The enemies of Jesus nailed him to the cross at 9:00 AM Friday morning. He was subjected to multiple forms of mockery and terrible physical pain.
Then at noon a strange darkness came over the entire area. It lasted for three hours. Earthquakes occurred doing the darkness. Jesus felt so spiritually alone because God had forsaken him. He cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He felt a crushing intense spiritual suffering. This was his human spirit crying out in anguish.
At 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon, Jesus commended his spirit to the Heavenly Father. Jesus finished his redemptive work that caused him to come to earth in the first place. Jesus did not die like other men die. His spirit was not ripped from him by death. He dismissed his spirit as a teacher would dismiss her students from class.
But what happened next? We do know that Jesus promised the penitent thief that he would be with him in paradise. What is paradise and where is it? Jesus answered this question when he told the story of the rich man and Lazarus. They both were in the place of the departed in the bowels of the earth. As Jesus explained, there was a place called Abraham’s Bosom. This was the location where righteous people go. Separating that from the place of torment was what Jesus called a great golf fixed.
According to 1st Peter 3: 19, 20 Jesus went to the place of the departed and preached to the spirits of those who were imprisoned in torment because they did not listen to Noah’s warnings before the flood came. Jesus did not preach to those spirits for them to be converted and avoid further damnation. The Greek word used for preached means an informative speech. There was no expectation for any conversion.
As explained in Ephesians 4: 8-10 Jesus descended to the lower parts of the earth. When he ascended, he took those righteous from the lower part to heaven. It is worthy of notation that after Christ’s resurrection, the righteous person ascended after their death. Before the resurrection, the righteous person went down.
While Jesus was waiting for the time of his resurrection, he was in the lower parts of the earth declaring to those who lived at the time of Noah how big a mistake they made. From this we should all learn the lesson that the wisest thing we can do is to accept Jesus as our personal Savior so the we may likewise join him in heaven.