The Apostle's Creed- Jesus' Life, Death and Resurrection

iStock-657091114The Apostle’s Creed – Jesus' Life, Death and Resurrection

 

We’re continuing our blog series on The Apostle’s Creed and picking up where we left off. Last week, the creed introduced us to Jesus, the only Son of God. Today, we are moving to the next section, which states what Christians believe about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.


We believe Jesus Christ…
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
On the third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
and sits at the right hand of God the Father;
from which he will come to judge the living and the dead.


This is the longest section of The Apostle’s Creed, which makes sense since these beliefs are central to Christianity. It is this section of beliefs that firmly sets Christianity apart from any other religion. It deals with the person and work of Jesus, specifically with his suffering and death.

Christ was a real human, who died a real death, because he wanted a relationship with us. Due to our sin, it would be impossible to have a relationship with God Almighty. Jesus’ life, death, resurrection restores this relationship.

If you are new to Christianity or have questions about what Christians believe about Jesus Christ, this is a good place to start.

Let’s break this section down line by line.

Jesus Suffered Under Pontius Pilate

Our belief that Jesus Christ “suffered under Pontius Pilate” immediately follows our belief that Jesus was “born of the virgin Mary.”

This is a quick jump from birth to the end of his life, which may throw some people. However, it is important to understand that like the Gospels, most of The Apostle’s Creed focuses on what was central to Jesus’ life here on Earth.

If you were to provide a one-word summary of what Jesus did on Earth, you would say, “He suffered.” Why did he suffer? For us.

But that is not the only important part of this line of the creed. This line also references Pontius Pilate. Archeologists have found proof that Pontius Pilate was a real Roman official. So then, this line of the creed provides some historical connection which could help in finding evidence that this event really happened.

Jesus Was Crucified, Dead, And Buried

The Apostle’s Creed continues by stating how we believe Jesus Christ “was crucified, dead, and buried.” Again, this is central to a Christian’s faith.

Crucifixion during this time was a punishment for the worst of the worst. Knowing this, we are forced to remember that Jesus, who was sinless, endured an embarrassing, torturous death because of his love for us.


For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:21


The next thing Christians believe is Jesus Christ was dead and buried.

He really lived and he really died. His pierced lifeless body was placed in a tomb.

As Enduring Word explains, “The gospel isn’t a matter of religious opinions, platitudes, or fairy tales, but about real historical events. On a real day at a real place among real people, Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, dead, and buried.”

It was necessary that Christ would die. Without the death of Jesus, there is no actual resurrection. Speaking of…

On The Third Day He Rose Again from The Dead

Christianity is a religion of hope and redemption. All of this is present in the next line of The Apostle’s Creed.

It states how we believe “on the third day, He rose again from the dead.”

As we discussed with the last line, Christians believe that Jesus Christ really died. That’s what makes this so miraculous!

Jesus had told his disciples he would rise again, and he did what he said he would do! Soon enough, the tomb was empty, and he appeared to his disciples on multiple occasions. He proved that death had no hold over Him.

Dr. Ligon Duncan writes, “It demonstrates that He is King, that He is sovereign. He is sovereign over the grave, sovereign over death, sovereign over the devil, sovereign over all of the forces of darkness.”

Without the resurrection of Christ, we have no hope in this life or the next one. The Apostle Paul discusses this thoroughly in 1 Corinthians 15. If you want to see Pastor Matt’s message on this text, click the button below.

Link to Pastor Matt's Sermon

 

He Ascended into Heaven

After 40 days, Jesus left earth and “ascended into heaven.”

Jesus met with his disciples one final time and said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth…

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight (Acts 1:8-9).

It was at this point that the resurrected human body of Jesus Christ moved into the heavenly places to be with the Father. If the death and resurrection were insufficient to prove that Jesus Christ was truly the Son of God, then this was proof enough for his disciples.

He Sits at The Right Hand of God the Father

When Jesus ascended into heaven, it revealed he was truly leaving earth and was going to be enthroned in Heaven.

The belief that Jesus “sits at the right hand of God the Father” is repeated twelve times in the New Testament. This is because the placement is important.

Enduring Word explains, “The right hand was the place of status and favor. This is because in the thinking of ancient cultures – most people being right-handed - the right hand was the hand of power, skill, and strength. So to be at someone’s right hand was more prestigious than being at his or her left hand. Jesus is at the place of status and honor in heaven, seated at the right hand of God the Father.”

Jesus being at the right hand of the Father reveals His infinite worth. But more than this, we know that two things are happening while Jesus remains there: Jesus is interceding and praying for those who believe, and all of Jesus’ enemies are being made His footstool until His return, the last enemy being death.

He Will Come to Judge the Living and the Dead

The last line of this section expresses the belief that Jesus Christ will one day return. How and when are secondary discussions, but the return of Jesus is “the blessed hope” of all believers. Without the return of Christ, our gospel is incomplete, and our hope is void.

According to the Gospel of John, God the Father committed all judgement to Jesus (John 5:22). When He does return, we believe He will judge the living and the dead. He will destroy all evil once and for all so that the beauty of good might remain in its fullness. That isn’t solely concerning believers and unbelievers; this concerns nature, creation, illness, and suffering.

In The Gospel Coalition, Andrew Moody explains, “But the prospect of Jesus’ return and the promise of his judgement shows that evil is only a flicker in the endless arc of God’s greater story. Goodness will have the final word. There will come a time when ‘The kingdom of the world [becomes] the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ’ (Rev 11:15).”