We’re blogging our way through the “Apostles Creed”, one of the earliest statements of core doctrines developed by the early Church.
“…Suffered under Pontius Pilate…”
There is significance in the fact that the Creed pauses to say that Jesus suffered before he was crucified. It would seem that it goes without saying. But that it does say it is important because while not everyone can relate to crucifixion (though I once as a boy stepped on a Mr. Potato Head nose piece and drilled it into my foot), we all comprehend what it means to suffer. And to realize that my Savior also knows what it means to suffer is profoundly encouraging.
The encouragement comes in knowing that God the Son truly feels our pain because he felt our pain. For that reason, as the great prophecy of Isaiah 53 says, the Messiah “has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows”. On the last day (or rather, on the first day – of life in eternity), our Savior “will wipe away every tear from our eyes” (Rev.21:4). Look close when that happens, for it will be a nail-scarred hand touching your face.
There is not a type of suffering he does not get. He knows what injustice feels like (for that was his treatment under Pontius Pilate). He knows physical torment. He drank grief down to the dregs. The rejection of friends. Betrayal. Being called names. The death of dreams. The desire to slake the deadly thirst of temptation. Like the song says, “Jesus knows our every weakness, take it to the Lord in prayer.”
There have been many times I’ve walked with someone in deep pain, and all I could say was, “I don’t have an answer for why this is happening to you. But I do know this – that at the heart of my faith is a cross where Jesus died for us. He knows the pain you’re feeling and the evil that’s in the world. So run into his arms. Pour out your heart and tears to him.”
Some of you need to do that this very moment. My friend, Jesus suffered for you.