Christ’s passion is for us. The Passion of Jesus Christ is not reserved for Holy Week only. His whole life is His passion. His passion is for us and for our salvation. His felt first His passion, in the first drops of His blood in His circumcision.
His passion is not for material wealth, but the riches of His grace for us all.
His passion is not to seek to be loved, but to love.
His passion is not to be served, but to serve.
His passion is not to be number 1 but to give His life as a ransom for many.
His passion is not for the eternal death of sinners but that sinners repent and come to Him, as He said: His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
His passion is not for sin but for sinners.
His passion is not to fool people, but lead His People.
His passion is not to expel people and so lose them but to find the lost.
Lent is about avoiding sinful passions to see more clearly His Passion; and His Passion makes us clean and clear. The passions of men are for greed, lust, vengeance, for themselves the Lord’s Passion is for grace, mercy and peace for us and for our salvation. His passion is not for the words of men but the Word of God.
He laid it in on the line: I am the Resurrection and the life. He is not at all like Buddha, Mohammed, Joseph Smith etc. laying out new principles and programs for one to follow. I am, He says many times in the Gospel: I am the Bread of life, I am the Light of the World, just before today’s lesson, I am the Good Shepherd. He went and found Lazarus dead to show forth His Word: I am the resurrection and the life. Jesus Christ is no principle nor program, though He is principled. No principle can console in death’s dark vale, only the One Man for all man, His passion for His friends. He did what the Law and no law can do: change the heart, soul and mind. He fulfilled every law and the prophets. How? The Word became flesh, all of our flesh, every atom of it. I am the Resurrection and the Life, then in public ministry, but today He is the I am. He fully and finally laid Himself on the line, so to follow Jesus Christ to the day in which there will be no sunset. “No greater love hath a man than this that He lay down His life for His friends”. He said He has authority to lay down His life and take it up again. He has.
His Passion is our passion. Here in John 11, we see His passion pointedly in the tumult of battle with the last enemy, death. He sees death and sorrow and mourning and it is reported that Jesus was visibly moved, shakento the divine depths, indignant that death had undone so many. He saw the terror of death in His loved one’s eyes. We can so easily gloss over in the narrative of the raising of Lazarus is He loved him and his sisters. He who knew what is in the heart of man, saw the terror and fear in their hearts. We all know that terror, the fear of death. Martha told the Lord the obvious that it has been four days and there will be an odor. Death stinks. No amount of the smells invented by man can cover death’s stink. Mortal man does not control death’s terror, and neither does moral man. Sin is death and as we cannot control death and so it follows, we cannot control sin. Maybe externally we can refrain, but not in the heart unless we buy the lies of the super spiritual: do this, do that then you will be free. Law cannot set one free. This only results in pride or despair. Lord’s hates both in His grace toward us. Better despair so that to the Lord, we may repair. The only we are repaired from the effect of sin which is death is by the Lord entering the fray. Jesus went inside. Move the stone, He said, at the tomb. He crossed the border from life to death, so that He crossed from death to life to lead the way looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfector of our faith, so we can lay down the sin which so easily entangles the race. He would be in His tomb very soon.
His passion was not to possess those whom He met. He loved people and used things perfectly. Man tends to use people and love things. Our passions are for many things, sports, jobs, family, cars, television, food…and the myriad and sundry ways of breaking the 1st commandment, though He alone has given all that for our need, and even for our passion. But when such passion becomes more than our need for the Lord, then we have a false god. He crossed into the valley of the deities, and unlike any other god, Jesus Christ, true Son of the Father, died and rose so we are baptized into Him, as His passion is our passion.
His passion is our compassion. We live and work amongst people we like and love and dislike and hate. Yet for all them God so loved the world He gave His begotten Son that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have eternal life. His passion is the cause of our compassion for our neighbor, not only His Law, but His blood shed for us all. It is disorienting to see His Cross for someone we do not like, even hate. Yet, His passion orients us into His Way as He is the truth and the life, to see according to His Word. We may wish someone’s eternal damnation but that is not the Lord’s goal, as He is compassionate with us every step of the way. Seeing His cross is the only to forgive, die and rise and bear our cross.
His passion is for each of us. This Lent we have heard 4 conversation Jesus has had with people, centering each time on one person:Lent 2, Jesus and Nicodemus, Lent 3, Jesus and the Samaritan Woman,Lent 4, Jesus and the Man born Blind, today, Lent 5, Jesus and Lazarus
In other words: Jesus and a Proud Man, Jesus and a Heretical and Adulterous Woman,Jesus and a Blind Man, Jesus and a Dead Man. There surely seems to be downward trajectory of the persons involved: from pride to heresy/adultery to blindness to death, and that’s the way of it in Adam and Jesus is going downward every step of the way with them and for them, and He will take them up from His tomb, every step of the way.
Spiritual tombs and physical tombs, now, the spiritual, and on that day, the physical tomb, as Lazarus’ was rent so all will be rent. Yes, these are conversations between Jesus with many people involved, however, looking ahead in hope in Christ Jesus, the series is not complete: Jesus and Nicodemus, the Samaritan Woman, the Man born blind, today, Jesus and Lazarus and every Day of the Year Jesus and YOU! Passiontide is about Jesus and you and me, His passion for each of us, for our neighbor, every step of the way, our way, in His way. Next week Sunday, Palm Sundaym begins the great week, Holy Week, the culmination of His passion on earth. It took 6 days to create the heavens and the earth, it took 33 years for the Lord to redeem it. We need to hear, pray, and sing His passion and invite a neighbor to so sojourn and walk.
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8)