Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Little is written about the time between the cross and the resurrection. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians and spoke of Jesus leading captivity captive when he descended into the lower regions of the earth. There is much speculation about what that means. Some think that Jesus set righteous saints free from Sheol, the place of the dead. Some think that the captives that were set free were those living in bondage to the law of sin and death.
Such speculation is interesting but what I think about is how similar the experiences of Jesus and Jonah are. Both were alive during the experience - Jonah in the fish and Jesus in heaven. Both were missing and deemed dead and gone. They both needed a miracle to survive their experience. They both returned and had a message of hope for people under a sentence of death. And this is where we are today as we embrace, with much hope, the mystery of the tomb and of the time between the cross and resurrection.
Thank you for experiencing and tasting death for me Lord. I am in awe of you.