The passion of Jesus - What does passion mean?
I'm sure many people have asked themselves this very question regarding the passion of Jesus. Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion of Christ" has raised a lot of controversy. Since then the word passion has been spoken in most households and has been on the minds of millions of people. What does the passion of Jesus mean?
Passion stems from the Latin work pati, meaning "to suffer." The stem pass comes from the word passive meaning "capable of suffering." Pass was coined in the early 16th century to denote "the suffering of Christ on the cross." English also acquired the word through the Old French word passion meaning "strength of feeling." This has been transferred in our modern times to denote sexual attraction and anger. Webster states the word passion "is a strong feeling, especially of anger, love or desire." It says that passion "is an emotion, an intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction." It also says that passion "is the sufferings of Christ between the night of the last supper and His death." Interestingly enough one version states, "it is also the state or capacity of being acted on by external agents or forces." What stronger force is there then God? Wasn't it God who wanted "The passion of Jesus" to be a reality?
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John tell us a lot about the passion of Jesus. These writers tell us that Jesus knew what was going to happen and that He was to suffer for man. Luke 9:22 says, "'For I, the Son of Man, must suffer many terrible things,' he said. 'I will be rejected by the leaders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. I will be killed, but three days later I will be raised from the dead'" (NLT).
Christ suffered for us physically, but He also suffered in worse ways. He was scorned and hated by those He came to save. How painful that must have been. Having His unconditional love not only denied, but thrown back at Him with such hatred. It must have been more painful then the horrendous physical suffering He endured. In Luke, it states that the King Herod tried to save Jesus but the people screamed for his death. Luke 23:15 says, "Herod came to the same conclusion and sent him back to us. Nothing this man has done calls for the death penalty." Luke 23:16 says, "So I will have him flogged, but then I will release him." But then the most horrible sin of man occurs. In Luke 23:18 it states, "Then a mighty roar rose from the crowd, and with one voice they shouted, Kill him, and release Barabbas to us!"
We have all heard that Jesus loves us. What does suffering have to do with love? John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." What greater love is there then this? I adore this verse because it makes me feel more loved then I have ever felt before. Some of the synonyms for passion are fervor, ardor, enthusiasm, and zeal. I feel these emotions when I think of what Jesus went through for me. How could Jesus willingly experience this torture and pain for us? What human being could do what Jesus did? Could we have the passion of Jesus? Who would be able to look forward to suffering with these emotions?
Luke 22:44 talks about the pain Jesus went through in the Garden of Gethsemane. It says in Luke 22:44 that "He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood." Only Jesus (with God as His Father) could follow through like He did, knowing the pain and torture He would experience. But the outcome was the goal; our forgiveness of our sins was the end product. Jesus knew His Father wanted Him to die on the cross and He knew the outcome. That is the fantastic part of the passion of Jesus; that He died for our sins. It makes the word passion all the more passionate. It brings to my mind a wonderful feeling of love, with such a strong emotion of passion that it makes me want to scream from the hilltops, GOD LOVES ME.
After watching the movie "Passion of the Christ," I wanted to know more and wanted verification that the Bible said what the movie portrayed. I ran home and read the story of His crucifixion in all of the four gospels of Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John again. The passion that Jesus must have experienced could only have come from His Father. How else could He do such a wonderful thing for all of us? If you haven't read the account in the gospels, please read it. It will instill great emotion in you and strong feelings of passion. To understand Jesus and truly feel what His death on the cross means for our salvation, is an experience of passion itself.
I pray today that I have passion, passion for Jesus. Passion in the sense that I will have ardor, enthusiasm, and zeal for living each day as Jesus would have. Passion in that I will listen for Jesus' voice inside of me. We are so fortunate that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. God doesn't was us to suffer like Jesus did, but He does want us to live as Jesus would have, loving one another and sharing our love with those who don't know the "passion of Jesus."
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