God never…. never changes

God never…. never changes

(In response to John Pavlovitz’s Things I Stopped Believing After the Election)

We live in a world of opposing concepts. It is a world of flux, and a world of constance. We wake up, and the sun shines. We take a breath. Constance. Yet, the world is in flux. We learn news from around the globe that we weren’t expecting. Empires rise, and they fall. Power comes to some, leaves others… and soon enough the first to gain power have lost it. Political parties do this and that. People die. Babies are born. We may miss that bus, or meet a random stranger in the line for coffee. Our lives are dichotomies. But, as the title suggests, God never changes. He is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. He has no variation. No shadow. No internal conflict. No unexpected qualities or events. He is – יהוה. Yahweh. From before the beginning, and even after the end, God will have been the same being that sculpted the something from the nothing. He will be the Creator of life from emptiness. He will be the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, as. He. has. always. been. God never…. never … changes.

We cant say the same about people… We disagree with people. We dislike people. We may even hate some people. And hatred seems to be a prominent issue in todays culture. Both the right and left side of the political aisle have found that pandering to fear and hate produces voters, and voters keep them in power. This election cycle has been a nightmare, a dream, or a twilight feeling that you cant seem to shake! Many are dissatisfied with everything about everything that was this last election cycle. They are calling out. They gnash their teeth in anger. They seek something else to explain why and how and WTH?? Many have lost hope, they have lost faith, they have lost feeling.

I myself have not lost faith. Nor have I lost hope, or joy, or understanding. So, as I look out over this country after more than a quarter under a new president, I see a few truths that I feel need to be drawn out. This post is in response to many who have spoken out since election results, but particularly in response to John Pavlovitz, a man who leads a church and seems to forget what Christ’s Church is ultimately. It is not a place to feel warm and fuzzy, not like the American church is today. Christ’s Church is universal, it stretches across political boundaries, denominations, geographical distances, and space-time. Right now there is an American missionary in Turkey, held without a real sense of any release coming – and he is living a life not unlike Paul, that reflects Christ more truly than these politically comfortable churches out there! But that is another post for another time…

People are completely broken.
When Adam and Eve ate of their own pride and arrogance, mankind was broken. We are totally deprived, totally bad – though not as bad as we could be. Obviously there are people worse than you, dear reader. But you are never as bad as you could be. Sin hasn’t tainted you quite that badly. If you have kids, or have been around people for any amount of time. If you have friends – you know that people are not inherently good. To quote one of my favorite shows (and excuse the language – it has its place) : “people are bastard coated bastards, with bastard filling.” We cannot deny that. There is no human on the face of this planet that doesn’t have sin nature they are hiding. Your kindest, sweetest, most generous person goes home to a room full of baggage and sin that manifests differently for everyone. Your most devout Christian dad is hiding a tempting sin just waiting to overcome him.

I point this out to say that no man is perfect. No woman is perfect. Additionally, people are as broken today as they were thousands of years ago. Paul writes to Christians around the Mediterranean reminding them that they once lived in the most despicable sins. From lying and adultery, to homosexuality and murder. They were once, too, part of the damned crowd. This election cycle brought out the worst in many, many people. We saw, and still see, an unbelievable amount of hatred spewing forth from far too many powerful people. But look back at Cain, the Tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, the Pharaoh, the Philistines, the Syrians and Babylonians, and so many more. Think about the many historical figures you have studied that have done terrible things. Think about the articles you read, or specials you watch, that tear down the image of these supposedly “standup citizens” who actually have many many demons. People are broken. It is undeniable.

Sin corrupts our whole being, and we cannot deny that broken nature. It’s why we want to backstab when a wrong is felt. It is why we cannot help be feel selfishly angry when our friend is successful in the midst of our perceived failure. No man is good, not even one, and our brokenness leads to our eventual demise for said evil nature. If left to our own devices, void of any of God’s grace, we would tear down the walls of hell itself to let ourselves in. We would simply be given over completely to our passions, to our natures, to our malice and hate and pride. It would be an unnerving life to live. We would truly be like the animals. But there is an answer, and a solution to this dilemma we find ourselves in. Though many will never seek this road.

Christ makes the world better.
So what is the answer. Is it money? Power? Love? Karmic balance? Good works? No, surprisingly it is what the heading of this section is. Christ. Christ is what makes the world better, it is wha- Who – will save this world. The dilemma we face is a lack of Christ. Not a lack of the church. Not a lack of government funding programs. Or denominational support. Or parachurch ministries. We need – you and I and the world need – Christ. But which Christ? Suit and tie wearing, right wing, gun toting Christ that fought and died for your right to beat people over the head with His book while simultaneously breaking commandment after commandment in secret (many times while people know your sin)? Is it the grandfatherly character who just loves you so much that he sent another to take your place and redeem you and love you and blah. Blah blah? No. He also isn’t Christ of multiculturalism or the Christ of a meta-narrative. He isn’t the one who matches your every need, want, desire, wish, and belief.

Who He is is the Savior. The Son of the Living God. He is the one who by which all creation unfolded. He is the Word of Truth. He is the Bread of Life. He is the Living Fountain. He is the fulfillment of Scripture. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. What He isn’t is a catch all. He is not everyone’s Savior, but He is the world’s, because people from every tribe, nation, and tongue will be found in His Kingdom. Christ makes the world better. Not religion. Religion is man-fused. It has many bits and pieces of human in it. It tastes spoiled and poopy.

America is completely broken.
This sentiment may seem to go against the typical, conservative, Christian, political stance. Additionally, it may seem to fall in line with the progressive, leftist concept that America is a terrible place due to anti-this/that ideas and policies. Neither is true. The fact that America is completely broken has nothing to do with worldly things, and everything to do with spiritual things. It is also wrong to think I am simply pointing out America’s shortcomings. This spiritual brokenness spans across all countries and nations the world over!

Many conservatives read portions of Scripture and believe that they refer to America. The main verse used is 2 Chronicles 7:14, which reads, “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” It is anachronistic and honestly foolish to think this. The people of God are no longer tied only to a nation, or country, or nationality, or any outwardly distinguishing factor! The people of God are the Church. And the Church is full of people who have a Savior. That Savior brought them up out of sin and brokenness. And America is terribly broken. We all can see that.

Beauty is not found in broken things. It is found when things are fixed, and put back in their true state. Many times things must be broken to see their beauty, but brokenness is not beautiful. It is this Truth that makes the Gospel more amazing. Christ saved those who were unbeautiful. Those who were unlovely and unwanted. America is many of those things, but America is not special. It is another broken nation of broken people needing Christ. The Church needs to show that more and more – especially when politics and other such things (many of which were relied upon as allies for many many years) are no longer showing that message. We need to be preaching salvation. Redemption by work that is not our own. Grace that abounds even in the face of our brokenness. Mercy that exists without expectation. Justice that will inevitably find its place, the question is where will we find ourselves? When time runs out, where will we be? Fighting for a better tomorrow that eventually will cease to exist, or existing to bring about a tomorrow that has already been set in stone by He who created all things? A tomorrow that is more beautiful, and unbroken, than we could ever imagine?

His table is big enough
This future date will come. All of creation is crying out for its arrival. A time is coming when people of every tribe, tongue, color, background, struggle, triumph, wealth class, societal class, etc… will be brought together. Under one banner. To one table. And that table will be overflowing. There will be more for those there than they can ever imagine or consume. But this table will not be furnished by mankind. It will be furnished FOR mankind, IN SPITE of mankind’s failures and faults.

Christ’s table is open to all who would be brought in. It’s a difficult subject to fully understand, but His table has had place settings since before the beginning of creation. Those who would come hadn’t even been born yet and God chose them to be there. We can be assured that His table is sufficient because He is without change, and knows who and what is necessary – always has, always will. This table will be overflowing with the best food and drink and fellowship that we could ever imagine. His table is being set, and the guests are being called. The invitation is simple, “do you believe in your need for salvation due to your undeniable brokenness? Do you believe that the Gospel, life, death, and resurrection is all you need to fulfill the debt of your brokenness?”

If that seems unbelievable or totally far fetched – you aren’t alone. Most don’t want to believe that’s all Christ is about, that this is all Christianity is about. They see crusades, and perceive bigotry in Christ and His followers. But Christ loves His own. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. The call is a high one though, and a rough road. It is a humbling road. It asks you to give yourself up, a highly erratic thing to consider nowadays. To come to the table is to admit you cannot feed yourself – truly – on your own. But Christ is sufficient. His table is full, and will forever be full.

Our table is not. The worlds table is not. It will be ultimately found bare. It will exclude many. So for someone to claim that THAT table is not big enough, is simply an understatement. The world, with all its claims of love and acceptance, it will leave many out. New tables form. More are left outside. The world wants to provide but has not the means. Only one does. Christ.

Christ is all you need
This world has many gods. Many little cords that pull on our hearts. Greed. Honor. Pride. Niceness. Tolerance. Deeds. Family ties. So very many. And everyone is guilty of falling into their enticements. Many times we are enticed by promise of a better life, or at least and easier one. Before moving onto the obvious answer (it’s set up in the section title), let’s take an honest look at the other options we find in the world.

Money is a popular option. Money buys happiness. Money creates stability. It makes the world revolve. Wealth is a symbol of completeness. When you can lean on your wealth, you have little to worry about. But who can name the top wealthiest in the world? Who can remember the wealthiest of the 19th or 20th centuries? Where did Rockefeller, or the railroad tycoons’ money go? Who remembers the great fall of the Wall Street brokers in the past? Money causes the best of men to make the worst of decisions to simply obtain more of it. It turns us into slaves.

But what about spirituality, or godless religion? Doing good. Karma! These things bring about good in the world, no? Think about Buddha, or Ghandi, or Nelson Mandela! These people had no Christ. These people did good things in the name of mankind! If we can just do good, if we can just put more good in that we put bad we will have done our good service and can die in peace, to be taken back into Mother Earth! Right? This is a nice thought. No doubt about that. But did their work ultimately fix anything? Buddhism has been around for ages, longer than Christianity, yet their philosophies haven’t made any lasting impact. Ghandi’s passion still exists in many places, but racism and classism still pervades many minds. These actions will eventually fade. Every aspect to their work will become simply history – forgotten. And remember, there have been plenty of terrible things done in the name of “gods.” Every religion has had something attached to it, even anecdotally that is bad for publicity. I myself have asked that question before many times. Why do I need this Christ person? I am a nice guy. I do nice things, kind things. I seek to bring about good in others, I seek their good. But the question that always comes back to me is “why?”

Why do this? Why do one thing, and not the other? What reason do I have? Is it societal clues we have developed and trained? Is it evolutionary biology which has brought us to a realization of some form of right and wrong? Can we look out on the world we have created, and live in, and honestly say that there is even good or evil? This is a tough question, and one that has plagued theologians since we first sinned. But something that nearly all thinkers, scholars, theologians, sociologists, biologists, economists, philosophers, and many others can agree on is this: this world is broken. We have droughts, and famines. We lie, cheat, and steal. We murder – many times without remorse or second thought. We blindly follow passions and fears. We die. Civilization is crying for something to make sense of this “why.” And it is this “why” that I see such Truth in the Cross.

“Christ is all we need” can be a rather pithy statement. What about air, or water, or food, or warmth, or love? What about technology? Well, yes, our bodies need those things. But we are more than a body. Biology tells us that without a shred of doubt, these bodies will decay. There is practically nothing we can do to stop this slow churning to demise. But the “why” tells us something about after that happens. These bodies will die. We will take our last breath eventually. But, and I truly believe this scientifically and spiritually, we are more than our physical bodies. That spirit which lives inside us is more real, in many aspects, than the nose on our face. That spirit needs more than wealth, or religion, or warmth – it needs Christ. It needs salvation from the shackles it finds itself in. It needs redemption from its numerous short comings and pitfalls. It needs assurance of a brighter tomorrow. Things of this world will not bring those things. Not politics, not wealth, not preachers or teachers or gurus. No thing of this world will satisfy that hunger within you crying out for more. No song will ever fully satisfy that voice. No promotion will fully satisfy that desire. No women, or man, or child, will satisfy that need for family or relation. Christ. Can. So when I say that Christ has the ability to fulfill your every need, I mean it in a Spiritual way.

In Closing

Now, all of these sections could be expounded on. And maybe sometime in the future I will have time to. But I want to hear your thoughts. Your ideas on what I am saying. Wrestle with it. Question me on it. Dialogue. Think. Pray. This tumultuous time in our country should not be faced with fear and trembling, because He who as conquered the world is still in control. No politician can stop His kingdom advancing. No threat of violence can stop His Spirit from moving. No fear of oppression can prevent His Word from reaching the unreached.

Take heart brothers and sisters, Christ has won. There is no fear of today, for today is one day closer to Christ.

Take heart brothers and sisters, justice will be served. There is no need to fear those who oppose. Christ is victorious.

Take heart brothers and sisters, sin and Satan, have lost. Do not listen to their lies, for their lies cannot even convince their ears.

The world we live in may seem scary, may seem like a reality tv show – but remember to live everyday as to the Lord. To work your hardest to bring Him glory, and you will not be disappointed.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

David

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The Apostle’s Creed Pt1

I havent posted anything for a long time! But this year I would like to try to find time to post once a day – something small just as a reflection. For the next week and a half I will be posting something on The Apostle’s Creed.

 

This creed can be dated back centuries, and is arguably one of the oldest affirmations of what it truly means to follow after Christ. It embodies something that all Christians can confidently affirm, something that ties us all together; regardless of denomination, background, geographical location, et al. It is short, yet powerful. It is simple, yet deep. It is beautiful and poetic. Yet unwavering in it’s biblical foundation.

 

So, let’s start with a recap of what The Apostle’s Creed is:

I believe in God the Father, Almighty

Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son – our LORD –

who was conceived by the Holy Ghost/Spirit…

suffered under Pontius Pilate…

was crucified, dead, and was buried…

He descended into hell.

The third day He rose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

From there He will judges the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost/Spirit…

the holy catholic church…

the communion of saints…

the forgiveness of sins…

and the resurrection of the body. Amen.

Today let us reflect on the first two lines…

I believe in God, the Father Almighty

Maker of heaven and earth…

The word used for believe is more than simply affirming the existence of something. It isnt like saying “I believe it is raining right now,” or “I believe that he/she did this/that.” It is a deep rooted conviction. It is something you stake your life upon. It comes from the word credo in Latin. It means to put one’s trust into. Traditionally “I believe/credo” came before a statement of faith. That is why we have things like The Apostle’s Creed, or the Nicene Creed. They state something known to be true by the speaker.

To believe in God is to say very little. The demons believe in God… and shutter… so it isnt just that we believe in God. God can be wrongly found in many forms in this world. We proclaim that we believe in God the Father Almighty. This God is different than a Zeus, or a Thor, or even Allah. This God is a Father to His people. He is relate-able. We are able to talk to our Father. But this Father is something else – He is almighty. He finds full strength only within Himself. He needs nothing, therefore He lacks nothing. He finds all things within Himself, and is entirely totally self-sufficient. He, as the creed affirms later, is Triune. The three Persons are entirely perfect within themselves and need nothing to complete Themselves.

Yet, God the Father Almighty is also Maker of heaven and earth. He, in His infinite wisdom, saw that His glory is best shown when there is Creation to revel in it and sing its praises. He brought creation of all things into existence because it brought Him great joy. He saw that it was very good. He knew that Creation needed to be. So He created it. God brought Creation up from nothing to allow there to be another thing that could enjoy His Truth in existence. Now, as we will talk later, it wouldnt stay like that long.

But this is our God. He is Almighty. He is Maker/Creator/Sustainer of all reality. He is perfect in and of Himself, but found joy in creating us to see His image and to eventually share in His eternity. This is our God. This is who we believe in. This is what we believe.

Amen!

Apostle’s Creed Pt2

Yesterday we looked at the first phrase of the creed:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty

Maker of heaven and earth…

Today we look at His son, Jesus Christ – our Lord.

Many out there state that there isnt much that separates Christianity from other religions. That other religions have the son of god as a figure head. That there are no overabundance of prophets proclaiming good news. That even the concept of dying for followers isnt only in Christian faith. But when push comes to shove, Christ is the lynch pin in Christianity. Which seems oddly obvious… given the name… anyways…

Christ, one of the Godhead… present since creation… God Himself in flesh form. This is something that is unique. Christ humbling Himself, from omni-everything to a mortal with needs and wants and pain and suffering… that is unique… A man who calls a people to both justice and mercy, in His name… that is unique. But when considered all together, it makes Christ and His ministry one-of-a-kind.

He is our Lord. Lord of our life. We must render it to Him, wholly. And that isnt easy. I really struggle with temptation. Daily. It is something that has plagued me for years. Giving everything over to Christ – to be Lord of all my life – is something I still have difficulties in. My sin nature pulls back so fiercely from the idea. But, it is still something that I know to be true. I know that Christ is Lord of my life, and that in the end my sin will lose that battle. I have my wife, I have friends, I have family, and I have the Church that is there (through God’s grace) to urge my forward. His Lordship demands that I fight, and fight I will.

His Lordship also demands a certain mindset in life. How I deal with people day by day. How I treat those created in His image. How I speak to people, and how I think about them. His Lordship calls me to something above the kindness of Southern hospitality. And that is a calling that He Himself exemplified. He treated people with respect – and in that respect He did not allow stones to be unturned. What was hidden in darkness found its place in the light. We all need that in our lives.

As we finish today, I urge you (I urge ME) to seek Christ. Seek His Lordship in your life. Seek His Truth. Seek His guidance on the path of righteousness – guidance to realize that you NEED Him to move down said path.

Amen!

Apostle’s Creed Pt3

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth…

and in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day He rose again from the dead.

From there He judges the living and the dead.

I believe in Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen!

Today we look at the incarnation of Christ our Lord. Mankind is fallen. This is undeniable. So, how could Christ being man be what man needs to overcome sin? Well, thats where the Holy Spirit comes into play. From the dawn of time the Trinity had planned this moment when they would enact their plan to bring mankind back to communion with them. God the Father had set creation into motion, through the Word of God the Son. God the Spirit had hovered over the deep, and then guided God’s people to that present time. Now  the Spirit would use power to bring life where it seemed biologically impossible. His action would fulfill prophesies that He had led men to foresee. His action would set in motion the works of salvation. True salvation. Not the foretaste that we had seen for centuries… no, true salvation had come in the flesh.

And this Person would not have the same inclination towards sin as the rest of mankind does. No. He would still battle with sin in nature. Sin in human nature, surrounding Him at every side. But sin nature would not intertwine in His being as it has in ours. He would stand above it. His words would be kind. His actions Kingdom building. His thoughts always pointed towards His Father. His conception was perfect, as He was perfect.

His birth, from the womb of Mary also planted Him in Scripture. Prophesies had spoken on a virgin birth. Of the Son of Man, and how His birth would usher in a new age. Mary was chosen, not because of something she did to deserve it, but rather due to God’s Will. He knew her to be a faithful Jew. One that truly trusted the Lord to be in control, even when things seemed off. She would magnify the Lord, even in knowing that her life as she knew it was over. She, while not pure in holiness, was pure in faithfulness before the Lord. She would fall into temptation through her life – but she knew whose she was, and where she was headed. Her trust was in the hope of salvation that she had read about in Scriptures… and had held in her arms. Emmanuel. God with us. And she had cradled Him as an infant. She had helped to raise Him, and teach Him. Repeating that we believe in the birth of Christ, from a virgin, implants Him in a family – and creates a backstory for Him that shows he lived as we did, yet remained sinless.

Christ… fully God, and yet fully man… His incarnation rang the victory bell for life over death. And we proclaim it as truth. Amen?

Apostle’s Creed Pt5

Today we tackle one of the more controversial statements of the Creed. It is a phrase that many in church refuse to say as they feel it undermines Christ. It is also, in my opinion, a phrase that the Creed hinges on. 

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth…

and in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day He rose again from the dead.

From there He judges the living and the dead.

I believe in Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen!
I’m going to do an abbreviated post tonight, as it is much later than I wanted – and this phrase of the Creed deserves more emphasis with another post. But I want to be sure to make a point in this article of faith. 
Many want to believe that Christ didn’t actually descend into hell. That hell for bad people, and that God wouldn’t let His Son go there. That it’s either a turn of phrase, or just simply bad theology. To them I say “no!” Additionally, I agree with John Calvin who said:

if it is left out, much of the benefit of Christ’s death will be lost. 

To simply end with the phrase that Christ was crucified, died, and was buried – then skip directly to the fact that He was raised from the dead three days later basically skips the whole intended purpose for His coming. He died to set us free. He died to take upon Himself the wrath that we deserve.Scripture is clear that the wages of sin are death. That sin is sin in God’s eyes, and even the simplest of sins breaks that connection (that was technically broken through Adam’s sin). So to forego the final phrase added due to its complexity is to skimp out on the whole purpose for Christ’s coming. 

He came for you. He came for me. He came to bring an inauguration of His kingdom. And He did that by taking upon Himself the immense weight of the sin of all of His elect. He bore our sin on the cross and underwent punishment for it. He felt pain. He felt spiritual abandonment. It is something we should be eternally grateful and acutely aware of our necessary response. 

Christ going to hell for us should evoke a sense of necessity of living out a life glorifying to the Lord, daily! Remember this truth when you think of how great our God is! 

Amen!

Apostle’s Creed Pt4

I apologize for missing yesterday! I ended the day with a migraine and was not able to do anything … but onward!

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth…
and in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended into hell.
The third day He rose again from the dead.
From there He judges the living and the dead.
I believe in Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen!

Now we look at the portion of the Creed that establishes Christ in history. It places Him into a real place and a real time that can be confirmed. Pilate, in the Gospels, is displayed accurately as a Roman procurator. His tentative relationship with the Jewish people, due to him being a Roman oppressor shows in his conversations with them and Christ. All in all, the way we read of him in the Synoptic and Johannine Gospels is accurate. As would be expected from a historical faith!

 

But, what about Pilate outside the Gospels? Can his existence be confirmed there? Yes – yes it can! Two historians from that time period speak of him in their writings. The historian Tacitus, a Roman historian and contemporary to Pilate, and the Jewish historian Josephus. Josephus spoke less highly of Pilate, which is understandable considering he was the figure head of oppression of his people. You can read about Pilate from Josephus in Jewish Antiquities. Pilate would be deposed in AD36.
So, we can confidently conclude that this aspect of the Gospels are historically accurate. I believe it can be further argued from this fact that the Gospels are a historically accurate document. Had Pilate been shown in an untrue light it would not have flown with those that lived when he did. But that can be a conversation for another post!
The second part of the Apostle’s Creed I will discuss today is that Christ was truly crucified, died, and was buried. This is truly a great conversation! Many of those that deny the historicity (the historical accuracy) of the NT or Gospels specifically point to many theories about Christ’s “death.” Namely, that it didn’t happen.

This, too, can be spoken to extrabiblically. But first we have to establish a point of truth. I come from the understanding that the Bible holds truth: historical truth, spiritual truth, divine-pointing Truth. I believe that the claims made in Scripture are accurate, even if they take some contextual nuances that must be explained.

I believe that when it says that Adam’s sin pervades even today – then it does. When it says that Balaam’s donkey spoke to him- then it did! If Christ was killed, truly killed dead on a cross – then He was. Period. Now, obviously there are places in Scripture that I won’t tackle today that raise questions, all of which I can discuss – but right now I want to clear up that when the Bible, when the Creed says that Christ was crucified, that He died, and that He was buried – it happened.

For the Apostle’s Creed to include this section is to stand in stark opposition to centuries of heresies that claim the opposite. Whether heresies within, or heresies without – to say that Christ didn’t really die on the cross is to state (in my opinion) two things:

  1. That Christ’s birth, ministry, and supposed death are meaningless. To state that is to confirm what Paul stated that we are a people to be “most pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:9) Where we find power the world sees foolishness.
  2. That either the Romans were NOT good at their job – killing people as a profession. OR the even never happened.

Let’s tackle the first assumption: Christ is meaningless. His work was at best a sham, at worst the work of a purposefully deceitful person. And Christians have been duped for millennia by fake words.

I would argue that such a position takes a rather bad view on history, assuming that people are lying from the beginning. That, maybe not the apostles but, those that came after fabricated this Jesus character that we worship today. It is evident through extrabiblical works, and contextual clues that the Gospels and most epistles were finished before roughly AD70. If you want citations I’ll find them.

So that means that the writers, and readers would be personally familiar with Christ, and His merry men. Luke actually writes that he did tons of interviews to collect his Gospel data. All that to say two things ( I know, I like bullet points):

  1. The earliest followers of Christ knew Him personally, and many died for their affirmation of His life, work, and death. They had every reason to deny him at the point of death. Not one recorded instance of someone recanting exists from that period.
  2. Many, many people could have stepped forth and put an end to false  data being sent out. The early church was flooded with Jesus’ direct followers.

Had the Gospels or Epistles been untrue, they would have been found out pretty quickly. Christ’s followers believed what they wrote – what they taught – and spread through the Middle East. These men, and women, had many reasons to wish Christ was who He said He was. Roman oppression probably wasn’t awesome. They knew a Messiah was coming – their prophets foretold it. But it was more than that. Jesus is more than that.

His disciples saw who He truly was. The Son of God. The Christ. He was the Messiah foretold. And when He was crucified, His Spirit was poured out on them after He had met with them face to face after His resurrection. They knew He was the real deal – so to say. So when faced with oppression, with arrest, with death… they knew His Truth, the spread of His Kingdom was worth it 10x over! If you’ve done any research into the deaths of the apostles and disciples they weren’t peaceful or sweet… they were deaths that demanded a recalling of any evangelism they may have done. But only if it wasn’t true… and they knew it was. It’s a pretty astonishing thing to think of dying for Truth.

On the other side is the fact that had they just been straight lying people would have called them out. Simple as that. “Christ rose from the dead!” “No he didn’t… he’s right here…” ” Christ is the true Messiah!” “Yea, I don’t think so… we have his body, your group has disbanded, and we’ve killed your leaders. This revolution is over.” But that didn’t happen. The Truth they spoke of couldn’t be refuted. It could be attacked. They could attempt to silence it, but they couldn’t disprove it. That’s powerful.

So, all of that was in response that Christ’s ministry was meaningless and the followers of Christ are the most pitiable. This second point is that the Romans weren’t efficient killers. And that just doesn’t make sense! Hah! These men were trained killers. Fighters to the nth degree. They were trained in the art of warfare. Their soldiers were told to guard prisoners with their lives. Those oppressing regions lived like kings. They knew how to suppress a rebellion. When a single middle aged Jew decides to “go up against the empire” and they are ordered to crucify him – they do that. And they do it with ease. At the event of the crucifixion we read of two others suffering the same fate. Plus the guards were gambling over the clothes of Christ. That’s how little the act of killing someone affected their mind. There is no argument from the angle that they simply “didn’t actually kill Jesus.” He was beaten, flogged, pierced. Had He somehow survived… after three days in a tomb there is no way that man would have restarted a movement…

So – was crucified, He died, and He was buried. Everyone knew the place of His burial. That was no secret. Especially guarded by Roman guard. Christ lived a historical life. With historical counterparts. His followers wrote His life down. It was true to the actual events, and Christ’s resurrection has historical ties (Nazareth Inscription is one). In the end, we recite this portion to remind ourselves that our faith is historical. It is grounded in real, traceable history. God is a God of reality, who works in the world and plans on shaping it into something new for the betterment of all!

Amen!