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|The Purpose of His Passion||02/26/2004|
The Passion of the Christ opened
nationwide last week. The uproar preceding its release will now continue
in homes, churches and workplaces worldwide. But the person stimulating
such heated discussion is not Hollywood's Mel Gibson; it is history's
Jesus Christ -- the one whose passion is being graphically portrayed.
Once again, His life and horrible death is the subject of debate. Exposing and revealing the truth, Jesus proclaimed and demonstrated the perfect revelation of the creator -- the Supreme God He called His Father.
Jesus said He came to this world "to set captives free." His message was hope and life -- real life -- both in this temporary, earthly life and forever through eternal life. While presenting truth, He boldly exposed the forces that attempt to captivate and imprison humanity, preventing us from having real and meaningful life.
Those who lived in idolatry and bondage brutally sought to destroy Him because His radical ideas exposed the error of every person. Despite Pontius Pilate's role in the drama, it was neither he nor Imperial Rome that killed Jesus Christ. Despite the Sanhedrin's pursuit of Jesus, it was not zealous religious Jews who crucified an innocent man. Rather, it was every human being in all of human history.
Every person who tragically chooses his or her own way instead of God's way is held captive by the powers of darkness and deception that produce self-worship rather than God worship, greed over compassion, indulgence in place of self-control, and hate instead of love. It is for these sins that Jesus willingly and sacrificially gave Himself up to the cross, thereby making the way for sinful mankind to know and fellowship with a holy, blameless God.
Those who reject the gift of eternal life through Jesus choose personal captivity rather than freedom. The message of The Passion is one of freedom -- not to live as we wish, but as we should; not out of control or in control, but under the control of the power and essence of God's love.
This freedom was bought by the greatest sacrifice ever made for our sin and rebellion. Even while we nailed Him to the cross, Jesus prayed, "Father forgive them," making the way for all of us to be forgiven and to be able to forgive those who sin against us. In order to enjoy this freedom we are required to turn in faith from our own ways and yield to His will. "Thy will be done" must become our heart cry just as it was Jesus'.
The wrath of sinful man, even the religious and pious, is always released toward those who expose hypocrisy, pretense, vain and meaningless traditions, selfish practices and idolatry. Sinful man inherently hates that which exposes his dark practices with the revealing light of truth.
May God help us cease the foolish discussions of "who killed Jesus." Instead of playing the blame game, we must individually accept personal responsibility for the death of Christ. We did it. All of us. Our sins required a sacrifice, and He willingly laid His life on the altar in our place. He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.
Now let us accept the benefit of His passion and live our lives in a new way -- the way of love and abundant life. When truth is allowed to expose the error of our way, it will lead us to walk in freedom's light, liberty and personal abiding peace.
The Passion of the Christ is more than a movie. It is more than history. It is a message from God to all humanity at this time. It is the message of life.