Holy Saturday

Matthew 27:57-66 or Mark 15:42-47 or Luke 23:50-56 or John 19:38-42; Isaiah 38:10-20; Jonah 2:1-10; Matthew 12:38-42; Ephesians 4:8-10; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Psalms 4, 16 & 24

He Really Did Take Our Place … Completely

(This devotion represents a particular interpretation of the “Descent”; others disagree.)

This is always a quiet day for me.  It seems that after Good Friday, Holy Saturday is a day of somber reflection.  We know Sunday’s coming, but we refuse to celebrate just yet – it doesn’t seem right just after his passion.

But what is the purpose of this day and why is it important?  It is mandated by the fact that the soul of Christ must have gone somewhere during that period of time.  Where was it?  Well, where the dead go, of course.  And hence we arrive at the famous line in the Apostles’ Creed, “He descended into hades.”  We may say that this first teaches us that when our Lord came to be one of us and take our place, he meant it.  He not only became man and tasted death for everyone; he even experienced hell for everyone!  But he did not go there as a captive, but as the conqueror over the Evil One, who now has the keys of death and hell (Hebrews 2:14-15; Revelation 1:18).

Scripture also says that Christ preached to the spirits (that is, souls) imprisoned there (1 Peter 3:18-20), so that the gospel was indeed preached to all creation.  And finally, it was at this time that the souls of the righteous dead were delivered from the abode of the dead and into heaven.  These died looking forward to the promise, and received its fulfillment at Christ’s descent and resurrection.  (We should not assume that the righteous dead would have been in the same place or state as the wicked, e.g., Luke 16:19-31.)  Some may wonder why these had to wait before they entered heaven.  Because it is Christ who opens the gates of heaven for all believers.  No one gets there without or ahead of Christ, regardless of how “good” he or she may have been.  It is the work of redemption wrought by our Lord that saves anyone, from Abel down to the person who was saved just a minute ago.  The Old Testament saints were saved by looking forward to Christ (Hebrews 11:13, 39-40), while we are saved by looking back.  But we are all saved by the same One and by the same blood.  This is why we say, “The New Testament is in the Old concealed; the Old Testament is in the New revealed”: It’s all about Christ, from Genesis 1:1, where he is the architect of the universe (Proverbs 8:22-36; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:2), to Revelation 22:21, where we are blessed with his saving grace, and everything in between.  The Father created the world for His Son, and gave the Church to him as a gift.  And the Son in turn takes our place and gives us as a gift to the Father, and we are saved in the glorious exchange.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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