CATECHESIS NOTES FOR THE WEEK—Of Civil Government--We are reminded of the important role of the civil government in the secular kingdom every time we confess in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds that Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate. The phrase “under Pointius Pilate” means “under God” because the governing authorities have been instituted by God. God works His will through them, even when they be evil. This requires faith in the Lord who promises to work His will, even though we may not understand why or how He will do it. Jesus submitted Himself to the governing authorities in His Passion. Although these authorities were evil and unbelieving, God accomplished His will through the administration of their office. Though Pilate did not believe in Christ, he nevertheless spoke on God’s behalf when he declared Jesus to be the innocent King of the Jews, and when he sentenced Jesus to death by crucifixion. Our salvation was won for us when the Son submitted Himself to the judgment of the Roman governor in the secular kingdom. Every time we confess that Jesus was “crucified under Pontius Pilate,” we should be reminded and strengthened by this to live faithfully under the civil authorities.
Luther's Small Catechism
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