Contend Earnestly: Nicene Creed: Part 4

Monday, April 19, 2010

Nicene Creed: Part 4

Crucified for us (Mark 15:25; I Corinthians 15:3; John 1:29; Gal 1:4; Heb 5:1, 3; 1 Pet 2:24)
Jesus Christ was crucified for us. He not only literally came from heaven and walked among us, but he literally was nailed to a cross and died for us. The Qur'an claims that Jesus was not crucified by the Jews (Surah 4:157), as the Jews were seemingly bragging about it during their time, and we accept this. We believe that although the Romans literally nailed Jesus to the cross, not the Jews, this plan of crucifixion for our sins was the predetermined plan of God alone and not man. The fact remains that my Christ died on a tree to pay for my sins, as my atoning sacrifice. Because, as all monotheistic faiths believe,

For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.
Leviticus 17:11

Hebrews 9 explains why Jesus, the eternal One, had to be the sacrifice for our sins, instead of merely a finite animal:

And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
Hebrews 9:22-28

I believe that Jesus the Christ, the Son of Man, was crucified for me.

Under Pontius Pilate (John 18:29-19:30; John 19:10-11)

Jesus was merely crucified under the local rule of Pontius Pilate. This is mentioned for historical reasons and for the reminder that only God has authority to put to death his own Son. Not only that but Proverbs reminds us the following:

The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.
Proverbs 21:1

The conversation between Pilate and our Lord reminds us of the sovereignty of God and that his will is the only will that is perfect and worked out every time.

So Pilate said to Him, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?” Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”
John 19:10-11

I believe that Jesus was crucified under the rule, not authority, of Pontius Pilate.

He suffered (Mark 8:31–9:1: Matt 16:21–28; Luke 9:22–27)

Jesus Christ was a real man, because of this, he suffered. Jesus was not as the Gnostics say, merely looking like man, but really only spirit. Jesus was a real man, in the flesh (sarx), came down and became man (carne), so suffered like one. He was not released from the duties of suffering, but because he became like us, he suffered like us. He did this to be our closely related high priest, who can truly understand our sufferings, yet say that he suffered much more. He suffered to be our mediator between us and God (read Job 9). Jesus was not rescued, he in no way was allowed provision from suffering, but truly suffered as any man would suffer if he were to be scourged and killed on a cross. But, because he is the Word incarnate, his eternal suffering, is far more, not far less than man's. I believe that Jesus the Christ, the Jesus of Nazarath, born of the virgin Mary, suffered.

and was buried (Luke 23:50–56: Matt 27:57–61; Mark 15:42–47; John 19:38–42; 1 Corinthians 15:4)

Because Jesus, the incarnate Word, was crucified on the cross, he literally died. Because of this, like any other Jewish man, was buried in a tomb. He was treated like any other man, by being buried as local tradition and culture would have buried him, hence the burial spices and linen cloth. But, most men who were crucified were then thrown into the trash pile to be eaten by the animals, yet our Lord was prophesied to be laid in the grave of a rich man, instead of with those who were called, "cursed."

His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
Isaiah 53:9

Jesus' traditional burial, being wrapped in white linen and over 100 lbs. in spices, shows that according to every "professional" that saw him, saw him actually dead. Even if somehow he survived the cross and merely passed out, after being wrapped tightly in burial linens and spices, he would have then suffocated. This pronouncement of death included the Romans, the Jews and Jesus' followers. No one in the days of Jesus ever had reason to suspect that Jesus of Nazareth survived such a gruesome day, but all were under the correct conclusion that Jesus had literally died. I believe that not only was Jesus scourged and crucified, but was buried because he literally died.


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