Religion would say Jesus went immediately into the presence of God, or straight into Paradise. On the cross Jesus said to the thief, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” ( Luke 23:43). This seems to say He is going to Heaven, but Paradise (for the Jewish believer) wasn’t Heaven or the presence of God, but the Garden of Eden or the bosom of Abraham (Luke 6:23-31). Jesus explained that before the resurrection when a person died in faith they went to the bosom of Abraham to await entry into Heaven, while the unbeliever went to Hades to await judgement. The way into Heaven for mankind was not open until after Jesus was raised from the dead.
Since Jesus became sin, He was not ready to enter into Paradise or Heaven. Based on Old Testament Scriptures, Jesus went to Hades before Paradise. When Jesus was raised on the first day of the week and encountered Mary, He spoke these words, “I have not yet ascended to the Father” (John 20:16). So, He didn’t merely die and go to Heaven, He died and fought the ultimate battle for your eternity!
You may ask, “Why is this important?” Failing to grasp the battle Jesus faced in the grave minimizes the price He paid for you, thereby diminishing your understanding of God’s incredible love. JOIN ME this week and discover a more scriptural perspective for what Jesus did for you in the grave and open your heart to a greater love than you ever imagined.