Passion

The Suffering Servant of God

[Let us keep] fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 (NASB)

How would you define passion? Do you think of it as a negative or a positive word? Passion describes both good and bad emotions. These are the deepest, most intense feelings we can have, such as passionate love or passionate anger.

Christians call the week concluding with Easter—Passion Week. The suffering Jesus endured on the cross is called “The Passion of Christ” because of the magnitude of His agony.

The intense suffering Jesus endured on the cross is beyond our comprehension. I remember reading an article in which a doctor described what happened to a person during crucifixion. I couldn’t sleep that night; I was so filled with vivid images of what my Savior had suffered. It’s a brutal, excruciating way to die.

Jesus suffered not only physical cruelty; He also suffered mental torment. Jesus had never before known separation from the Father, but as He took on the sins of the whole world, the Father turned His back on His son. The most passionate rage you have ever seen is nothing compared to God’s anger at sin. We hear Jesus’ anguished cry of abandonment, “My God (not My Father as Jesus usually addressed Him), My God why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) God had turned His back because His holiness could not look on sin.

But the Passion of the cross also reminds us of the good meanings of the word passion. God’s love was present as well as His wrath. Just before He died, Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). He then called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46).

We know God’s wrath was satisfied because Jesus rose from the dead. He had paid the penalty for sin through His suffering and death. Only a sinless person could pay that price as a perfect sacrifice and live to tell about it (Romans 6:23).

Isaiah said “As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities (53:11). He suffered for our sake, to bear iniquities and justify those who would believe.

DIG DEEPER:

Read Isaiah 52:13-14. What two extremes describe the Suffering Servant of God?

Read John 3:16-21. Why did God send His Son to die? What do these verses say about those who do not choose to believe in Jesus?

What reason does Luke give for Jesus’ death and resurrection in Chapter 24:46-47?

What does Hebrews 9:26-27 say about Christ’s death on the cross? What hope do we have because of His resurrection?

Nancy J. Baker

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