What Happened Between John 19:42 and John 20?

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There have been many questions concerning the three days Jesus spent in the grave. In fact, I call this period what happened between John 19:42 and John 20. The gospel writer, John, does not seem to interested in this period as he goes right from the burial to the resurrection. The following things seem to be important to John:
The trial of Jesus (John 18:28-40)
The crucifixion of Jesus (John 19:1-27)
The death of Jesus (John 19:28-37)
The burial of Jesus (John 19:38-42)
The resurrection of Jesus (John 20)
These events seems to be the primary and ultimate concern of the gospel writer. However, other writers of the New Testament have more to say about the events that convened. In fact, the other apostles who were eye witnesses of the things that occured around the resurrection of Jesus Christ fill in the details in a way that John doesn’t care to share. To answer our inquiry on the things that happened between John 19:42 and John 20, we will depend on two credible witnesses: 1) the apostle Peter, and 2) the apostle Paul. However, before we get into their testimonies, we must solve the debate of whether Jesus died a physical or spiritual death.

Spiritual or Physical Death?

Within Pentecostal churches, there are many that have posited Jesus’s death was spiritual. However, the dangerous proposition is that Jesus died a spiritual death, only. The problem with this notion, is that there are passages that allow one to reasonable argue that Jesus died a spiritual death. Yet, there are also passages that demonstrate Jesus died a physical death.
On one side, these passages reveal that Jesus died in the flesh, a physical death.
Colossians 1:21–22 CSB
21 Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds as expressed in your evil actions. 22 But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through his death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before him—
1 Peter 3:18 CSB
18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
However, the following speakers demonstrate the expectation that the Messiah would not “decay.” To decay means to endure decomposition of organic matter.
Psalm 16:10 CSB
10 For you will not abandon me to Sheol; you will not allow your faithful one to see decay.
Acts 2:27 CSB
27 because you will not abandon me in Hades or allow your holy one to see decay.
Acts 2:31 CSB
31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah: He was not abandoned in Hades, and his flesh did not experience decay.
Acts 13:35–37 CSB
35 Therefore he also says in another passage, You will not let your Holy One see decay. 36 For David, after serving God’s purpose in his own generation, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and decayed, 37 but the one God raised up did not decay.
What can be said about these verses in lieu of Jesus’s physical death? How could Jesus die a physical death if His body was not to decay? Here, I conclude that the Scriptures testify the miracle of Jesus’s death. For, though He died, His body did not decay or deconstruct. Furthermore, Jesus did not stay in the grave. For He was resurrected.
Now, that we see there is no discrepancy or contradiction between the idea of Jesus’s physical death and His burial, we must now ask, again, what happened between John 19:42 and John 20. We know that Jesus’s body is not decaying in the grave. Furthermore, we recognize Jesus’s burial is not as the average individual’s.
While the apostle John does not care to mention the events that occured during Jesus’s burial, the other apostles identify a tremendous fact about Jesus’s ultimate authority over all things, and this is the power of Jesus’s burial.

Jesus’s Cosmic Authority

If we are to understand the mysterious events of Jesus’s burial, we must understand the authority that was given to Jesus because of His bodily death and resurrection. Two things were accomplished:
The overthrow of the traditional law.
The overthrow of the spiritual powers which manipulate the conditions of this world.
Colossians 2:13–15 CSB
13 And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive with him and forgave us all our trespasses. 14 He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; he triumphed over them in him.
1 Peter 3:19 CSB
19 in which he also went and made proclamation to the spirits in prison
It is important to recognize the various views of this particular passage.
First, Augustine, and since him many others, understood the text to refer to Christ’s preaching through Noah to those who lived while Noah was building the ark. According to this view, Christ was not personally present but spoke by means of the Holy Spirit through Noah. The spirits are not literally in prison but refer to those who were snared in sin during Noah’s day. If this view is correct, any notion of Christ descending into hell is excluded. Second, some have understood Peter as referring to Old Testament saints who died and were liberated by Christ between his death and resurrection. Third, others understand the imprisoned spirits to refer, as in 4:6, to the sinful human beings who perished during Noah’s flood. Christ in the interval between his death and resurrection descended to hell and preached to them, offering them the opportunity to repent and be saved. Most of those who adopt such an interpretation infer from this that God will offer a second chance to all those in hell, especially to those who never heard the gospel. If salvation was offered to the wicked generation of Noah, surely it will also be extended to all sinners separated from God. Fourth, the majority view among scholars today is that the text describes Christ’s proclamation of victory and judgment over the evil angels. (Schreiner, T. R. (2003). 1, 2 Peter, Jude (Vol. 37, pp. 184–185). Broadman & Holman Publishers.)
Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament 14. The Reward of Suffering for Well Doing (3:18–22)

Our Lord therefore, between His death on the Cross and His resurrection from Joseph’s tomb, preached to the fallen angels in Tartarus. But what did He preach to them? The word translated “preached” here is kerusso (κερυσσο). The word was used in secular Greek of an official announcement or proclamation made by a representative of a government.

Conclusion: Empowerment

So, the conclusion that one must make concerning what Christ has done is the equipping of the saints with the power of Christ.
Ephesians 6:10–20 CSB
10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. 13 For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 14 Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, 15 and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. 16 In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the word of God. 18 Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. 19 Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. 20 For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough to speak about it as I should.
Revelation 1:18 CSB
18 and the Living One. I was dead, but look—I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades.
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