Writes Steve Ray:
He was in the tomb, of course. Soldiers guarded the tomb and a seal had been placed on the stone. His dead and bloodied body lay wrapped in the shroud of burial.
But in 1 Peter 3:18 we are told that while his body lay cold in the tomb, he was moving around preaching the Gospel!
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison.
1 Peter 4:6 says that the gospel was preached to the dead:
For this is why the gospel was preached even to the dead, that though judged in the flesh like men, they might live in the spirit like God.
Paragraph 632 of the Catechism says,
The frequent New Testament affirmations that Jesus was “raised from the dead” presuppose that the crucified one sojourned in the realm of the dead prior to his resurrection. This was the first meaning given in the apostolic preaching to Christ’s descent into hell: that Jesus, like all men, experienced death and in his soul joined the others in the realm of the dead. But he descended there as Savior, proclaiming the Good News to the spirits imprisoned there. Paragraphs 633 and 634 add more light on Jesus’ descent into hell.
Remember the story of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31)? Jesus tells of those in the afterlife. The Bible does not tell us everything, but what it tells us is true and gives us a glimpse into the unseen world. Jesus will return from the underworld, his body and soul will be reunited and he will rise from the grave–Easter morning is right around the corner. If a video camera had been set up inside the tomb 2000 years ago we would have seen a cold lifeless body rise up and walk out of the tomb.
He is RISEN! He is risen indeed! And because HE has risen, we will rise too!