"The Passion of the Christ."
I imagine almost everyone has heard of this powerful movie. Comments about its violence and blood have filled many articles. However, I will not waste your time with one more movie review. Rather, I would like to challenge you with this thought: "His passion was for you."
Why did he suffer so? Why was it so bloody? Who did he die for?
The suffering he went through was horrible. The recent film does not, nor could it ever, reveal the extent of the brutality of the time. The torture that was done to Jesus of Nazareth was explosive. He represented goodness, innocence and purity.
Life is full of stories where individuals have suffered at the hands of the brutal. "The Passion" is the classic bully scenario. Evi abuses innocence. Jesus was tortured and was attacked. Satan could not tempt Jesus or turn him. He had to destroy him. Why was it so bloody? Life is in the blood. Satan wanted to wring the life out of him.
The blood has meaning. For his mother, it was precious. Mel Gibson portrays this thought in his movie. On her knees, Mary wipes up the blood of her son because it was precious to her. It represented his life.
God forgave the Jews of their transgressions of the law based on the shedding of blood. Why? Because it would cost them something.
They sacrificed animals to atone for their sins. It was an agrarian society and the Jews' wealth at that time was in their livestock. The closest thing for us to relate to today in this matter would be if we burned our money to atone for sins.
We still function under the concept of paying for our failures in society. Don't believe me? Try driving from Soldotna to Kenai doing 90 miles an hour. It will cost you to receive forgiveness.
The judge will dismiss the charge just as soon as you pay a sizable fine. The problem with the sacrificial system of Jesus' day was that it created a callous result in people's hearts. They just sinned and paid. It created an "I will just do what I want and God will forgive me" attitude. God's purpose had not been accomplished.
What was that purpose? It was the restoration of fellowship between God and man. The living God longed to have a relationship with his children, his creation. For this restoration to take place, they needed to be forgiven. Sin cannot remain in God's presence.
Even though the shedding of blood would provide for the removal of their offenses, people were not pursuing it through to the purpose of knowing God.
God so longed for mankind to know him that Christ surrendered his position and became a child. He slipped into the back door of humanity, humbly. He came to demonstrate life, love, family, fun and relationship. He came to give, share and bless.
He came to sacrifice his blood. He came to be our sacrifice. He came to be nailed to a cross to pay the price for all.
It becomes personal when we realize that God wants to have a relationship with us. The way we come to him is by confessing our failures, our faults and our violations of God's law.
We have all blown it somewhere. We won't make the line for purity without assistance. We have been caught and we have to face the judge.
There we are and the list is being read: failures, hatred, bitterness, rebellion, selfishness, greed perversion, stealing and many other things are read off.
We shrink into the corner realizing, "I can't afford the fine. I have failed too many times. My past, my present, my failures, my anger, my arrogance and my selfishness are accusing me."
The Bible pictures a day of standing in front of the judge and giving an account for our lives.
The apostle Paul writes in his second letter to the Corinthian church to remind them of this fact chapter 5 verse 10. We will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account for our lives.
It is here where we find a great revelation. It costs blood, and you can't get in without a pure spotless sacrifice. At that moment you hear someone say, "I plead guilty but I plead the blood of Jesus Christ."
The judge says, "Case dismissed." You say, "Huh?"
Can I plead that too? Have you brought your case to Jesus? He died for you. He has become your defense attorney.
The Bible says, "We have an Advocate with the Father."
The Bible says, "While we were still lost in our failures and violations of God's law, Christ died for us."
Who pleads your case with God??
Many call the week that is ahead of us Holy Week. It is during this week we remember his last week of humanity.
I encourage you, this week read the story of his passion. You can find it in Matthew 26-28, or at the end of any of the other gospels. Attend a church and encounter God. Thank him for his passion. It was for you.
Bob Reasner is pastor of Abundant Life Assembly of God Church at Mile 81.5 of the Sterling Highway in Sterling.
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