Lesson 29—Proclaiming Victory
Scripture: 1 Peter 3:19-22
Lesson Goal: To bring us from study to worship.
Bible commentators and scholars offer various interpretations of today’s passage. Concerning these Scriptures, John Phillips says, “We have come to one of the most difficult passages in the New Testament.” The Pulpit Commentary is highly respected and offers commentary from around two dozen authors and highlights their respective positions, but we will look at the facts in today’s passage as stated by Peter himself. Approaching these facts prayerfully and wisely, we will find they bring clarity to our study.
Begin today’s lesson by reading slowly and carefully the words of verses 19-22.
“By whom also He went”—one fact that Peter clearly establishes is that Jesus, upon His death, “went.” In the original language, the word went denotes going from one place to another as to go on a journey.
“preached to the spirits in prison”—Kēryssō, the word for preached, means to proclaim or to declare a proclamation.
**The Lord Jesus Christ, at His death and before His resurrection, went to the underworld to make, or declare, a proclamation.
“spirits in prison”—we must understand that the Lord Jesus did not bring to these spirits an evangelistic message, but a triumphant proclamation. His proclamation and declaration was a simple fact and glorious truth. Jesus pronounced victory. It was a declaration to the underworld: “I WIN! I win over death, hell and the grave.”
➢ What does the fact that Jesus won mean to you personally as a follower of Jesus Christ? Please read 1 Corinthians 15:55-57.
Take a few moments to reflect and discuss the victory and what took place in order for us to have victory. Read and meditate on these verses: 1 Corinthians 6:20a, Ephesians 1:7, John 19:30, and Revelation 21:4.
In 1939, about a month before his death, Eugene Monroe Barlett wrote a hymn that conveyed this important truth concerning this victory. Mr. Barlett had suffered a terrible stroke and was unable to speak. In the last month of his life, he wrote his final hymn. It was his testimony and declaration of his faith in Jesus Christ. Even though he could not communicate verbally, he wrote from his heart these words:
I heard an old, old story,
How a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary,
To save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning,
Of His precious blood’s atoning,
Then I repented of my sins,
And won the victory.
REFRAIN: Oh, victory in Jesus, My Savior forever, He sought me and bought me, With his redeeming blood; He loved me ere I knew him, And all my love is due Him, He plunged me to victory, Beneath the cleansing flood,
I heard about His healing, Of His cleansing power revealing, How He made the lame to walk again, And caused the blind to see; And then I cried, “Dear Jesus, Come and heal my broken spirit,” And somehow Jesus came and brought
To me the victory.
I heard about a mansion,
He has built for me in glory
And I heard about the streets of gold,
Beyond the crystal sea,
About the angels singing,
And the old redemption story,
And some sweet day I’ll sing up there
The song of victory.
Now as a class, before an audience of One, let us join together worshipping the God of our victory by singing Victory in Jesus. Let the sound of our praise echo through the rooms and corridors of this building. Let us proclaim and declare in song our Victory in Jesus.
After laboring several hours in study and prayer, I acknowledge that this lesson has been prepared differently and that it has less content than the twenty-eight previous lessons. Let me explain: somewhere along my journey of study, God took me, personally, from “study” to “worship.” I hope as you read and study, He does the same for you. I pray that the Holy Spirit has allowed you to catch a glimpse of my heart for each of you. I sincerely hope that our study always leads us to worship Him. Along my journey of life, I am learning that my hunger to know Him leads me to a greater worship of Him, and the greater my worship of Him, the more I hunger for Him.
Instead of ending with Life Focus questions, let me share one last thought. Picture the last scene of Jesus’ life at Calvary; the last scene is the death scene. Death—He is dying; and then Jesus is dead. His heart has
stopped beating; His lungs have no breath; life is gone; death has come.
But just as the laughter erupts, a holy silence falls on the most unholy underworld. Jesus has journeyed to the underworld; He visits hell with a triumphant proclamation. His proclamation: “Sin, death, and hell are defeated. I WIN!”