Much has been written about… and preached about… concerning the “Passion of Christ” over the last 2000 years.
Of course when we talk about the Passion of Christ, we mean God’s love for us as expressed in Jesus’ willingness to bear the cross in our place… to take our sins upon himself… to suffer, to bleed, and die… for you and me – for the sins of the world.
It’s what John 3:16 is all about (that most familiar and comforting verse that most of us have had memorized since our days in Kindergarten Sunday school) …
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Of course, today is Palm Sunday… when Jesus made his entry into Jerusalem, as people lined the streets with palm branches waving, and shouts of praise. They made a big deal over Jesus! They had waited for the Messiah to come and save his people for generations. They needed a deliverer… they needed a Savior… they needed Jesus.
Kind of like we do today. With all the bad news we’re bombarded with… the floundering economy… coronavirus… we’re a pretty stressed out, fearful people - at the moment. We need a redeemer, a Savior… a Comforter. We need Jesus.
Of course, we tend to talk a lot about Jesus… we profess him Lord and King… we gather in celebration (at home, online) singing his praises and calling to him in prayer. Because we sense our need for Jesus.
But do we have a passion for Jesus? A passion (love and devotion) that matches Christ’s passion for us. Are we willing to give our all for Christ?
Of course, we have a passion for lots of things in life… no doubt. Some have a passion for food (Mexican or Italian). Others are passionate about their hobbies: golf, hunting, fishing, maybe even things like painting… or reading novels! Many of us are grieving the loss of our Springtime sports! We have a passion for baseball… and we’ve missed March Madness and the NCAA tournament.
Some are passionate about their calling… their work… and the events of the past few weeks (with the coronavirus) have upset our routine… and forced us to do our work… and live-out our calling… in different ways.
For many, their family is their greatest passion in life. They’ll do anything for their family… and we’ve missed time with our grandchildren and others, because we’ve had to “social distance” our selves.
Of course, when we have a passion for something, it shows! We pour our hearts into it… we’re emotional about it… we’re committed to it… our passions rank high on our priority lists.
In other words… we don’t just talk about our passions in life… we participate in those things! They’re valuable to us! The old saying is “Talk is cheap.” We can talk about Jesus all day, every day, for the rest of our lives. But talking isn’t enough.
That’s what Lent, and Holy Week are ultimately all about. They’re reminders of Christ’s Passion and our call to share in his Passion. This season forces us to ask ourselves… do we just talk the talk… or do we walk the walk? Does our talk match our walk?
Again, passionate about Jesus, about our relationship with Christ? Are we as passionate about Jesus, as Jesus is passionate for us?
That’s a fair question… and one that you and I, as followers of Jesus, should be willing to ask of ourselves during this time of reflection and self-evaluation.
Does the Savior who loved us enough to die for us, deserve our passionate devotion in return?
Life has been thrust upon us. And in a moment when the world doesn’t make much sense, and our passions and desires have been shifted, the world doesn’t need more talk about Jesus… the world NEEDS Jesus.
The world needs us, as believers… as followers of Christ, to be passionate disciples of Christ: who are doing everything we can to share the passion of Jesus… the love, mercy and grace of Christ… to a world that desperately needs it.
The world needs us to take up our cross and follow Jesus… beyond the comfortable confines of this place we call “church” – into the world he loved enough to die for…
The world needs us to be Passionate believers… who will lift high the cross… as we await our Savior.