Summary: A look at the passion of Christ and how it is to be understood.
UNDERSTANDING CHRIST’S PASSION
ISAIAH 52:13 – 53:12
INTRO: Centuries ago on the south coast of China, high on a hill overlooking harbor of Macao, Portugese settlers built an enormous cathedral.
1. Believed it would weather time, so placed a massive bronze cross as its centerpiece.
2. Mot too many years later, a typhoon came, and God’s finger work swept away man’s handiwork, leaving only fragments of the front wall and the cross.
3. Centuries later a shipwreck stranded hundreds of men not far out in the same harbor.
4. Some died; some lived. One man hanging on wreckage of ship was disoriented and frightened, having lost sight of land.
5. Yet each time the ocean swells lifted him out of the waves, he spotted the cross, which eventually guided him to safety.
BKGD: To countless millions, that is what the cross means.
1. It is a glowing symbol of rescue, leading stranded souls, shipwrecked on sins jagged reefs, from the shadow of death’s darkness to the shining light of new life dawned.
2. But it is also a place of hope to countless Christians who come back to the cross, bringing the scattered debris of their lives.
3. It is on the cross that we see the passion of Christ so vividly portrayed.
4. How, then, are we to understand the passion of Christ? What does it mean?
5. "Passion" comes from the Latin word for suffering.
To understand the passion of Christ, we must understand three things.
I. We Must Understand Sin
A. Definition of words for sin.
a. Literally – "a missing of the mark"
b. Not living up to the righteous standards of God.
a. Literally – "to rebel"
b. Willful turning from the path of godly living.
a. Literally – "to go against the law"
b. Violating the known law of God.
B. All are under the curse of sin.
a. Isaiah 53:6 – We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.
b. Rom. 3:23 – For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
c. Isaiah 64:6 – All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.
d. Rom. 3:10-11 – As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God."
2. Because we are sinners, we are all on death row.
a. Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
b. John 3:18 – Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
3. Our good works do not outweigh our bad.
ILL. – Man tried for murder and found guilty. Judge prepared to pass sentence. "I was a boy scout, on the honor roll, and I helped little old ladies across the street." "You were found guilty for your one act of murder, and will be sentenced based on that"
4. We sin every day in thought, word, and deed.
5. We sin sins of commission as well as omission.
II. We Must Understand God’s Holiness
A. Because God is holy, He must punish sin.
B. If God did not punish sin, He would not be just, and that would violate His nature.
C. God’s holiness demands that His justice punish sin.
D. The sinfulness of man is in direct contrast with the holiness of God.
III. We Must Understand God’s Love
A. It was God’s love that sent His Son to die on the cross. (John 3:16)
1. The suffering Christ experienced was beyond comprehension. (Is. 52:14; 53:3)
a. He did it for us. (Is. 53:6b)
b. That suffering awaits us in hell if we do not accept His passion.
2. The scourging, the insults, the crown of thorns, the nails, the spear – all cry out about the love of God. (Is. 53:7)
a. What kind of God would do that?
b. The kind who loves us so much that He would go to the greatest lengths to spare us from judgment.
c. The God who wants to justify us and remove the guilt, sin, and death.
B. Passion comes from same word as passive.
1. He endured the cross passively for us. Heb. 12:2 – Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
2. He never fought back. (Is. 53:7)
CONCLU: What should be our response to the passion of Christ?