Summary: An extended outline involving the questions concerning Christ’s passion.
QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS PASSION
What we need to understand about the death of Christ
I Cor. 15:3 / Isaiah 53
During the past few days much interest in the person of Christ has been generated by the film called the Passion Of The Christ. The film is getting a huge amount of publicity. Newspapers, magazine articles, talk shows - all of these communication avenues have been flooded with discussion pro and con with respect to this film. Since this is the beginning of Lenten season, and since there is a public stir about the person of Jesus, as an devotional aid, it might be helpful to turn our attention to the Scriptures and follow Christ in the closing hours of His life. The best book on the Passion of Christ is the Bible! What do we need to understand about the death of Christ? The aspects of His passion will be put in simple question form.
I. Who is this one dying on the middle Cross?
We need to understand His true identity.
Jesus made claims about Himself that were offensive to many in that day. (Matt. 27:39-40 / Matt. 26:61-68 / Matt. 16:13-16) These claims did not make Him politically correct with some in His society. But the fact is that when you are looking at the middle cross you are not looking at an ordinary man or ordinary crucifixion. The Centurion said it right, “Truly this man was the Son of God.” If we are to understand the significance of His death , it is important to know who this is who is dying on the cross. If Jesus Christ is not God, the cross becomes meaningless and we have no gospel to preach. Let’s not lose a sense of His identity. Truly, He is the Son of God.
II. Who put Jesus to death?
Where lies the responsibility for his death?
Was it the Roman soldiers, the High Priest, or Pilate? The Scriptures make it very clear who put Jesus to death, as far as the primary agent is concerned. Read Isaiah chapter 53. Look at verses 4, 6 and 10. Read Romans 8:32, Acts 4:27. Who put Jesus to death? God did! Staggering thought! Herod, Pilate, the Gentiles and other Jewish leaders were all human instruments involved in the crucifixion, but God was the prime actor and the fundamental mover in the central events of Christ’s passion.
III. What caused His greatest suffering?
We need to understand the intensity of His passion.
The sufferings of Christ were:
When we talk about His sufferings we must be careful about shallow interpretations. His physical torture was unspeakably cruel. But according to the Bible His most intense suffering was not inflicted by men.
What then produced such bitter sorrow and pain?
(1) There was the pain of repugnance, being identified with sin. (Mark 14:32) The film, The Passion of the Christ, focuses on the physical suffering Jesus endured. But in bearing the punishment for human sin, there was a greater suffering than something physical. “My soul is exceeding sorrowful.” In identifying with human sin, there was an inner suffering of the soul beyond our comprehension. The abhorrence of being identified with sin was a most painful thing to endure. (Romans 5:8-11)
(2) There was the pain of abandonment, being separated from the comforting presence of His Father. 15:33 -34 The Master knew something about loneliness, but the intense loneliness of abandonment of those dark hours was something else. “My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me...” That has to be the most painful cry heard from the cross.
IV. Why did He die?
We need to understand the necessity for His death.
What should the dying Jesus mean to us today?
Observe three fundamental facts about the necessity of the cross:
(1) His death shows us the seriousness of sin.
God cannot overlook sin. If God were to overlook sin God would no longer be a Holy God. Sin must be punished.
How serious do we take this matter of sin? Can we dismiss sin as something trivial when sin took the very life of the Son of God?
(2) His death shows us the depth of His love.
Why should He love us so remains a mystery, but the fact that He did is an undeniable truth demonstrated at Calvary. Look at the distance that He traveled, the sacrifice made for us. Look at His sufferings, look at His separation from the Father. He did all of this not because he was forced to - but because he loved us.
The Song writer picked up this question : “Love sent my Saviour to die in my stead, Why should He love me so? Meekly to Calvary’s cross he was led. Why should He love me so?”