Couples are caught in the throes of it. People are excused of crimes because of it. For 51 weeks of the year the word passion invokes the idea of reckless abandonment of reason. Easter is the one week of the year when we are reminded what the true definition of passion is.
The Passion of Jesus
Reading the Easter story, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the pain and anguish that Jesus suffered. We see his humiliation, his beating, and his painful execution. I can remember as a teenager, and a new Christian thinking, “Ok, he was beaten, hurt, and killed; but what’s the big deal? Thousands of people were crucified back then. Why are we so focused on Jesus’ pain?” At the time these were not questions that I could ask anyone.
It was years later that I finally understood the answer to this nagging question. Yes, many people were crucified. Many other Christians were beaten, bruised, humiliated, and killed for the name of Christ. What makes Jesus’ story different is that he was the only person in history who was held to the cross, not by nails but by passion.
Matthew 26: 52-54 gives a picture of this at the very start of what has come to be known as Passion Week.
“Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?” (New Living Translation)
Jesus had a choice. He could have decided not to endure the humiliation and pain that were being done to him. Even on the cross he could have said, “Nope, I’ve had enough of this, you are on your own!” Jesus was held to the cross by one thing: His passion for you!
It was Jesus’ passion that allowed him to suffer and die. It was his passion that created a way for us to be healed. It was his passion that allowed us to celebrate his resurrection.
Passion is not mindlessly giving in to overwhelming emotion. Passion is about choosing to place your emotions where they belong and fiercely hold onto them. I think all marriages can be blessed by understanding and holding fast to Jesus’ model of passion!