The Human One
How do you find this brief statement/Article referring to the Passion of Christ? Yes, it is the Article giving us the summary of Jesus’ life after his miraculous birth, yet there is nothing miraculous here.
- Suffered under Pontius Pilate;
- was crucified, dead and buried:
- He descended into hell:
Theses three statements ,for me, present a very human Jesus yet Christendom is still not quite sure how to separate the Man-god so as to say who died on the Cross. Mortal or Divine ?Jesus, son of Mary, son of God or God the Son i.e. GOD-and resultantly countless heated discussions ensue.
To make any sense of it let me say – for now, set aside learned dogma because this Article belongs to a very Human Being. The rabbis write in the Talmud in Succah 52a that there will be a Messiah ben Joseph (Moshiach ben Yosef)
You will notice that I have divided this one into three dot points. Firstly:
He suffered under Pontius Pilate
“Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” – John 19:10-11What Does the Bible Say about Pontius Pilate?
One of the first questions posed by those pondering these events is whether Pontius Pilate actually existed and therefore was able to crucify anyone, let alone Jesus. Archaeology has thrown up some proof to show that he was not a figment invented to carry out the sentence. (Artifacts with his image and name place him unquestionably in history) There are references to him by Philo of Alexandria, writing at about 50AD, and by Flavius Josephus. Flavius Josephus was born in Jerusalem the year Pontius Pilate left office and might be expected to have genuine information. Both historians speak of Pilate’s ruthless disregard for Jewish Law.
The Sanhedrists had accused Jesus of Capital Treason, of claiming to be king of the Jews, for this the Penalty was death by Crucifixion – specifically, they were afraid that, if Jesus started a revolt, Rome would blame the Jewish leaders. So, part of the motivation for involving Pilate was to prove—or at least give the impression—that the Jewish leadership was loyal to the Roman Empire. This is reflected in the chief priests’ outrageous statement to Pilate, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15).
After a visit to Herod Antipas who returned Jesus to Pilate Jesus suffered – under Pontius Pilate
Pilate did not want to crucify Jesus, as we read in the Gospels’ accounts, and so we have the unverified(by Talmud and other sources) offer to pardon a prisoner on account of a clemency law associated with Passover – the people were incited to request that Barabbas, a Highwayman be pardoned and Jesus crucified. Pilate had Jesus scourged.
“This scourging was usually inflicted by lictors,” notes Easton’s Bible Dictionary, “but as Pilate was only a procurator he had no lictor, and hence his soldiers inflicted this terrible punishment.”Easton’s Bible Dictionary.org
Though Jesus was scourged it was not to the extremes below otherwise he could not have carried the cross, or indeed be alive to do so.
Note – when people became believers soon after these events they received their catechism from those who had been present at the events else from their relatives. The Creed evolved, as we have said, by the 4th Century AD to detail these events as Articles of Faith. Faith because there was no longer the link to ‘Proof”
secondly He was Crucified Dead and was buried.
The events taking place at the Crucifixion, (Best taken from Mark) were given in the form of the Jewish hours of the day; later adopted as the canonical hours. Time was calculated based on a dawn of 6am so 7am was the end of the first hour and beginning of the second hour. AND the day itself -” And there was evening, and there was morning” Gen. 1:5bNIV
- Mark 15:1 Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate. Possibly the First Hour or halfway into it
- Mark 15:25 And it was the third hour when they crucified him. – 09.00
- Mark 15:33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. Sixth Hour
- Mark 15:34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). Ninth Hour
- Mark 15:42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached,
- Mark 15:43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body
- -Possibly removed from the cross and buried about 5 ish or the Eleventh Hour so that Jesus would not remain on the cross at the beginning of Passover at dusk. Or when the stars were sighted – More information on the hours here.
Today the Marian Rosary is the way Roman Catholics remember the crucifixion and death of Jesus “telling their beads” – Wikipedia Article on the Various rosaries and prayers.
THIRDLY He descended into hell: – did he?
1. – The word “hell” does not appear in the Bible because: ( The Hebrew word Sheol clearly means “the grave,” not “hell.” everyone went to Sheol when they died, not just the wicked. There was no suffering there, God was present there.
2.Hades, its Greek equivalent was “the grave” not “hell.” Everyone went to Hades when they died, not just the wicked. Hades contained heavenly regions like the Elysian Fields and the Blessed Isles.
3.Neither was “Gehenna” hell because it was a physical earthly place, Gehenna is a valley in Israel also known in Hebrew as Gehinnom, or the Valley of Hinnom.
Wesley’s New Testament (1755) was the first bible to correctly translate the Hebrew and Greek in question. There is a website called the Hypertexts from where I have drawn some of this information, it contains explanations for the words I have used, which have been designated as ‘a hell like unto Dante’s Inferno’ http://www.thehypertexts.com/
To where then did Jesus descend? It cannot of been to any of these places! St. Peter wrote
1 Peter 3:18-20New American Standard Bible
18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.
According to the correct translations of each abode of the dead there was no hell to which Christ to descend. The words Peter uses are “to the spirits, now in prison’ = φυλακῇ- phylakē translated simply as those under guard in gaol. – having no reference to hades, sheol or Gehenna.
Jesus did not descend to the non existent Hell and since these words were given in the context of first century AD when the true meaning of all references to death and punishment were understood in their correct context- we have been guided by a myth.
- I believe that Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate
- was crucified, dead and buried
- on the third day he rose again
1.The condemned person was usually stripped and fastened to a pillar or stake, and then scourged with leather throngs tipped with leaden balls or sharp spikes. The effects, described by Romans, and Christians in the ‘Martyrdoms,’ were terrible. Not only the muscles of the back, but the breast, the face, the eyes, were torn; the very entrails were laid bare, the anatomy was exposed, and the sufferer, convulsed with torture, was often thrown down a bloody heap at the feet of the judge.Luke 23 Pulpit Commentary