This is part of a series of reflections on the Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Maker of Heaven and Earth
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary;
suffered under Pontius Pilate
was crucified, dead, and buried.
He descended into hell,
The third day, He rose from the dead.
He ascended into heaven,
And sitting on the right hand of God the Father almighty
from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
The holy catholic Church
The communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body
and the life everlasting. Amen.
This line of the Apostles’ Creed may be here as a testimony to the historical context of the scriptures or perhaps the early Christians wanted to focus on the suffering of Christ at this point. I have always been intrigued by the conversation between Jesus and Pilate, so that is where my mind wanders when I come to this line.
There is more in the Creed to explore Christ’s suffering, but his point: that He suffered under Pontius Pilate is interesting.
As I write this, my social media feeds are full of political posts. Some celebrate the inauguration of President Trump and others mourn it. Those who are celebrating cite Romans 13
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” Romans 13:1, ESV
They celebrate that God has placed Trump in office. They tend to ignore the tricky questions that come when asked, “What about 8 years ago?” or “What about Hitler?” God is sovereign and thus nothing happens outside of his sovereignty. It is hard to fully understand that and I do not plan to unpack it here.
Instead, I am drawn to something along these lines that Jesus said to Pilate during their conversation.
Pilate was desperate to find a way out of crucifying Jesus. He was an unpopular governor, but as tempting as it may have been to appease a crowd, Pilate wanted out. Eventually, Jesus quit answering what seemed to be the same question over and over again.
“So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”” John 19:10-11
Jesus questioned Pilate’s authority and Pilate still tried to let him go! I cannot imagine what power a face to face conversation must convey. Roman governors were not much for having their authority questioned.
And yet, even though Jesus claims that Pilate only has authority over his life if God gives it to him, and Pilate seems to agree, Jesus still suffered.
Here is the thing we do not like to think about when it comes to the way our world works. As Christians we serve a King. Our King was humble. Not humble as in letting everyone else eat first. Humble as in letting himself be beaten and crucified. In doing so, Jesus suffered under far more than just Pilate. He suffered under the cruelty of the guards. He suffered under the unruly mob, all claiming to love God the entire time. Presumably, he suffered under Satan. I try to imagine the charges of the Accuser that Jesus accepts and it boggles my mind,
My hope in reviewing the Apostles’ Creed has been to simply; to get to the basics of my faith. Here are the takeaways:
To the one finding power in politics, Christ is foolishness
To the one clamoring for his own praise, Christ is foolishness
To the lowliest, Christ is power.
Author, Parent, Husband, Christ-follower