Christ is risen, He is risen indeed. Alleluia! This past week we celebrated the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This article will focus on a fine detail within the crucifixion account. It will focus on the man Pontius Pilate and why he is mentioned in the Creeds. Pontius Pilate was the governor of Judea who ultimately sent Christ to be crucified. He was an intricate part of the crucifixion of Christ.

In our Creeds we confess the phrase, suffered/ crucified under Pontius Pilate. There are three reasons why we confess this particular phrase. They are historical accuracy, mankind, and Christ’s humiliation.

First, it verifies the historical accuracy of the account. Pontius Pilate was a historical figure. There are many historical records from both scripture and secular society recounting Pontius Pilate being the governor of Judea and ruling over Jerusalem. Many Scriptural passages have mentioned him not only to show who will send Christ to the cross but also to show the time period as well. When we confess this part of the Creed it shows that it was a historical account, and we confess that the death of Christ really happened.

The second reason that Pontius Pilate is mentioned is to show that it was mankind who sent Christ to the cross to suffer and die. Mankind and it’s fall into sin had our God make the ultimate sacrifice, sacrificing his son for the sins of mankind. Pilate’s name reminds us that it was because of man that Christ suffered and died. This phrase in the creed is placed properly right before, “He died and was buried,” and right after the confession of His incarnation. The mentioning of Pilate’s name starts the crucifixion account in the Creed and shows why Christ had to suffer in the first place. When we confess these words from the Creed it reminds us that it was because of us that He had to suffer. He did so to be the perfect sacrifice for all of mankind so that they can be reconciled before God.

The third and final reason for Pilate’s name being mentioned is to show the humiliation of Christ. In The Small Catechism with explanation this phrase is found under the State of Humiliation in the second part of the Creed. John 19:1-3 is the scripture passage used in this section to give reference to this state. In this passage Pilate sent Christ to be flogged and then the soldiers mocked and beat our king. Here it shows that Christ humbled himself under the rule of the governing authority. When He had the power to absolutely obliterate His foes. Even though Christ is fully divine, He chose not to use His divine power. Christ humbled himself under the authority of the government not because He was weak but because it was the will of the Father that He was to suffer in such a way. When we confess this, it shows that Christ humbled himself so that He can accomplish the will of the Father.

All three of these reasons are why we have the phrase of Pontius Pilate in our creeds. Pontius Pilate was a real historical figure who was the governor of the land. It was because of mankind that Christ suffered. Finally, Christ humbled himself under the authority of the government, so that he could die on a cross and take all our sins away. We confess these words because of these three reasons, and we recall the one fact that Christ the crucified has redeemed all of humanity.

Vicar Hinojosa

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