"That's where the hope comes in, after death." --D.C. Adkisson (Mal de Ojo)
"Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." --Romans 5:5 (NKJV)
"Love so amazing, so divine..." (Isaac Watts) These words must be spoken about the cross. Without the work on the cross the resurrection would not mean anything. There would not be an atonement, a substitute, redemption, reconciliation, propitiation, and pardon without the cross. On the other hand, without the resurrection there would be no grace or mercy. Jesus would be like any other ordinary man. Please do not take the resurrection without the cross.
So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, 'It is finished!' And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit."
--John 19:30 (NKJV)
What was finished? Those final words of Jesus must have meaning. Was He saying that his life was now over? Perhaps He was saying that His purpose had been fulfilled and He now could die. Or was it more than that? "It is finished!" Salvation has been made complete. The wrath and justice of God has been appeased, now man has the opportunity to find fellowship with the Father. Eternal life is now afforded to man.
There was an old song, "The Angels Up in Heaven Must Have Cried," but did they? The battle had been raging for centuries, ever since the Fall. Man was under God's curse; there must be a perfect sacrifice to meet the holy, just demands of God. Jesus came, as a man, to fulfill that obligation of the sacrifice, where sin was placed upon Him once and for all. We cannot even begin to imagine what the Father saw when He looked down upon His Son. It was something so repulsive that He had to turn His back. The vomit of sin drenched Jesus inside and out, but "It is finished!"
There have been many speculations and theological discussions about what happened from the moment of death until the resurrection morning. Did Satan and his minions celebrate and cheer? I'm not so sure, for when I read in the Gospels when demons were confronted by Jesus they seemed to know that there was a coming time of their demise. Darkness occurred on earth, but what was happening in the spiritual realm? We can only ponder and let our imaginations run. I personally believe that Jesus freed the believers, the righteous that were in Hades, and that they went to be with Him in heaven. When a believer dies after the resurrection they no longer go to Hades, but immediately they go to the presence of the Lord.
I like what G. Campbell Morgan says about the time of "darkness." That time after Jesus' declaration, what took place in those dark hours? Morgan puts it this way:
"In the deep darkness, and in the midst of the silence, He triumphed over the forces of evil, the principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly by the cross, putting off from Himself all that assaulted Him in, and by, and through the darkness."
We really have no idea of what took place in the darkness. Whatever happened, whatever sin and chains that Satan may have thrown upon Jesus were totally broken when on that third day He burst forth from the tomb triumphantly. There was never a doubt about the resurrection, He knew that He would rise again.
"And you being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it."
--Colossians 2:13-15 (NKJV)
"Love so amazing...", "Amazing Grace..." we accept, but we cannot understand, that's why the term "amazing." The marvelous grace of Jesus that took place on the cross and culminated with the resurrection. Never let the amazement depart.
D. C. Adkisson