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Summary: The key to the passion of Chrsiut can be found in Lk 22:42

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Walsingham Pilgrimage 2013

I have been asked to give a reflection on the Passion of Christ

What is the passion of Christ?

I guess the usual definition is

”the period of intense suffering in the life of Jesus from the Garden of Gethsemane to the crucifixion”.

As I thought about it, for me the Passion of Christ is summed up in one verse

42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Lk 22:42)

Let’s look at the context in Luke 22:

Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives

39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him.

40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed,

42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.

44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow.

46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

I have been to Jerusalem a number of times and the Garden of Gethsemane can be found at the foot of the Mount of Olives.

There you will find the Roman Catholic Church of All Nations next to the small garden of Gethsamene.

And there is more symbolism in that name than I first thought.

For it was in that Garden next to that Church that Jesus resolved to go through with the Cross.

In the words of Mrs Alexander in her famous hymn “There is a green hill far away”

“He only could unlock the gates

Of heaven and let us in.”

The Garden of Gethsemane is where Jesus spent his last hours praying to his Father, just before Judas betrayed him to the Romans.

And St Luke lets us into a very intimate prayer time Jesus had with his heavenly Father.

Jesus was no fool.

He knew what was coming and, like any sane person, He dreaded it.

He sweated drops of blood and apparently this is now a known medical phenomenon

It is called hemato/drosis - a very rare condition in which a human sweats blood.

Wikapedia describes hemato/drosis like this

“It may occur when a person is suffering extreme levels of stress, for example, facing his or her own death.

Several historical references have been described; notably by Leonardo da Vinci: describing a soldier who sweated blood before battle, men unexpectedly given a death sentence.

Jesus experienced hemati/drosis when he was praying in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:44).”

Jesus sweated blood because of the extreme anxiety He was in - for the following two reasons:

1. He could see the pain and torture of Crucifixion.

It was one of the cruellest deaths ever devised by mankind.

Just watch Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Christ ”if you really want to experience the horror of a Roman crucifixion.

2. He realised too that it would mean a spiritual separation from His heavenly Father for the time as he bore the sins of the world.

“My God, my God why have you foresaken me” – his words

from the Cross reflects the utter desolation that he felt

on the Cross when he died for all our sin.

But what really struck me were Jesus own words

42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Lk 22:42)

My own self preservation would have I am sure caused me to turn tail if I was facing what Jesus was facing.

But Jesus had a different motivation to my own self-preservation.

In fact as I prepared I recalled Jesus words where he said

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Mt 16:25)

1. The Source of Christ's Passion

What was the source of the passion of Christ?

It was his intense love for mankind and His great love of His heavenly father

For the sake of restoring us to fellowship with God, Jesus as St Paul said in our epistle reading last Sunday (Palm Sunday) said that Jesus

made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant by being made in human likeness (Philippians 2:6-7).

His passionate love caused him to leave the glory of heaven to take human form and live an obedient life of self-sacrifice required by God.

2. The Director of Christ's Passion

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