And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten 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 again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
These are the fundamental statements of who Jesus is and what he did for us. The first and most important thing is that Jesus is the Christ, that he is the Son of God, equal with the Father in eternity, majesty and power. John tells us that “In the beginning was the Word” in a clear reference to Jesus, as the instrument of creation, a creation he then entered in order to save it.
· Born to the virgin Mary – this is an important statement of believe, believe that Jesus is the Messiah as prophesied in the old testament.
· Conceived through the Holy Spirit – because Mary was a virgin, but also emphasising that Jesus is fully God and fully Man, born of woman but miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit.
· Suffered under Pontius Pilot, why did a minor Governor of a minor state of the eastern empire get his name into the creed? This is not an exercise in placing blame but a way of placing the events securely in their historical setting. The Romans were pretty good at keeping records and we know a lot about the Governorship of Pilot and his relationship with the peoples of Palestine.
· Was Crucified, dead and buried ~ Jesus was really dead, He was not in a coma, he was not just body injured He was dead. The Roman’s knew what they were doing when it came to killing, they were very good at it, and to make sure that the victims of this crucifixion were dead before the beginning of the Sabbath, the others had their legs broken ( in the situation of crucifixion this would have caused almost instant death through bone marrow entering the blood system, along with forcing all the weight to be supported through the extended arms) Jesus was stabbed in the side, through several organs to ensure that He really was dead. His blood was poured out in sacrifice, just like the sacrificial lambs on the alters of the Temple
· He descended into hell ~ there has been a lot of conjecture over this did Satan have dominion over Christ between his death and resurrection? Did Christ minister to the dead, did He preach the good news in hell? The words originally used are those common in classical language for the afterlife, rather than anything as specific as the Christian concept of a place of punishment. This is further affirmation that Jesus was completely dead, experienced death the same way anyone fully human will, the difference is that as God he choose to die.
· On the third day he rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, ~ Since Jesus was fully dead it was through the Fathers authority and will that Jesus was resurrected. This was not the spirit of Jesus returning, but his body brought back to life, after being three days dead, his spirit had left the body and had been with the dead but the Father brought them back together and gave the body fresh life. There were several occasion when Jesus was seen by individuals or groups, he spoke with them he ate with them, taught them, then he returned to heaven and joined the Father.
· He ascended into heaven, whether this is symbolic or he literally rose up into the sky he returned to heaven without dyeing again. I was Jesus’ living body that rose into heaven until it was obscured from the sight of the disciples, this means that Jesus human body has now been incorporated into the Godhead. It is in this body that Jesus will return, at a time unknown but in a way that we will all recognize.
· and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. ~ The right hand is the place of honour, given by the host to the most important person present, the Father chooses to honour the son, above all else. The Father has also given Jesus all authority, he and he alone shall sit in judgement, he and he alone has been found worthy to judge all of humanity
"You are worthy to take the scroll
And to open it’s seals
Because you were slain,
And with your blood you purchased
Men for God” rev.5:9
Jesus will Judge all, all those who have already died and those who are still alive at the time the Father has appointed.
When we say we believe in Jesus Christ are we fully relying on him