Copyrght Rosemary Bardsley 2007


This week many people will go to church to remember the death of Christ.

In the movie, 'The Passion of the Christ',  the suffering of Jesus Christ, traditionally known as his 'passion', impacted us all with its brutality. We cringed; doubtless many of us cried. Many wondered, perhaps, what makes the human race capable of such horrific violence and irrational hatred. Others wondered what motivated this one man, this Christ, to deliberately submit to these atrocities.

Behind this passion, this suffering, is a deeper passion: the passionate and powerful love of God for the people he created.

Because of this powerful love, this powerful passion, Jesus Christ, God the Son, 'resolutely set out for Jerusalem'. Because of this passion Jesus Christ refused to avoid the cross and its suffering: 'Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.'

The deep and powerful passion of God for sinful human beings, ' for us ', brought him deliberately, purposefully to this place of suffering. Here his love, God's love, is demonstrated: that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, chose to die as our substitute to bear the full penalty for our sins:

  • The Christ was rejected so that we can be accepted.
  • The Christ was condemned as guilty, so that we can be acquitted as righteous.
  • The Christ was subjected to the law of sin and death, so that we can be set free.
  • The Christ died, so that we can live.

He, the sinless One, took the sinner's place, bore the sinner's punishment, paid the sinner's price, so that all that justly and legally hung over the sinner, was taken away from us, nailed to his cross, forever purged off our record.

This immeasurable love, this incomparable grace, is the power behind the passion of the Christ. He knew that there is no other way. He knew that only this way, only this death, could bring us sinners back to peace with God. This is the passion, the love, of God: 'He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.'

From the depths of his powerful and passionate love he calls:

Come to me, believe in me, 'and I will give you rest.'

Scriptures: John 1:1-4; Colossians 1:16; Luke 9:51; John 12:27; Matthew 16:21-23; 26:52-54; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:8-10; John 3:16; Matthew 27:46; Isaiah 53:4-11; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18; Romans 8:1-4; Colossians 2:14; John 14:6; Romans 5:1; Colossians 1:19-22; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21; Matthew 11:28-31.