The Apostles creed says Jesus “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day he rose from the dead.”  

Sometimes when we think about the cost of the cross, we think about the physical pain. Brutal. But not the highest price he paid. Sometimes we think about Jesus becoming sin for us. The pure, holy, unblemished one becoming sin so we might become the righteousness of God. You know how you feel when you buy a new car and it gets dinged in the parking lot for the first time – and this is just material stuff, the stuff that rust destroys. The Holy becoming sin. Unfathomable. This was the cost of the cross.  

Sometimes we might ponder the cost of the cross and think about Jesus being separated from His Father for the first time ever. An eternity of perfect relationship, perfect union, perfect community- spoiled by sin. The Father could no longer bear to look at him. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” came the awful cry on the cross. This was the cost of the cross.

But let’s ponder this concept: He descended into hell. Imagine that.

Jesus, the King of Heaven, became the scorn of hell. Jesus, the One the angels serenaded, became the object of demonic derision. Jesus, the man who sowed human healing, reaped demonic torment. Jesus, the merciful Savior, experienced the merciless torture of Satan. Jesus, full of truth and full of grace, endured the fullness of hell’s lies and fury.  

This was the cost of the cross.  

Every demon in hell took its shot at Jesus that day. He heard every shriek, listened to every lie, received every blasphemous attack that hell’s fury could unleash against him. Every form of torment they could muster, he suffered.  Every weapon in their dark arsenal they used against the innocent one. 

This was hell’s greatest triumph. This was darkness’s reigning hour.  This was the day Satan thought he had won the cosmic struggle to overthrow heaven’s rule. This was the moment the evil one gloated over the King of Heaven.

This was the cost of the cross. 

This was the price He chose to pay for us. This was the price of Heaven’s love. This is the story of the cost of love. But if the story ends with Jesus in a grave, hell wins. If He descends without ascending, it is merely a moving but meaningless story. But the story doesn’t end here; hell speaks, but heaven has the final word … Sunday is coming!