By Rev John Chew
This part of the Apostles Creed, “and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried;” highlights the incarnation, birth, life and death of the Lord Jesus Christ. It states clearly our belief in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, that He truly came to earth from heaven, through the miraculous birth of a virgin, and He lived life as a human as prophesied in the Old Testament of the Messiah’s, sufferings and death (Isaiah 53).
This portion also focuses more on Jesus’s humanity than His divinity. It is a defence against heresies like Appollinarianism and Docetism, those who claimed that Jesus has only a divine nature. It also rebuts heresies such as Arianism and Ebionism which declared that Jesus is totally human and has no divine nature. Although this Creed does not explicitly state the divine nature of Jesus as the Nicene Creed does, it does make reference to Jesus’ incarnation—the “only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost”—to declare His divinity. The Apostles Creed emphasises that we believe in Jesus Christ, who is 100% God and 100% man.
How does Part 2 of the Creed help us in our belief?
There are at least two implications. Firstly, His death on the cross satisfied and met God’s requirement for the salvation of humankind. For the death of Christ on the cross revealed that He became our substitute, taking upon Himself all the sins of the world, He suffered in our place and fulfilled the law of God on our behalf. I thank Christ for what He has done on the cross granting what I cannot achieve—a sinless state. Secondly, God the Son is willing to humble Himself and take on human form, locked in time and space, yet unlike us, He is without sin. He was born as a baby and went through childhood, adolescent and adulthood. He was flesh and blood like us. He felt tired after a day’s journey, was hungry for food, wept for his friend, endured pains, sufferings, humiliation and died a painful death. Because He lived a human life, He could sympathise with our weaknesses and temptations, for He was tempted in the wilderness by Satan. No one can argue that the Lord Jesus does not understand us, for He indeed more than walked the path of human life.