Posted by: pmarkrobb | April 14, 2017

His passion

There is no shortage of homonyms in the English language.  These are words which sound and/or are spelt the same way, but have different meanings.  I remember the first time I heard someone call this week, “Passion Week.”  I was sure I didn’t know enough to correct them, but it sounded so odd to me.  Was this week so dominated by Jesus’ strong emotions and resolve that it warranted that name?  Holy Week, I never questioned.  That makes perfect sense.  But, “Passion Week”?  It did not take much research to find the other meaning of “passion,” and no time at all to begin using it in reference to Friday (I am slower to get on board with the reference for the entire week).

It is Jesus’ passion I see most clearly today.  Although, maybe not in the way you’re expecting.  I see and feel Jesus’ suffering today; I absolutely do.  But what I see and feel even more is His intense and compelling love.  I believe my prayer to see Jesus more truly and completely today has resulted in a fundamental shift from seeing His agony to seeing his agape – the highest form of love; pure and true love that is of and from God.  This kind of love is not expressed romantically.  It is not brotherly.  It is unfailing, benevolent, unwavering and a supreme act of will.

From the Garden to Golgotha, Jesus’ will is tested.  God’s plan of redemption will demand His all.  At every turn, Jesus chooses the cross.  And be sure of this, there is no one else who “causes” the cross.  Perhaps, one of the most stirring and clear reminders of this was Jesus’ response to Pilate when the Roman governor demanded an answer to the question, “Where are you from?” Jesus did not answer.

“Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded.
“Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?”
John 19:10 (NLT)

Jesus responds quickly and clearly:

You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above.
John 19:11a (NLT)

And there it is.  This is God’s plan of redemption and Jesus’ clear choice.  No power exists in this narrative apart from what God himself gives.

I am reminded of Jesus’ good shepherd discourse earlier in His ministry:

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock.  The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.  I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.
The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again.  No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.

John 10:11-18 (NLT)

No one takes His life.  He sacrifices it voluntarily.

The brutality of Jesus’ suffering was not the gauge of His love for us.  It was His unwavering choice of the cross.  From the moment of His miraculous birth, Jesus’ life was on a collision course with the cross.  This is why the Father sent Him.  He chose it willingly.  All for us.


Responses

  1. Thanks for the timeline in the previous post. Also thanks for sharing the thought,

    ….a fundamental shift from seeing His agony to seeing his agape…..

    I had not considered the crucifixion from that perspective before!!! Thank You Father for giving my brother fresh eyes.

  2. God’s great mercy and grace not just on display, but consuming creation and heaven. The great “deserved” being swallowed up by the great “undeserved”!


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