This week’s devotionals are written by hospice chaplain April Knoke and can be found in the YouVersion reading plan, “Out of Death’s Shadow.”
To the Grave
When I was a young four-year-old girl, my baby brother passed away from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Baby Nathaniel was only 3 months old. As young as I was, this greatly impacted my life. In fact, decades later I wanted to go and visit his grave and amazingly was able to find the cemetery and the exact location of his headstone from my memory of that graveside service. My comfort has always been to imagine Jesus holding my brother and to know that someday we’ll be reunited. Although our time together on earth was so short, we will spend eternity together. This is the hope for all of us, my friends. Jesus was placed in a grave, but it wasn’t the end.
What is the significance of Jesus in the grave? Scripture indicates that after his crucifixion, He descended into Sheol and broke the power of death! His body died for those three days, but his spirit did not. This is an example for us that there is a clear distinction between physical living and spiritual living. He laid down his life physically so that we would be able to live spiritually!
Yet many of us go through the motions of life, and although we’re alive in the flesh, we never awaken and live that beautiful spiritual life that he has called us to.
“For indeed Christ died for sins once for all, the just and righteous for the unjust and unrighteous (the innocent for the guilty) so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.” — 1 Peter 3:18-19 (AMP)
Jesus literally took to the grave all of those things we tend to live with now. Although He did this for us, the enemy wants to divert our attention and keep us spiritually dead. He wants us to live our lives so burdened down that we never access the power of our spiritual life.
On Day 2, we talked about burying those things that we don’t need to carry. We don’t just bury them in a rocky grave, ready to dig up any time we have a bad day. By faith, we believe they were buried with Jesus along with our sin and shame. All the things that keep us from new life, we continually bury with Christ. We do this intentionally and put them in deep, NEVER to be picked up again. We allow Christ to transform our lives from the old, dead-feeling life to newness in Him. How do we do this? We use His power! Hebrews 2:14 tells us that Jesus broke the power of death!
Baptism is an example of declaring a new life. As young children, another brother and I were baptized in an apartment building swimming pool. Even then, though neither of us had much of an old life to bury, we both knew it meant we had a new life in Christ.
We choose to leave those old, dead things that hold us back in a figurative graveyard where we know they’re buried, never to be dug back up. Then, we will come alive spiritually and live the life that Christ died for us to live!