For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
I think the common tagline for the gospel is “Jesus died for our sins,” and when trying to communicate what he went through for us, we usually describe the physical pain. I found out recently that the word excruciating came from crucifixion and both words are pretty unsettling for me. Crucifixion was agony and humiliation, the Roman’s harsh way of making an example of someone. Even if we haven’t endured any kind of torture, we can still relate to pain. But the worst that humanity could do wasn’t enough because sinners weren’t being saved from that kind of death. God’s punishment for humanity was, to put it rather bluntly, Hell. Christ suffered the worst of God’s judgments for three days. For me, though, thinking about his agony in terms of physical pain is strange. I mean, yes, it’s awful, but it seems like something very tangible that people may have gone through. Is physical pain really the absolute punishment for spiritual wrongdoing? Well, I submit that the worst Christ suffered was separation from God. Christ is God and when he came to earth, he was humbled by also becoming man, but he could still pray to his father. When he said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) or at least by the time he died, Christ was separated from God, somehow still being God but apart from his father. And because God is spiritual, not physical (I mean we can’t see or feel God besides the beauty of his creation) the spiritual judgment is what he needed to take from us. I don’t know the implications of what that means or what Hell is like, but there is some good to be taken from this. Christ was separated from God for three days so that we would never have to be. Every day of our lives we’ve been watched over, loved, and guided by God and even allowed to talk to him, 24/7. My pastor compared this to having the US President’s number on speed dial and being able to call him anytime we wanted. We have an open line with the highest power in the land and we can ask him for anything. Because God knows what’s good for us and has a much broader and more long-term plan, he won’t give us everything we do ask for, but why in the world should we not take advantage of that gift? Christ sacrificed that for a time, but we would never have to. So, my point is, don’t be hesitant to talk to God.