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Summary: Part 1 of 4 in series on The Passion, suffering of Jesus Christ in connection with release of new movie directed by Mel Gibson

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THE PASTOR’S POINTS

sermon ministry of

CEDAR LODGE BAPTIST CHURCH

Thomasville, NC

a fellowship of faith, family & friendships

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February 22, 2004

"BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL," which translated means, "GOD WITH US."

Mel Gibson can add another entry to his long successful resume’. This entry is by far the most important of his career; he is now a Christian film-maker. Gibson’s new film which he financed, as well as directed is opening this [Ash] Wednesday.

Reports from pre-screenings and reviews tout The Passion of the Christ as the best-ever cinematic presentation of the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life. It is rated "R" for the brutal depictions of the suffering Jesus experienced from the scourging, beatings and the overall ordeal.

What do you think of when you hear the word, "passion"? Certain pictures flash to my mind. I see:

" …a dedicated athlete training passionately to win, or

" …a politician passionately pushing for his cause, or

" …an artist spending days and nights without sleep or food; his passion drives him to create the perfect canvas.

" Passion also invokes the look lovers have for each other…the hearts and hormones thing.

The passion of Jesus Christ is none of these. The Passion is the sum of Jesus’ sufferings in the flesh. The word "passion" itself comes from the Greek "patho" which means "to feel or suffer". Jesus’ passion was not a cause, desire or an idea to be treasured - it was the very real cost, the very real cost in pain and agony of paying the price for our sins.

What does the name "Emmanuel" (God with us) have to do with suffering?

The only kind of Jesus we have ever seen with our own eyes is a man playing the role. A few of our men have portrayed the suffering Jesus in our Easter presentation. They did a wonderful job, but they were only playing the part; the blood was stage makeup, and the nails were not really piercing their hands and feet. The scourging and blows from the guards were well-acted "near misses" - a good thing, I’d have hated to see a fight during our worship service!

With Emmanuel it was a different story - the blood was real, as were the stripes on his back, crown of thorns on his brow, and death! Emmanuel means it was God near us who suffered and died.

Emmanuel - God with us; God is not supposed to suffer and die. God is strong and is supposed to conquer suffering, not submit to it. But, the baby was born to die. That’s the reason Emmanuel (God with us) came into the world. That’s the reason eternity entered time!

When Matthew wrote about Jesus being called Emmanuel, he was quoting Isaiah (7:14). Isaiah also told us the reason Immanuel was going to come into the world.

All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. Isaiah 53:6

The reason Emmanuel came into the world was to take our sins away and in exchange give us His true and everlasting life. He came to be with us, and to save us. And, He promises he will always be there.


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