This week is my kid’s spring break. It’s been fun having them home, but it has stretched my ability to stay calm…did I put that nicely?!
It also is Holy Week.
Holy week is the week holding all of the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and culminating with Jesus’ resurrection.
Holy Week is also known as Passion Week.
Have you ever considered why it is called Passion Week?
I’m not sure why, but I had never really asked myself that question – why is it called Passion? It’s one of those things that somewhere along the line I just accepted Holy Week to also be known as Passion Week.
When I think of passion, I think of intense feelings. Feelings so intense that it can lead us to do really great things, but it can also lead us to do really dumb things. So in my mind, I thought, “Ok, I get it. Jesus is really passionate about us, so He did this really great thing for us.”
That makes sense right?
But when I looked up the word, I found out that the original word “passion” is derived from the Latin word, passio, which means “suffering.” And then there is the Greek word, pathos, which also means suffering, but it also has the added meaning of “to endure” and there is an element of “longing” in this enduring, in this suffering.
I don’t know about you, but to me, that was fascinating, because if you bring the three layers of this word together, suffering, enduring, longing, it fits beautifully into the last week of Christ’s earthly, human life. Jesus suffered more than our minds can comprehend. He endured the suffering, the pain of the cross and the separation from His Father out of obedience to His Father, but also out of a longing within Him to make a way for us to live.
He was willing to endure the suffering so that the longing He had for us to be with Him for eternity could be made possible.
Isn’t that beautiful?
This past week I did a deep dive into Passion Week and really studied its events. In particular, I studied Passover. Now, I am far from any type of scholar or even one who knows a lot, but my study this week really opened my eyes to how sovereign God is and reminded me of the fact that when He makes a promise, He keeps it.
We also had a Messianic Jewish Rabbi, Rabbi Dennis Karp, speak at our church this past week, so it was perfect to learn more from him.
Everything that happened at the first Passover, when God saved the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, every little detail foreshadowed Christ.
I’m not going to go into all the details because I sincerely implore you to do some of your own research about it, but one of the biggest things that got me was that at the original Passover, God told his people to choose a male lamb without defect on the 10th day of the month, then bring the lamb into their home to inspect it, scrutinize it and make sure it actually was perfect and had no defects.
Then on the 14th day of the month, they slaughtered the lamb, collected its blood, painted it across their door frames and then when God came through to punish the Egyptians by striking down every firstborn of people and animals, he saw the blood that covered their doors and He passed over them.
Likewise, Jesus, a male without defect, perfect in all his ways entered Jerusalem on the 10th day of the month. He lived there, was inspected and scrutinized at every level by the chief priest, by the rulers, by the elders, by Caiaphas, by Pilate and what did they find?
Jesus was perfect.
And therefore, Jesus, the perfect lamb was slain. His blood is the blood that covers our door frames, our hearts, so that the wrath of God will pass over us and we will be saved.
Jesus, the perfect lamb, without defect, willingly obeyed His Father by suffering betrayal, beatings, rejection, mocking, crucifixion and death. He bore the full wrath of God, a punishment that we deserve, including separation from His Father, and He did it so that we would have life.
Jesus died because He loves you.
God’s love for you isn’t just some fairy tale love. It is not based on emotion that can change like the shifting seasons. It does not waver, yes one moment and no the next. God’s love for you is not shallow and self seeking, based on what you can do for him. God’s love for you does not hinge on your performance.
God’s love for you is beyond anything our minds can grasp. God’s love for you is constant and does not run dry. His love for you is deep, it is intense, it is unstoppable. God’s love for you is pure and sacrificial and it is unconditional.
God so loved you, that he gave his only Son, Jesus, so that you could have everlasting life.
Thanks be to Him.
“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5.
Jesus, we praise you as the perfect lamb who was slain for us.