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Summary: the creed says that Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate. Why is this mentioned? What kind of suffering was this?

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suffered under Pontius Pilate

Q: Why is this phrase included in the creed?

I. -demonstrates that the crucifixion of Jesus is a historical event

-- Pilate really did live, and really was governor of Judea at the time of Christ, from AD 26-36.

-there are references outside of the Bible of Pilate, as well as of Pilate’s role in the crucifixion of Jesus.

II. Gives Insight into the suffering of Jesus

Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord; who .. suffered under Pontius Pilate

"suffered" -- God of eternity SUFFERED! He became a fellow-sufferer.

a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. (Isaiah.53:3)

That he "suffered" under Pontius Pilate:

A. Suffered disgrace -- public

It was public, not hidden; Pilate (court, judge), priests, soldiers, crowd -- shameful; the death of a criminal condemned by both Jewish and Roman courts

B. Suffered physically

That he suffered under Pilate means that it was a brutal suffering; You can’t think of Pilate without thinking of Rome. Romans were experts in making people suffer. Rome = tyranny, brutality, soldiers, scourging, crucifixion

C. Suffered rejection

It also brings to mind that Jesus was handed over by his own people to the Romans. The irony: The long-awaited Messiah is condemned by the very nation that he had come to deliver. And they didn’t do it in order to give Jesus a fair trial or put into prison, but solely for the purpose of having him put to death (something they weren’t allowed to do)

D. He suffered as an "innocent man"

Pilate: "I find no basis for a charge against him" (Jn.18:38; 19:4, 6).

Jesus was sinless; perfect in every way -- never lied, cheated, stole, verbally or physically abused anyone

Q: So why didn’t Pilate let Him go?

12From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, "If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar."

The dilemma of Pilate -- wanting to release Jesus, but afraid of the Jews (actually Ceasar) -- losing position; publically dishonored

Us? Wanting to follow Jesus, but afraid of what others might say or do, or what might be asked of us, or what we might have to give up or lose.

SEEKER: Here is an example of someone who KNEW Jesus was someone more than a man - he was afraid! - and yet he still had him condemned to death. THAT is the depth of the hardness of our hearts.

What you do not need is more evidence -- some of you have heard the truth dozens of times; you are pretty convinced that Jesus lived, was the Son of God, died, rose, and yet you just can’t bring yourself to entrust yourself to him.

It isn’t that there isn’t sufficient evidence, it is simply a matter of other things mattering more to you -- the acceptance of people, pleasure, respect, living how you want to live, etc.

III. Describes a legal process -- a court case

Q: Why "under Pontius Pilate", and why not Caiaphas and the priests?

Because Pilate was the judge who had the authority and power to either condemn Jesus or set him free (19:10). Pilate had the final word, and without that word, Jesus would not be crucified.


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