Where Did Jesus Go When He Died?
Two things that Jesus said create a mystery that is the foundation of this story. The first was when the two thieves being crucified with Jesus were talking. One insulted Jesus, and the other defended Him. The thief then asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom.
Luke tells us that Jesus said to the thief, “Truly, I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.”
Then three days later, according to John, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and found it empty. She turned away and saw Jesus standing there, and she apparently rushed to embrace Him.
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
So Jesus said that He was going to Paradise, but Paradise was apparently not Heaven, because Jesus said He had not yet been to the Father.
There is the mystery.
And Then There Is The Bosom of Abraham
There is a parable recorded by Luke in which Jesus talks about a beggar named Lazarus who died and was taken by angels into “the Bosom of Abraham.” In life, Lazarus had begged for scraps from the table of a certain rich man, who had also died. The rich man, however, was taken to Hades, which was across a great chasm dividing Hades from where Lazarus stood in the Bosom of Abraham…or Paradise.
Before Jesus came to offer salvation through faith in Him, there were those who died having gained approval by their faith. The Book of Hebrews identifies a long list of biblical heroes from ancient times. It would seem that upon their death, they were accepted into Paradise in the Bosom of Abraham. Those who died in disobedience were (and I would suggest they remain) across the chasm in Hades awaiting their final and irrevocable dispensation of divine justice.
And there is the setting of “The Gates of Paradise.”
From the welcoming of John the Baptist after his beheading, to the brief time that Lazarus joined the saints before being called back to life by Jesus, to the arrival of Jesus among all the prophets and patriarchs who had witnessed His life and death from Paradise, this story is one that has intrigued me for years. I hope it will do the same for you.
“The Gates of Paradise” will be staged every Saturday at 3:00 this summer, with the exception of Independence Day weekend and Labor Day weekend.
The Ragtown Gospel Band in Concert
Brenda Rhoades, Jay Young, and I will be unveiling a some new songs that we’re excited to sing for you. Brenda will be introducing a very tender new song called “Between Now and Then.” Of course, she sings it so beautifully. We have one that is great fun, called “Vine Ripe and Ready.” And there is another new one that is one of those big songs with a powerful message that is called “I Was Born That Way.”
We’ve also rekindled some of our personal favorites, and I plan to do something that I have seldom done. With the sad passing of Doug Smith, whose music has inspired me from the first time I heard him play the piano, I decided to perform a solo piano piece called “Galilee.”
Gather the family and friends, and come to Post this Saturday!