Our Lord once told an enthusiastic follower to “Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” We each have false gods to which we give homage, and from which we are to detach ourselves so that we can more truly follow Him. But following Him and His disciples in itself is a detachment. On this day between Good Friday and Easter, how and where are we to follow Him? Scripture says, “being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit … he went and preached to the spirits in prison”? What does this mean for our Lord and for us?
Tradition has it, as we proclaim every time we recite the Apostles Creed: “descended into hell”. Where did this idea come from? What does this mean? For our Lord? And for us?
Today we’re going to look at 1 Peter 3:19, approach it like we did last week:
1 Peter 3:19
13: Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is right?
14: But even if you do suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,
15: but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence;
16: and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
17: For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than for doing wrong.
18: For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit;
19: in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison,
20: who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.
21: Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
22: who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.
FIRST: From the larger context inward:
Scripture as a part of Sacred Tradition;
- 1 Peters as a part of the canon;
- 1 Peters 3 as a part of 1 Peter
- 1 Peter 3:19 in the context of 1 Peters 3:13-22
SECOND: From inside out (i.e, word and phrase)
Reduce the sentence to it’s most condensed form [maybe best to do in Greek]:
- (in the spirit) “in which he went”;
- “the spirits in prison”
- “He went and preached”
What does this mean for us?