b. Jesus Christ - The King - v. 19-22
Here is not only the conclusion of what Peter says for this chapter but it is our invitation.
King Jesus has been King from the very beginning! Evidently sometime between the time Jesus died and rose again it is believed, and mostly from this passage, that Jesus went into the depths of the earth, Hades, or Sheol, to proclaim a message to the “spirits imprisoned” there. Jesus proclaimed something to those imprisoned spirits but we don’t really know what it was. Some believe that He went to preach the Gospel to the lost pre-church spirits. In fact many believe that but some believe it was the group whom Noah preached to for 150 years.
Others believe it was not preaching the Gospel but proclaiming His victory over evil and sin.
There are several interpretations of this passage but let me share with you three points about it. First, this is the passage that many Catholics get Purgatory from. Jesus went into hell to preach to those souls there, and some then would be saved. You see that in the Apostles Creed, “He descended to the dead.” or some read it “into hell.”
Second, was the thought that the Spirit of Christ was in Noah as He preached to the “now” imprisoned spirits. The third, which some called the traditional interpretation, is that Christ sometime between his death and His resurrection descended to the place of the Old Testament righteous dead to give them an opportunity to hear the Gospel and give them a chance to receive salvation.
I guess I have to give you my interpretation. I do not have a dogma about this passage, but Jesus when sometime between death and resurrection He went into the place of the dead declared to all, including the spirits from Noah's time, that He was Lord of all, and that Victory was won and salvation had been accomplished through the Cross, salvation was not preached.
Peter then relates again back to Noah’s time to share the thought of salvation through the water by Noah and his family. They were saved by God, not salvation from the water, but their lives were spared because of the Ark on which they were living. He uses this same thought to remind us that baptism is not just the removal of dirt but it represents the pledge you share with God that your faith in Him is just like Noah’s was in God to save him and his family. The baptism is the symbol of anyone’s faith that God would save you through the death, burial and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Your conscience is clear because God knows your heart and it is sincere as to your faith in Him and therefore your salvation is real from Christ. This same Christ went back to heaven to be with God, His Father, and presently sits at the right hand of the God with angels and authorities and powers in submission to Him!
Now this is the invitation.
Have you submitted to this Jesus who wants your life to shine for Him?
Have you begun your journey of life transformation by the power of God to give honor and glory to the Father through the way you live, think and act?
Are you ready to say to Him who died for you, “I want to live for you giving you honor and glory all the days of my life by the way I live.”
Are you ready to say to Christ, “I am lost and want so much your offer of salvation and forgiveness of my sins.”
Today is the perfect day to make those decisions.