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
A Most Important Victory Parade
The year was 1997. I was serving as a pastoral intern in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It was a great time and place to be a Packer fan. Brett Favre and Reggie White led the Packers to their first Super Bowl victory in thirty years. To say that the city of Green Bay was excited would be an understatement of monumental proportions.
The day after winning the championship, the Packers rode through the city in a victory parade. In spite of a severe snowstorm, thousands of people lined the streets to cheer for their team. Fortunately for me, the parade passed right by our church and I could see the whole thing through my office window.
A victory parade is not unique to Green Bay, of course. Whenever a championship is won, there is a victory parade in the team’s hometown.
But what would you say if I told you that Jesus once had a victory parade? And what if I told you that he paraded, not through his hometown, but through hell? It’s true. But you don’t need to take my word for it. We have the words of the apostle Peter. Peter tells us that after Jesus died for the sins of the world and rose from the grave he went to hell and announced his victory. He had done it! He had defeated sin and death and the devil! And because he did, his victory is also YOUR victory through faith in him. Your sins can no longer condemn you. Your death cannot hold you. The devil has no power over you.
Christians have confessed this comforting truth for hundreds of years. The Apostles’ Creed states that Jesus descended into hell. The next time you confess this creed, take comfort that he did. And let your life be a celebration of his victory!