Search

Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate…

In this part of the Creed we meet three persons who played a vital role in the life of Jesus. One of them is divine – God’s Holy Spirit – but the other two were very human persons indeed.


The Holy Spirit is God the Father’s breath (the word ‘spirit’ comes from the words for ‘wind’ and ‘breath’), meaning the power and energy of God. Through the coming of Jesus we know that there are three divine persons in the one God, Father, Son – and Holy Spirit. To say that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, i.e., without a human father, means that he owes his entire life to God.


His conception is celebrated at the festival of the Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would become the mother of the Messiah (‘Messiah’ meaning ‘God’s anointed one’).


We will consider Mary on her own festival, (this year Sunday the 14th of August).




The other human figure who turns up in the Creed played a much more malevolent role in the life of Jesus.


Pontius Pilate was the Roman Governor of Palestine at the time of Christ’s death. It was he who condemned Jesus to death by crucifixion. We know little about him, but he is attested by sources outside the gospels as being harsh and brutal, a typical representative of empire! Indeed, not long after the crucifixion of Christ he was moved out of the region by reason of his brutality.


These very human figures in the life of Jesus point to what the Church calls his incarnation. ‘Incarnation’ means ‘in the flesh.’ Jesus is the Son and Word of God made flesh, two thousand years ago in Palestine. He is more than just an inspired prophet or a figure from mythology.

His real mother (Mary) who gave birth to him and the real person who condemned him to death (Pilate) are a good reminder that in him we meet God - who has become really human for us.


God is not far from us. He descended and appeared so as to be with us – and to save us by his death and resurrection.

Prayers

We beseech you, O Lord,

pour your grace into our hearts,

that as we have known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ by the message of an angel,

so by his cross and passion

we may be brought to the glory of his resurrection;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen


Merciful God,

you have prepared for those who love you

such good things as pass our understanding:

pour into our hearts such love toward you

that we, loving you in all things and above all things,

may obtain your promises,

which exceed all that we can desire;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen