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The Passion of Christ

Bible Study of the Passion of Christ

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What is the passion of Christ? Many would say it is the period of intense suffering in the life of Jesus from the Garden of Gethsemane to the crucifixion. To others the passion of Christ evokes images of gruesome punishment depicted in movies such as Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ. Certainly these views are correct, but I have discovered that there is much more to the passion of Christ.

What does it mean to be passionate? Webster's Dictionary defines passion as "extreme, compelling emotion or intense emotional drive."

The Source of Christ's Passion

What was the source of the passion of Christ? It was his intense love for mankind. The great love of Jesus resulted in his extreme commitment to walk a very precise and narrow path to redeem mankind. For the sake of restoring humans to fellowship with God, he made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant by being made in human likeness (Philippians 2:6-7). His passionate love caused him to leave the glory of heaven to take human form and live an obedient life of self-sacrifice required by the holiness of God. Only such a selfless life could produce the pure and innocent blood sacrifice required to cover the sins of those who put their faith in him (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:7).

The Direction of Christ's Passion

The passion of Christ was directed by the Father's will and resulted in a life whose purpose was the cross (John 12:27). Jesus was dedicated to accomplish the requirements foretold by prophecies and the will of the Father. In Matthew 4:8-9, the devil offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world in exchange for his worship. This offer represented a way for Jesus to establish his kingdom on earth without the cross. It may have seemed like an easy short cut, but Jesus was passionate to accomplish the exact plan of the Father and so rejected it.

In John 6:14-15, a crowd tried to make Jesus a king by force, but he again rejected their attempt because it would have deviated from the cross. The final words of Jesus from the cross were a triumphant proclamation. Like a runner crossing the finish line in agony, yet with great emotion in overcoming obstacles, Jesus says “It is finished!” (John 19:30)

The Dependence of Christ's Passion

The passion of Christ originated in love, was directed by the purpose of God and was lived in dependence on the presence of God. Jesus declared that every word that he said was given to him by the Father who commanded him what to say and how to say it (John 12:49). In order for this to happen, Jesus lived every moment in the presence of the Father. Every thought, word and action of Jesus was given to him by the Father (John 14:31).

The Power of Christ's Passion

The passion of Christ was energized by the power of God. Jesus healed the sick, restored the paralyzed, calmed the sea, fed the multitudes and raised the dead through the power of God. Even when he was handed over to the mob led by Judas, he spoke and they fell backwards onto the ground (John 18:6). Jesus was always in control of his life. He said that more than twelve legions, or in excess of thirty-six thousand angels, would respond to his commands (Matthew 26:53).

Jesus was not just a good man who fell victim to evil circumstances. On the contrary, he predicted the manner of his death and the time and place chosen by the Father (Matthew 26:2). Jesus was not a powerless victim. He embraced death to accomplish our redemption and rose from the dead in power and majesty!

The Pattern of Christ's Passion

The life of Christ has set a pattern for living a passionate life for him. Believers in Jesus experience a spiritual birth that results in the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3; 1 Corinthians 6:19). Therefore, believers have everything needed to live a passionate life for Christ. Why then are there so few passionate Christians? I believe the answer lies in the fact that so few Christians follow the pattern of Christ's life.

A Love Relationship

First and foundational to everything else is the importance of building a love relationship with Jesus. Deuteronomy 6:5 says, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (NIV) This is a lofty command but one that is critical for believers to strive to attain.

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