THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST – Day 2 Meditation Blog
The Latin word “Passio” or “passum” means suffering. This is where the word “passion” is derived. “Passion” implies a love for something or someone that makes one willing to give everything for it, including one’s life. It is easy to see that being passionate for something or someone involves to some extent suffering. If I am passionate for something, nothing will dissuade me from attaining it. Nothing will matter when my passion is for the choice I make. An example is parents’ passion and self-sacrifice for the benefit of their children. If they don’t have this passion, they easily waver and their children suffer for it.
This is the type of passion God has for us. This is the type of self-sacrifice we will see in Jesus’ passion. The depths of His sufferings on our behalf are unfathomable. To pursue God’s heart and be His vessel, God allows us to see His attributes more clearly and, at times, understand them. We will then pursue His heart at any cost.
Let’s look at some of the specifics of the Passion of Jesus and see what our sins do to His heart during this time. It all starts in the Upper Room at the “Last Supper” with Jesus and His 12 apostles.
The Upper Room
The Upper Room is the location Jesus shared His final Passover supper with the 12 apostles. Many call this supper the “Last Supper.” That is because Jesus would be arrested later that evening and put to death the next day.
The Upper Room discourse Jesus gives leads us right into His passion. Jesus tells the apostles the culmination of His life will now come to fulfillment. He will suffer greatly and be put to death. All within a day’s time this will take place.
As we go into the Upper Room, we encounter the deepest sharing Jesus did in His three years of public ministry. Jesus knew He would die the next day. This last evening He wanted to prepare His disciples (and us) for what to expect after His departure. It is significant to understand this because the apostle John dedicates five chapters (13-17) to the Upper Room discourse in his gospel.
The significant highlight of the Upper Room is the celebration of this Last Supper. It is here that we learn of the pending implementation of the New Covenant where God has reconciled and restored man to Himself. The breaking of bread and wine symbolically represent the sharing of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus tells us to remember the significance of His body and blood every time we break bread (celebrate Communion) in the Body of Christ.
The foreshadowing of Jesus’ death and resurrection are incorporated in His body and blood at the Passover meal. Jesus gives us His body and blood that we are to commemorate in remembrance of Him. We do this whenever we gather to break bread. This is the blood of the New Covenant which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins – Matthew 26:28. The apostle Paul writes Jesus is our Passover lamb who was slain.
The author of the book of Hebrews writes that the blood offered annually at every Passover only covered sins. He also says that Jesus’ sacrifice was final. His shed blood on the cross took away all sins. Hebrews 9:22 says, Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
This is the incorporating of the New Covenant ushered in through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus is about to remove the obstacle (sin) that keeps mankind from having direct access and a personal relationship with God.
Luke 22:14-20 sums it well. When the hour had come, He (Jesus) reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the Kingdom of God comes.” And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in My blood.”
Luke also writes that, once again, the apostles argued who is the greatest in the Kingdom of God. They missed again the opportunity to understand that being a servant is the greatest. I pray you understand it also. Greatest in the Kingdom of God is not how the world views one who is great or popular – successful, powerful, and talented. God’s view of greatness is to serve like Jesus did – to serve and give His life for a ransom for many (Mark 10:43-45).
In the Upper Room, Jesus gives an excellent demonstration of being a servant – washing the apostles’ feet. In the world’s eyes at that time, it was degrading for a master to wash the feet of his disciples and slaves. However, we see Jesus doing God’s ways. What an excellent example Jesus gives us. Then He directs us to do likewise.
This is love in action. We today are now challenged to prioritize our lives and lead, by example, lives of sacrifice and humility. Take the lower seat. Consider others more important.
With death drawing closer, Jesus became more troubled in spirit. Once again we see the human side of Jesus. He sure experienced everything we did, except sin. That is why we can easily identify with Him. There was now no turning back for our salvation.
Here are some of the significant highlights of Jesus’ discourse.
- Jesus was first troubled over the pending betrayal of Judas Iscariot. Judas was now exposed and Satan took over.
- Despite being troubled, Jesus kept focus on caring and teaching His apostles. (They were also troubled in spirit. For they clearly saw Jesus troubled.) Jesus though was always in control of every situation. With so many troubled, Jesus wanted to ensure they really understood the lesson of washing their feet. It was necessary to emphasize the genuine motivation of being a servant.
- Jesus then gives them a new commandment of love that they are to remember. John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Remember: Love can never be forced. Love is a free will choice made under no pressure. Otherwise it is coercion. May we continue to choose wisely every day.
The motivation of the love of God is the only reason to live the Christian life. Anything else is a cheap imitation. Don’t ever feel compelled or coerced into an ungodly, unwise decision.
The apostles were still frightened and confused that Jesus was leaving them and they were not permitted to follow. They didn’t know where Jesus was going. This is understandable because they never understood His talk about dying. It was now all coming to a head. Yet, Jesus can always be counted on. He reminded them how they will always be with Him.
Jesus is always a great encourager for us too. Let His encouraging words to the apostles speak to your heart as well. These are profound words which guarantee peace to your heart. John 14:1-3 “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
The apostles still needed more comfort. Even telling them He is the only Way, Truth, and Life still left the apostles confused and troubled. So Jesus reinforces His love for them. He tells them that the Father will be glorified in their lives and God will send another Helper, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth. He is called the Holy Spirit.
It is vital for us to remember this truth also. If you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives in you 24/7. The Holy Spirit is God, the third person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is the person of Jesus Christ living in you. The Holy Spirit is Jesus living through you.
This is why you will never be alone. Not only has Jesus reserved a room for you in heaven, He has taken up residence in you. The Holy Spirit will comfort you in every storm. He will encourage and strengthen you in every situation. He will always remind you of everything Jesus said. He will also bring you to the person of Jesus Christ. He wants you to rest in the love of Jesus so Jesus can live His life through you. Jesus in you is who people must see.
What I find remarkable about the Upper Room is that Jesus, despite knowing His suffering and death were imminent, still thought about us. Jesus shows us the importance of being a servant first. He promises He will be with us forever. He will prepare a place for us and, personally, come back to get us. Only the heart of God could do such things with death’s showdown drawing closer.
Despite every trouble and trial, Jesus will always be with us. We will never be alone. That is a guarantee from the lips of Jesus Himself. Jesus is with us in the midst of every storm. Jesus is our peace in the storm.
Here are some additional, invaluable highlights Jesus gave us from the Upper Room.
- His Peace. John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
- Our joy is steadfast. John 16:22 “Therefore you too have grief now: but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.”
- Tribulation and Overcoming. John 16:33 “In this world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.”
- Jesus prays for us in John 17. Jesus then prays to the Father to glorify Himself. He also prays for us (His children) and for all who will hear about Jesus through us. He prayed for us to be one as the Father and Jesus are one.
Let’s now really see and experience the full impact of why Jesus suffered, died, and rose from the dead.