Scripture: Revelation 1:5b-18
Hymn: Once in Royal David’s City
When we say in the Apostles’ Creed that Jesus “descended into hell” we are speaking the same kind of words that we find in the Bible. In the Psalms, David wrote about Jesus: “You will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.” Many years later, the prophet Hosea wrote “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your sting! O grave, where is your victory!” And many years after that, the Apostle Paul said that Hosea’s words were about Jesus, who is victorious over death. When Jesus rose from the dead after three days in the grave He was the first of us all, because in dying and rising again He destroyed death itself. So now we will all rise on the last day when Jesus comes again—His second advent. Jesus’ enemies thought that killing Him would destroy all His work. But the Apostle Peter preached to them that Jesus could not be held by death. Instead He had risen to be exalted to God’s right hand, to rule until He had become the Victor of the whole world. It is this risen Jesus that the Apostle John saw in a vision, and he wrote to us about Him. He told us that Jesus would come again with the clouds and that every eye would see Him. And then Jesus appeared to John and He spoke. He was glorious, strong, and even frightening. But Jesus said to John: “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”
Lord Jesus, We worship You because You died and are alive forevermore. You hold the keys of death and hell. We await that day when we shall rise with You. Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son as our Victor. You did not abandon Him to the grave. Thank you for raising Him up on the third day and exalting Him at Your right hand. In His Name, Amen.