The Apostles' Creed Part 4: Game Over?
"Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried." —from the Apostles' Creed
Has someone ever pretty much saved your life? Maybe a teacher walked by just as a bully was about to pound you. Or maybe someone grabbed your shirt just before you stepped out in front of a car. Or maybe a firefighter dragged you out of a burning building. Or maybe it wasn't quite that dramatic. Has a good friend ever tutored you so you wouldn't flunk a major test?
Or maybe, it was really dramatic. Maybe somebody suffered and died for you.
Somebody did. Just for you. Just for all of us.
Jesus, the Son of God, not only became a man, but he suffered at the hands of other men and willingly submitted himself to death; not just any death, but death on a cross—public crucifixion and humiliation. There is something powerful and too deep for words about this suffering and killing of God.
Chances are, you've seen Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of the Christ. If you have, you probably remember the silence after the movie. In showing after showing, people sat in their seats too numb to talk—or move. The beatings and crucifixion were all so horrible and unbelievable. What could you possibly say?
Imagine how the disciples felt as they watched their leader suffer and then die.
His followers had such high expectations. They felt Jesus would somehow make the Roman rulers sorry they'd ever set foot—and sword—in their land. They were certain he would kick them all the way back to Rome. Not only that, but Jesus showed himself to be a great man, a great teacher, a great friend. Then at the height of popularity, this incredible person was tragically killed and tossed in a grave to rot. Imagine the letdown, the disappointment.
But things aren't always as they seem. And, as they say, the darkest part of the night is the moment before dawn. If anything, Jesus' death and burial ought to teach us that the worst part might not be the end of the story. We have all experienced some sort of crisis. We have all been through times when things seemed so dark and despairing that we were ready to call it quits—thinking the game was over and we had lost everything.
But the story of the crucifixion shows us that the game was not over. Yes, there would be resurrection. And that's so important—and our great hope for our own resurrection and eternal future. It also gives us hope for getting through our current crises. Good can follow bad. The resurrection teaches us that. But in looking at the resurrection, we must also remember the great good that came out of Jesus' suffering, crucifixion and terrible death. All this showed just how much God loves us. That death also became the means of forgiveness of sins and opened the doorway wide open to heaven. His death became our hope and healing. As it says in 1 Peter 2:24 (NIRV): "He himself carried our sins in his body on the cross. He did it so that we would die as far as sins are concerned. Then we would lead godly lives. His wounds have made you whole."