Welcome to Hades. Deep in the bowels of the earth, it is a stinking, burning garbage dump for those who never worshipped God in truth. I am unholy and I live in this Hell. New arrivals here usually bellyache, “Someone’s made a mistake, I don’t belong here.” Or, “I’m a good person, I don’t deserve this.” And my favorite, “I believe in the Big Guy upstairs, I’m not perfect, but I’m a decent person.”
But this newcomer was different, Though He was a crumpled heap of bleeding and tattered flesh, He didn’t cry or protest. He had the audacity to march straight toward the Prince of Darkness and demand the release of the captives.
The Old Serpent hissed, “I’ve got you in my clutches now! I’m the master of Hades, and these departed souls are mine, mine, mine. No one ever leaves here!”
The Scarred One thundered, “I paid the redemption price on your cross of cruelty, they are free,” then he wrested the keys of Hell away from the evil one.
The Devil’s long claws were grasping for the keys as he sneered back, “Only those who believe in you can leave this place, ask them and see.” Satan’s glowing eyes swept across the inferno intimidating all who came under his threatening glare.
With that, Jesus stretched out His nail-scarred hands and preached to the captives trapped in darkness, “The Holy Father loves you, and I have paid the penalty of your sins. Only believe and follow me to a new life.”
It was a difficult choice, after all, He was here with us, and He looked so wounded and bruised. Many laughed at him, some ignored him and continued scraping their boils. Then, a thunderous quake rocked Hades followed by a mighty wind. This was the first fresh air we smelled in eons. The Spirit-Wind lifted the Scarred One up in the air, and He continued preaching, “Come follow me to My Father’s house, He has a place prepared for you.”
Many turned to Him and trusted Him, and as they did, they started ascending with Him. “I believe, I believe, I believe,” my heart cried out, and I also began to ascend. As I did a thousand regrets fell from me like paper confetti, a million heartaches were swept away in that powerful Wind.
Satan was powerless to stop us. The devil screamed, he stomped and shouted, “Stop you scoundrels, religious liars, and thieves, you can’t go to the holy place.” But multitudes of captives continued to rise, swept up by the Spirit of freedom. We rose following Jesus as He led us into the glorious light. The screams faded and I began to hear hallelujah choirs growing louder. I will never forget the cheering–the angelic hosts welcoming us home to heaven.
Incredible light emanated from the throne of God. There is a warmth that doesn’t burn, and the smell of fresh-cut flowers fills the air. Among the throngs of Heaven someone came and draped a white robe upon my back, and I cried, “No! I’m so sorry, I am unholy and unworthy.”
“The clean garment of Christ’s righteousness is yours by faith. You are loved, accepted and forgiven.” came the angelic reply.
The Holy Wind swept Jesus higher to the crown of Heaven above every principality and power in Heaven, Earth, and Hell. He was given a name above every other name to which every being bowed and joyfully worshipped. His voice rang out through infinity, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death,” Revelation 1:18-19 (NKJV).
Happy Resurrection Day!
Dave Holland pastored for almost 40 years before retiring in Destin. He recently released his new devotional based on the Gospel of Luke called, “Every Day Jesus, Experiencing the Jesus who Ignites Your Soul.” He can be reached through his website DaveHolland.org. or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is available to serve to minister or serve as an interim pastor.