The Christian Primary Creeds – ‘The Apostles’ Creed’ (2)
Apostles’ Creed– Virgin Birth and Resurrection
“… and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. On the third day, he rose again from the dead.”
Matthew walks us through this portion of the Apostles’ Creed to show us how it:
- Affirms the historical humanity of Jesus;
- Affirms the immense love of Jesus, and
- Affirms the power of the deity of Jesus.
The church today is not different from modern society in its engagement with contemporary issues. They get engaged in silly arguments like the Pharisees and Sadducees at the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry. They get solely engaged in the minors leaving the majority of our Faith. The real focus should know the Scriptures and God’s power.
–Born of the Virgin Mary became essential due to the heretical teachings of some Jews. The story was about Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera (c. 22 BC to AD 40), a Roman soldier whose tombstone was found in Bingerbrück, Germany, in 1859. A historical connection from this soldier to Jesus of Nazareth was hypothesized by James Tabor, based on the claim of the ancient Greek philosopher Celsus, who said that some Jews claimed Jesus was the result of an affair between his mother, Mary, and a soldier.
Celsus said Mary was “convicted of adultery and had a child by a certain soldier named Panthera” . Tiberius Pantera could have served in the region at the time of Jesus’s conception. The hypothesis is considered extremely unlikely by mainstream scholars, given that no evidence supports this Pantera in particular. Historically, the name Pantera is not unusual and was in use among Roman soldiers.
Jesus was not born of a sinful nature. If he had a human father, man’s sinful nature would have been transferred to him, but he touched humanity only by the Virgin Mary. The virgin birth was complicated for the pagans to believe or comprehend. It is the man, not the woman, through which the sinful nature comes from. So Jesus had to come without the sinful nature of man. Virgin Mary and the executioner were mentioned in the Apostles’ Creed because these are documented Roman records.
Jesus died a painful death to bring us Salvation. He died for us because He deeply loves us. The point of the Resurrection is to prove there is life after death. The power of the Resurrection is to tell us that Christ has made our lives significant. There is Power and Hope because of Resurrection. The Apostles Creed consistently serves as a starting point or benchmark to constantly measure where you are in your beliefs. Because so many different kinds of churches emphasize various doctrines, beliefs, and practices radically different from one another, it can be challenging to understand what is essential and what is non-essential.
There are essential doctrines like Jesus’ gruesome death on the Cross and his miraculous Resurrection that are required beliefs to be an authentic Christian. So the Apostles Creed is imperative for all Christians to affirm and accept because it points us back to Jesus. While our relationship with God can only be mediated through Jesus Christ, our Faith points to the life, death, burial, and Resurrection of a natural person whom we now commune with through the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit.
Apostles’ Creed– Ascension and Return
…. On the third day, he rose again from the dead. He ascended to Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there, he will come to judge the living and the dead.
Apostles’ Creed is significant to Christians. It explains things that make Christianity special. Our lives as Christians center on a King and His Kingdom. Eyewitnesses saw Jesus ascending to Heaven. Jesus Christ is equal with the Father and rules and reigns with Him; God rules with His Righteous Right Hand. Jesus is God’s Righteous Right Hand. Death cannot hold Jesus, for he has the supreme power – Eph. 1:19 and He has given the believers the same authority – Luke 10:19. He is alive forever – 1 Cor. 15:1-8. All other dead religious founders have their bones in their graves; none arose except Jesus. Jesus triumphed over the grave by His Resurrection, and His grave is empty – Matt. 7:25, 1 Cor. 15:12-13. The world’s blackest assumption is that Jesus was not raised; If Jesus was not raised, where is our Faith as Christians? And if Christ has not risen, our Faith is futile; we are still in our sins. 1Cor. 15:17
The Apostles’ Creed – Unity
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the Resurrection of the Body, and the life everlasting.
The word “Catholic” used here means Universal Church. When one uses the word “catholic” and writes with a small ‘c,’ it refers to the Universal Church of Christ. The alphabet ‘C’ is always written in Capital letters for a denomination like the Catholic Church. The Apostles’ Creed speaks about unity within the local church congregation and throughout the global church. The Universal Church is One Body, and Christ is the head of the Body. This Creed re-emphasizes the congregational unification, the work of the Holy Spirit since Pentecost, and the forgiveness of sins in the blood of Jesus on the Cross.
-  James D. Tabor, The Jesus Dynasty, New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2006, 64-72
-  Tabor, 64-72
-  James Whitehead, The panther: posthumous poems, (Michael Burns 2009), 15-17; Maurice Casey, Jesus of Nazareth: An Independent Historian’s Account of His Life and Teaching, 2010, 153-154
-  A. Evans, “The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Matthew-Luke,” Volume 1, 2003, 146;
Join me next Sunday, February 19, 2023, for the Final analysis of The Apostles’ Creed