That’s why, way back around Shrove Tuesday, I decided to bookend Palm Sunday with Simple Truths posts titled God is Praiseworthy and God is Passionate.
Now, in this context, The Passion is the Christian theological term used for the events and suffering – physical, spiritual, and mental – of Jesus in the hours before and including his trial and execution by crucifixion.
But, as my friend and pastor Stephen Hambidge pointed out in his sermon yesterday, How Far Are You Willing to Follow, it seems weird to rush straight to Good Friday when we’re only on Fig Monday (yes, I had to look that up. Today is the day that Jesus cursed the fig tree, y’see.)
So rather than looking at The Passion of Jesus today, I’d rather focus on the passion of Jesus (the more common definition of ‘passion’, that is).
Only multiplied by about a billion.
God is passionate – zealous, fervent, radical, determined – and He’s passionate about you.
He’s so passionate about you that He was willing to leave the throne of Heaven, to step outside the Trinity, to come to Earth and endure an unimaginably inferior existence to what He was used to, for you. Then, He was willing to endure beatings, humiliation, torture and death – even though He’d committed no crime, for you. Then, instead of His soul returning to Heaven, this perfect being spent more than a day and a half in the Other Place, for you.
He did all this because only the death of a perfect, innocent sacrificial Lamb could pay the price for the sins of every human who ever lived, or ever will live.
Who was it who decided that this topsy-turvy arithmetic makes sense, you ask? Who came up with the rule that the biggest sin imaginable could make up for all the other sins put together? That Jesus’ death at the hands of the people He came to save would be the very instrument of their salvation?
Well, He did, of course. And He didn’t have to, you know.
He could have declared that the redemption of humanity would come at the wave of His mighty hand, and no angels would have batted an eye. But instead, He willingly put Himself through Hell (literally) for you and for me.
Why, you ask? God knows.
My guess is that He chose this method of redemption to show us just how seriously He takes our sin; how enormous a gap it places between Him and us. And also to emphasize that no matter how much He hates our sin, He loves us more!
Because He’s so passionate about us.
You could say that the motivation behind the Passion of the Christ was the passion of the Christ.
Peace be with you.