Yesterday, as I preached from the text of Ephesians 4:7-13, I gave an honorable mention to verses 9-10, "Now this expression, 'He ascended,' what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also He Himself who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things." What does this text mean? Where did He go? Did Jesus go to Hell?
The text comes after verse 8, "Therefore it says, 'When He ascended on high, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.'" Paul is speaking of the gifting Jesus gives to His people whom He has led out of the slave market of sin and into His glorious Kingdom. Verses 9-10 are Paul's own commentary on the first part of verse 8, the "ascended" part.
For us to fully appreciate what Paul is talking about we have to understand that Jesus stomped the head of that serpent Satan. Remember God's prophetic proclamation to Satan in Genesis that the seed of the woman would smash the head of the serpent? Satan did not fully know WHO that "seed" would be, but he knew it would be someone special. We now know, as does Satan, that the seed would be Emmanuel, "God With Us."
Jesus has triumped over Satan and his demonic legions and He has empowered the church with His own Spirit to do great and mighty acts. Acts of seeing a group of sinful people come together and love one another, thus proving that we are His disciples. We are able to do this because you and I are gifted.
Our gifting falls into one of two categories: speaking and/or serving. We either speak the words of God as given to us in the Bible or we are serve one another at each other's deepest need.
Are you using your gift?