Christ brings real life
6You have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord. Now keep on following him.7Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful.
8Don't let anyone fool you by using senseless arguments. These arguments may sound wise, but they are only human teachings. They come from the powers of this world and not from Christ.
9God lives fully in Christ.10And you are fully grown because you belong to Christ, who is over every power and authority.11Christ has also taken away your selfish desires, just as circumcision removes flesh from the body.12And when you were baptized, it was the same as being buried with Christ. Then you were raised to life because you had faith in the power of God, who raised Christ from death.13You were dead, because you were sinful and were not God's people. But God let Christ make you alive, when he forgave all our sins.
14God wiped out the charges that were against us for disobeying the Law of Moses. He took them away and nailed them to the cross.15There Christ defeated all powers and forces. He let the whole world see them being led away as prisoners when he celebrated his victory.
Christ suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried, and descended into hell (compare Romans 10:7; Ephesians 4:9).
Imagine Christ’s descent into hell: demons in an ecstasy of glee – strutting and parading, gloating and cackling as they celebrate the death and demise of the Son of God. Then Satan arrives amidst thunderous applause. There’s backslapping and high-fives; congratulations for finally winning what they believed to be the ultimate victory. And in their midst the Son of God – their prisoner; defeated at last, stripped of dignity, devoid of friends, abandoned by the Father (Matthew 27:46), cursed for being hung on a tree (Galatians 3:13).
As the demons celebrate, creation groans. The earth shakes and the rocks split open (Matthew 27:51). Men and women are terrified and filled with dread (Matthew 27:54). It seems as if the greatest of tragedies has occurred. It appears as if Satan has defeated God . . .
But what appears to be irreversible is reversible! Christ is stripped of life, but not stripped of power over death. He is abandoned by the Father, but still the Son of God. Hell can’t hold him because the love of Christ is more powerful than all evil! Incredibly, what at first appeared as a tragedy, was actually the greatest of triumphs. Christ was not defeated – he had come with the very purpose of defeating evil!
“The cross was the fish hook that trapped the devil” Gregory of Nyssa (AD 335-395). “Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” Colossians 2:15 (NIV). What a reversal! “Death has lost the battle” and been denied “its sting” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55). Christ the victim is, after all that he endured, the victor!
Death couldn’t stop or hold you. You turned a disaster into a coronation and martyrdom into a triumph. Your light is greater than the darkness. Thank you for dealing with sin, descending into hell, and being victorious in Satan’s backyard. Surely you are the Son of God! Amen.