Contemplation on the Nicene Creed and the Death of Christ

According to the Nicene Creed, Jesus Christ was “crucified under Pontius Pilate” for our sake. However, according to the Gospel, he was crucified for the sake of punishment for his crimes in the state. This brings up the question of how his execution was for our sake when it was a penalty for a civil crime. If, as the Gospel according to Matthew suggests, he planned his crucifixion, using Pilate and the legal system as ploys in his larger scheme, is his death ultimately a suicide? This then calls for an explanation of how a suicide can be for the sake of another.
According to the next line of the Creed, Jesus “suffered death and buried”. This fits with the purpose of a punishment as generally they entail some sort of suffering. It also fits with a sacrifice, though, as sacrifice entails some sort of loss. If this is the case, Jesus sacrificed himself for our sake, “our” referring to those who endorse the Nicene Creed at least,and possibly others—the Creed does not specify. But this method of sacrifice is very unusual. Animals being sacrificed do not sacrifice themselves, nor are they sacrificed via being convicted criminals executed for their crimes. This detail complicates how Jesus’s death may be a sacrifice as the method has no precedent.
The other possibility, then, if the death itself is not a sacrifice, but the death is for our
sake, is that the actions surrounding it are for our sake. For example, if a soldier were to free a group of prisoners of war but were then executed for doing so, his death could be said to be for their sake. Likewise, Jesus’s acts which led to his execution may then be the actions that are for our sake whilst his death itself is the culmination of those actions and the sacrifice in the sense of personal loss that he endured to be able to have committed such acts.

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