In Jesus Christ, His Son

This week we are continuing our look at the Apostle’s Creed. If you missed the first two posts in this series, you can find them HERE and HERE.

The next section of the Creed focuses on the second person of the Trinity, Jesus. This is the longest section of the Creed and it outlines the primary doctrines we believe about Jesus. It reads as follows:

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

Each section of the Creed begins with the simple statement of belief in the person of the Trinity being discussed. This section begins by confirming our belief that Jesus was the Son of God and is our Lord. These are both profound yet simple statements identifying Christ’s deity and his position within our lives as believers. There is much to delve into in these statements (and the rest of the statements here) but we don’t have time or space for that at the moment.
The Creed moves on to confirm belief in the nature of Christ’s birth. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, thus making him divine and was born to the virgin Mary, thus making him human. This is an expression that Jesus was both fully God and fully human. This is one of the deep mysteries of our faith, but it is vitally important. If Christ wasn’t fully God, then his sacrifice wasn’t enough. If Christ wasn’t fully human, then he would not have lived a life that could stand in for ours. Without this reality, the rest of this section of the Creed would be irrelevant.

Once Christ’s deity and humanity are established, the Creed moves on to Christ’s suffering and death. It confirms Christ’s suffering at the hands of Pilate. This refers to how Christ was beaten before he was nailed to the cross. Jesus was our suffering servant Messiah and what he experienced from Pilate was the beginning of that suffering. Christ was then crucified, died, and buried. The Creed also says that he descended to hell. This comes from a brief passage in Ephesians. I am not going to attempt to explain it here. I attempted that once in my college Greek class and that was enough. Again, we find the Creed highlighting the vitally important pieces of our faith. If Christ didn’t die, then he wasn’t the final sacrifice for sin that covers it once for all. If he didn’t rise from the dead, then he was simply another in a long line of false messiahs. Christ’s death and resurrection are the events that allow reconciliation with the Father. They are the core events of our faith.

The final portion of this section speaks of Christ’s ascension, his current place with the Father, and his coming again. As Christians, we believe in a bodily resurrection. This means that we believe one day those who died in Christ will be raised from the dead and given new, glorified bodies. Actual bodies. Christ is the first born from the dead and we see him fulfilling this truth of bodily resurrection by appearing to the disciples. The end of this section confirms that Christ ascended into heaven in his new body. It confirms that Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father. Hebrews tells us that he is there interceding for us before the Father in prayer. And this section of the Creed closes by tell us Christ will return as judge at the end of time. As it has in the other sections, the Creed is confirming core Christian belief about who Jesus is. He is our Messiah who has returned to heaven from whence he came. He is our Great High Priest who sits at God’s right hand interceding for us. He is the final judge of the living and the dead. He is our Lord.

We believe in Jesus. We believe in a God who loves us to much he was willing to send his son to live a human life, to suffer, to die, to take on our punishment, and to rise again so that we can be reconciled to him. And he is now, at this very moment, at the Father’s right hand interceding for us until he returns as judge. This is what we believe and it is so full of hope and joy and glory that it’s almost impossible to wrap our minds around it.

Josh Cervone