The Passion of Jesus Christ

But the fact is, it was our pains he carried, our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. Were all like sheep who�ve wandered off and gotten lost. We�ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we�ve done wrong, on him, on him.

Justice miscarried, and he was led off and did anyone really know what was happening? He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people.

Still, its what God had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he�d see life come from it life, life, and more life. And Gods plan will deeply prosper through him.

(Isaiah 53.4-6, 8, 10, The Message)

Tonight we celebrate this pain that was planned. I think everyone knows the story. But do you really know the story?

Israel was waiting for their Messiah. The book of Isaiah awaits leaves the Hebrews waiting for their Exodus. The True Exodus that can only come with the redeemer.

God, King of Israel, your Redeemer, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, says: I�m first, I�m last, and everything in between. I�m the only God there is. (Isaiah 44.6, The Message)

What was their Messiah supposed to look like? The Triumphal entry and the story of the Passion of Jesus is ironic. It is not what they expected. Jesus claimed to be that redeemer, but he was a lowly man, son of a carpenter, not the King right? The Gospel of Mark tells us:

Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?

And Jesus said, I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.

Tearing his clothes, the high priest said, What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy; how does it seem to you? And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.(14.61, NAS)

The Greek “Έγω είμι” is emphatic, make no mistake, Jesus was claiming to be יהוה the God of everything, the high priest tearing his clothes attests to that. This is why Jesus was killed this night. The Jews misunderstood Isaiah, they thought Jesus was a blasphemer. If Jesus was God and said he would destroy the temple and raise it again in three days, how could he be bloodied on the cross?

Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. (Mark 15.37, NRSV)

The curtain, or veil, is what divided the temple between the normal grounds and the “Holy of Holies”, God’s dwelling place. It being torn in two would be filled with meaning to any Jewish person. Jesus is the new Temple, not the building. He was broken. I guess we will have to wait till Sunday to see if the temple will be raised again.

John in his Revelation sees heaven

And the one who was seated on the throne said, See, I am making all things new. … Then he said to me, It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.(Revelation 21.5, NRSV)

There is much that can be discussed in this narrative. But I think I will leave it at that for now. Remember to go back and read these events in the Gospels, especially trying to pick up the different themes each author brings forward (like Jesus as the white lamb to be slaughtered for Passover in John). I pray that your evening was hopeful and thoughtful.

Τετέλεσται … until Sunday …

[UPDATE: The original post and comments are no longer available. :( Sorry!]

Categories: Religion, Theology

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