Christ died today.
I will not go into the mechanics, the psychological and physical torment, or the innumerable hours a victim of crucifixion can hang there, choking on his own breath, before he finally expires. There are far more, and far better, resources and reflections you can turn to for that.
What I want to focus on today is His passage below–through the bowels of Hell.
We underestimate the continuation of the Passion after Christ’s body went limp and hung from those rusted nails. We forget that He not only conquered the world, but also the fiery core beneath, the refuse and remains of the fallen whom sought to destroy Him and thought they succeeded.
His journey through Hell was not one of mere passage.
What if so much of His Passion was fighting the pain of those damned souls in Hell, manifested in infinite pockets throughout history and time?
He didn’t go to Sheol–the Pit–for three days just to simply sweep His arms across its molten landscape and return. His earthly Passion was not so easy; why would His hellish Passion be any different?
Our initial reaction to that which is horrific, terrifying, stomach-churning is a reflex backward. We cover our eyes, hold our hand to our mouths, ignore the fear in our hearts that threatens to take us down to that place.
Down to Hell, where Christ trod.
Where He bled, blessing that damned abode with the presence of His very divine Self. Where His hands tore from the grip of Sin the veil of Death that kept His people from Him.
We are told from our earliest upbringing (particularly in Christian/Catholic circles) of the dangers of horror, in any form. The movie genre, the actuality in life, the practice of it in literature, art, poetry. The acknowledgement of the still-fallen remains of this world despite the Man Who trampled its fears is a worthwhile cause, and a subject that is long overdue for discussion.
He threw Himself, willingly and without pause, into every circumstance of every horror—every possession, every fright, every torment, every abuse, every intentional cruelty, every homicidal rage. Every evil and infinitely more ever depicted in film, ever conceived of in the mind, ever lived by any victim at the cruel hands of an abuser, an oppressor, a demon.
Only He could resurrect and bring back horror’s validity, beauty, legitimacy from the Fallen to give to the world.
Without flinching, He fought both in the blood spilt upon the rocks standing at the base of His Cross and in the torment of battling all the forces of Hell upon His descent there.
So we, too, could wade through the waters of the horror we fight in our world, encounter in our darkest dreams, deny but embrace in the interior of our hearts.
He could not have known the full triumph, nor the unparalleled greatness of His Resurrection, without becoming completely overtaken, and thereby overpowering, the horror, the darkness, the terror, the evil.
We are free to face them, to conquer them, to shatter them, to know them without fear…for they were conquered and known far before we ever faced them.
Yeshua, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, is the Master, the Conqueror, the Ruler of Hell and Horror.
Let us praise Him for it, as we praise Him for the Life He gives us through His blood, His broken bones, His spent breath.
Let us praise Him for facing the treachery and sheer terror of the creatures who betrayed Him.
Let us praise Him for coming back, despite our utter unworthiness.
No gift is more priceless.
Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/creepy-dark-fear-grave-534590/