Segments in this Video

Pilate in Creed (01:36)


The Creed skips from Christ's virgin birth to his crucifixion. Otherwise obscure Pontius Pilate is surprisingly singled out by name.

Pilate and Historical Claim (03:10)

Pilate is a documented historical figure; his appearance lays Christianity's claim to be a historic faith, not just a philosophical claim. This is consistent with the Jewish idea of God's relation to history.

Pilate's Character (02:32)

Historical sources show Pilate as a weak man prone to losing control of events, consistent with the Gospel account. Jesus went into the vortex of political power at its worst, helping oppressed believers identify with him.

Jesus' Suffering (02:56)

The Creed mentions Christ's suffering, not just his death; the Gospels also focus on Christ's suffering. Christ suffered in many ways throughout his life before the Crucifixion.

Jesus and Socrates Before Death (02:50)

In contrast with Socrates philosophic composure before his death, Jesus intensely agonized, knowing what crucifixion would mean. He showed how human he was at Gethsemane.

Why Have You Forsaken Me (02:43)

Jesus likely had doubts and wondered whether he was deluded. Jesus turned to the prayer of another who felt abandoned by God; his "Why have you forsaken me" refers to Psalm 22.

Separation From God (02:43)

Jesus had the common human experience of loneliness and feeling separation from God. God entered so completely into sin that he was separated from himself in a sense.

Experience of Separation (01:26)

The Trinity is inseparable, but Jesus as Word made flesh experienced separation. Aloneness is probably a worse experience than physical pain.

Spiritual Creation From Nothing (02:44)

Jesus resonates with the human sufferer because of his feeling of abandonment by God. God can reach us even when we reach spiritual nothingness; Luther described God's reaching us as a kind of creation from nothing.

Experiencing and Defeating Suffering (02:02)

Spiritual death is God forsaking us; Christ defeated this just as he defeated physical death. Christians focus on Christ's suffering to provide hope during our suffering.

Crucified, Dead and Buried (02:54)

The Creed emphasizes Jesus' death as physical fact, which is central to Christianity. Crucifixion was designed as a public, shameful death.

Glory of Cross (02:00)

Rather than deny the Crucifixion, Christians treated it as something glorious. Jesus was no mere political martyr, but the sacrificial Lamb.

Cross Preordained (01:38)

The Cross was ordained from the beginning; it is not just something God did, but a revelation of who God is, planned before Creation and Fall. Christ's death reveals the extent of God's love.

Reason for Cross (03:01)

Some wonder why God couldn't come as conquering hero; Islam believes God cannot suffer. Each of the four Gospels attempts to answer this question in its own way.

Understandings of Cross (01:56)

From the Roman viewpoint, the Cross identifies Jesus with the poor and despised. It can be seen as atonement, a deflection of the wrath of God, and as ransom, Christ buying us back from the devil.

Sacrifice and the Cross (02:54)

The Cross is the turning point between Old and New Covenant. Jewish sacrificial worship, in which God does not require the blood of the sinner, but of the animal, foreshadows it.

Purpose of Old Testament Sacrifice (01:57)

Some see Old Testament sacrifices as backward, but the Cross allows us to understand their meaning.

Fulfilling Sacrificial System (02:06)

The Book of Hebrews argues that Jesus' death fulfills what that system was intended to do; Jesus is the High Priest, the Sacrifice, and the altar. The Cross is the source of all redemption, including in the past.

Perfect Sacrifice (01:53)

Unlike animal sacrifices, Jesus was the perfect sacrifice. Animals were only representative substitutes. Jesus laid down his life of his own volition, a fact crucial to making salvation possible.

Defeating Death (02:51)

Death was not natural to Creation, but is the punishment for sin. Christ took on that punishment, defeating the power of death.

Paradox of Christianity (01:36)

The Cross turns the tables in the universe, making the worst place the most glorious. We hear a hymn on Christ's death.

Buried (02:12)

The Creed emphasizes that Christ was buried and descended into the earth. Christians want to leave no doubt that he really died; otherwise, no payment has been offered.

Descent Into Hell (01:23)

According to the Creed, Jesus descended into earth, or hell. He was in the "place of the dead." The language comes from the Jewish tradition and is ambiguous.

Hell (02:15)

Hell is often seen as a place of torment, removed from God, but no place can be removed from God. In John's vision of Hell in Revelation, people are tormented in the Lamb's presence.

Jesus' Experience of Hell (02:26)

Hell here does not refer to a place of eternal torment. Christ experienced hell on the Cross, when he was forsaken by God.

Credits: Acquainted with Grief: The Faith We Confess (00:43)

Credits: Acquainted with Grief: The Faith We Confess

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Acquainted with Grief: The Faith We Confess

Part of the Series : The Faith We Confess: A 21st-Century Look at the Meaning and Relevance of the Apostles' Creed
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After describing his birth, the Creed notes that Jesus Christ “suffered under Pontius Pilate,” thus providing a historical context for the crucifixion. In this program, Christian theologians discuss this and other aspects of Jesus’ death, giving lucid explanations of difficult spiritual concepts. Topics include the focus of Christianity on suffering and death; spiritual despair; the meaning of crucifixion in the ancient world, and how each of the four canonical Gospels interpret Christ’s death; Old Testament antecedents of the symbolism of Christ as a blood sacrifice; the importance of Christ’s physical death to human redemption; and various interpretations of Jesus’ descent into hell. Part of the series The Faith We Confess. (60 minutes)

Length: 60 minutes

Item#: BVL48038

ISBN: 978-1-62102-926-7

Copyright date: ©2009

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

“A notable panel of experts....bring a remarkable diversity of viewpoints to bear on the subject, along with a refreshing sense of humility and awe as they grapple with profundities found in the creed.... An excellent introduction to the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Ideal for use in confirmation or inquirers’ classes, appropriate for church or Christian school library/media centers, for academic libraries supporting courses in religious studies or programs in theology, and for public libraries looking for a thoughtfultreatment of the basic tenets of Christianity. Recommended.” Educational Media Reviews Online


“A perfect tool for promoting discussion, either for study groups for new believers learning the basics of their faith or for Bible scholars searching for a deeper understanding of this important tradition.” Congregational Libraries Today

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