Today we focus on the section of the Apostles’ Creed which I believe “brings home” the heart of the Gospel.
While Paul preceded the Creed, he set the stage for the centrality of this pain and death-filled section.
With the exception of Luke’s recording of a twelve-year-old Jesus, we possess no scriptural information about Jesus’ life from an infant to age thirty. The Creed jumps from “born of the Virgin Mary” to “suffered under Pontius Pilate.” Why? Because the suffering and death of Jesus the Christ is the message of the devastating price of your sin and my sin and the dynamic love of God.
(Notice the suffering and sacrifice prior to His obedience to death.)
In The Heidelberg Catechism (1563), the authors pose the question, “What understandest thou by the little word ‘suffered’?” (qtd in Barth 101)
They answer their own question with these words, “That He all the time of His life on earth . . . hath borne in body and soul the wrath of God against the sin of the whole human race.” (qtd in Barth 101)
Jesus suffered for the sin of the whole human race.
Barth wrote elsewhere that Christ was the “total help over against total guilt.” (107)
Barth, Karl. Dogmatics in Outline. New York: Harper & Row, 1959.
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