jesus’ death? How do you think the death of Jesus affects your life?

Something to pray about: Father we give thanks that you have broken the back of sin. Please help us to rely on you alone. To have faith that you are protecting us from the dominion of Satan. I pray this in Jesus’ name.

Leave a Comment