The belief in Jesus Christ forms the second part of the Apostles’ Creed. A marked difference between the first part of the Creed where we confess our faith in God the Father and the second part containing our confession of faith in Jesus Christ will not escape the attention of our eyes even during a cursory reading. The Creed devotes just one sentence to describe our faith in God the Father. ‘I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth’. On the other hand, its description of Jesus Christ is pretty lengthy.
Perhaps we can assume that since nobody has ever seen God the Father, we have our limitations to describe His attributes, whereas Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word ‘lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth’ (Jn 1:14). We know who Jesus was, and what he did. It is then in the fitness of things to use more words to describe the second person of the Holy Trinity.
Creed is the benchmark of our faith. We cannot claim to be Christians if we do not believe in each and every statement of the Creed. This being so, we should be able to convince ourselves about the various attributes attached to Jesus Christ in the Creed. In a nutshell they are:
-He is the only son of God, and was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. Mary, his mother, was a virgin. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead and on the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father and finally he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
Faith is a package. We can either accept it or reject it. There is nothing like partial faith, because partial faith is nothing but no faith. This is something pertinent in the current environment where many people say that they believe in Jesus Christ but are in fact leagues away from true faith. For some, Jesus is the quintessential man, a revolutionary par excellence, a social reformer, a role model, the epitome of love and the fountain of mercy. What they think is true. Jesus was all the above, but he was more than that.
Jesus is the son of God who along with God the Father and the Holy Spirit constitute the Triune God whom we believe and worship. Jesus was present in his glory even before the creation of this world….. ‘The glory that I had in your presence before the world existed’ (Jn 17:5).
The belief in Jesus is not something to be expressed in parts. When we say that we believe in Jesus it means that we believe in the divine conception. We believe in the virginity of the Mother of God. We believe in the historical facts about Jesus. The Holy Spirit inserted the name of Pontius Pilate into the Creed for those skeptics who would later deny that Jesus was not a historical person. There are theories originating from the father of lies and propagated in this world telling us that Jesus was never crucified. Some others are more generous. They say that though Jesus was crucified, he never rose again. Yet some others come forward with strange arguments to somehow establish that Jesus never ascended into heaven. As for the final part, the number of those who do not believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ is not negligible.
Beware of any philosophies that denigrate Jesus to the level of another prophet. Run away from any teaching that tells you about Jesus the man, but miss the all important part that he is God. And never welcome anyone who professes his disbelief in the glorious second coming of Jesus Christ. As a corollary, do not be a party to teachings that go against the hyperdulia (special veneration of the Virgin Mary) accorded to the Blessed Virgin.
We know only one Jesus, who was God and man, who came into this world to offer his life as our ransom, who suffered and died for us, who was the first fruit from the dead and who is now seated at the right hand of God the Father, waiting for his time to return to this world for judgment. If anyone tells you about another Jesus Christ, be assured that he is not from Jesus Christ, but from the antichrist. Listen to what John the Apostle tells us; ‘Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father, everyone who confesses the Son has the Father also’ (1 Jn 2:22-23). Faith in Jesus Christ as revealed through the Scripture goes hand in hand with faith in God the Father, without which our very claim of being Christians is absurd.
Let us proclaim proudly: I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, 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; on 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 come to judge the living and the dead.