It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. (Luke 23:54-56)
In the Jewish culture every Friday was preparation day. Of course, Good Friday was a special preparation day when Jesus would be prepared for the tomb. God’s timing was perfect because Joseph and the women disciples didn’t have enough time to prepare Jesus for burial. Because of the Sabbath, the women would come back Easter morning to unwrap him and put on burial spices and perfume to prevent the putrid smell. Of course, there was no need for burial spices because his body did not know decay or see destruction. (Acts 2:31b)
Burial, however, was important, so Joseph of Arimathea could testify that Jesus was truly dead and not unconscious. He had to die to fully take our sin because the wages of sin is death. Without death there could be no taking of sins or resurrection.
Death is also important to show Jesus’ spirit and soul were separated from his body. Acts 2:31 explains: He (David), foreseeing this, spoke of the resurrection of the Christ that He was not deserted (in death) and left in Hades (the state of departed spirits) nor did his body know decay or see destruction.” As we studied earlier in Luke all departed spirits and souls went to Hades. Remember Abraham and Eliezer were there in a section where they had access to God. And the rich man, who sought money and not his Messiah and didn’t treat Lazarus (Eliezer) as well as he should have, was in the section of Hades that didn’t have access to God. Jesus went to Hades to proclaim God’s salvation and bridge the gap so all would have access to God.
1 Peter 3:18-20 (MSG) tells us about Jesus’ death and his reason for going to Hades: “That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all – was put to death and then made alive – to bring us to God. He went (to Hades) and proclaimed God’s salvation to earlier generations who ended up in the prison of judgment because they wouldn’t listen. You know, even though God waited patiently all the days that Noah built his ship, only a few were saved then.” Ephesians 4:8 tells us: “When he ascended on high, he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”
In summary, after Jesus died to take our sin, His spirit and soul descended into Hades. He preached God’s salvation to all who were there and then led those who were held captive in Hades to Paradise. In other words, the people of Old Testament times met their Savior, and those who believed in Jesus followed him to Paradise.
Dearest Heavenly Father, I praise you because You are a loving God and sent Jesus for all Your children to be in heaven with You. Jesus died to make me righteous, so I can have a personal relationship with You while I’m on earth and then live forever with You in heaven. Remind me every day to not waste Jesus’ death on the cross. You are with me ready for me to ask for forgiveness and for the power of the Holy Spirit and other needs I have to follow Your will. You are present for me to seek Your refuge, not so I can wallow in negativity but to find joy, to move forward. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.