#2 The Passion of Jesus At the Last Passover
By D. B. Martin

Introduction. This PASSION movie has already impacted millions, including me. The word “passion,” has gripped my heart. In the movie it refers to the suffering and death of Christ, but there are other applications for us to develop a “passion” for loving and serving Christ as well. This series of meditations, “In the Shadow of the Cross” is being written with applications of the “passion” concept. It is changing my life. I pray it will bless you also.

The shadow of the cross had fallen across the path of Jesus even before that Palm Sunday. He had told His disciples He was going to die on the cross and rise again (Luke 18:31-33). He now joins them for His last Passover. Hear His poignant words, And He said unto them, ‘With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer’ (Luke 22:15). The word for desire here could be translated passion. And the word for suffer used here is translated passion in Acts 1:3, To whom also He showed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, …(KJV).

“Passion” Defined. Acts 1:3 is the only place in the KJV Bible the English word passion(sing.) appears. Virtually all other Bible versions except the RSV, and CONFRATERNITY (RC) translate it suffering. The Greek word is pathein, infinitive from the noun, pathos. The Expository Dictionary of NT Words (Vine) defines it to suffer, and also as an affection or passionate desire for something good or bad” (including sinful passions). Pathos has come into English to describe deep emotions, usually of sadness.

Webster’s Third New International (unabridged) Dictionary (1986) defines passion as the sufferings of Jesus between the night of the Last Supper and His death, including the agony in Gethsemane (pg. 1661). That certainly nails the meaning of the word used in the current PASSION movie. That same dictionary also defines passion as a strong liking for or devotion to some activity, object or concept, and lists synonyms as: fervor, ardor, enthusiasm, and zeal.

The Passion of Jesus For Fellowship With Us. So Jesus sets out both meanings of passion in His opening statement at that Passover, first, His desire [passion] to eat this Passover with them; then His reference to before I suffer, (pathein), anticipating the passion of His suffering and death

Jesus was passionate in his love for His disciples. He looked forward to every opportunity for fellowship with them. He also looks forward to every opportunity for fellowship with believers today. Awesome! I can’t get over the fact that Jesus wants to have fellowship with me. He wants to have fellowship with you. I am ashamed that I do not have a greater passion for fellowship with Him. Why don’t I spend more time in His love letter (the Bible), in worship, in prayer and service?

The Passion of Jesus In Suffering For Us
. As Jesus celebrates the Passover with His disciples, He connects His passion on the cross with the sacrifice of the Passover lambs. In Acts 1:3 “passion” clearly refers to the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus. So we have a connection between His passion for fellowship with His disciples with His passion on the cross to continue that fellowship forever, and wrapping it all up in the Passover Feast and the Lord's Supper.

The Passion In the Passover
. More than 1400 years earlier, when Israel was in bondage to Egypt, God called Moses to lead them to freedom. God’s great power was shown in the ten plagues on Egypt. The tenth plague was to be the death of the first-born male in every house. But first, God told each family of Israel to take a lamb of the first year, without blemish, and kill it in the evening of the fourteenth day of that first month. They were to then put the blood of that lamb on their door, i.e. the two side posts and the upper lentil (preview of the cross). At midnight God’s death angel would pass through the land and take the first-born male of every house. But God’s promise to Israel for every family placing the blood of their lamb on their door was: And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt (Exodus 12:13).

When the death angel took the first-born son from every Egyptian home, Pharaoh let Israel go free. The Passover was their Independence Day, their New Year’s Day, and their greatest festival. Each Jewish family was to celebrate Passover every year on the fourteenth day of Abib (our March/April), sacrificing a lamb without blemish at the Tabernacle (later the Temple) and sprinkling the blood on the altar. All those lambs through the centuries expressed faith that some day God would provide His lamb. When Jesus came and began His ministry, John the Baptist introduced Him by saying, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Jesus fulfilled the promise of Passover by His blood on the cross.

The Passion Remembered In the Lord’s Supper
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After that last Passover, Jesus instituted the first Lord’s Supper, which some call Communion. Here we celebrate the spirit of Passover by recognizing Jesus as our Lamb without blemish, who died on the cross for our sins. The cross becomes our doorpost to Heaven. We claim God’s promise, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” In Jesus, our Passover Lamb, we are set free from the bondage of sin once for all. The bread reminds us of His broken body and the cup reminds us of His blood shed on Calvary for our sins. Paul said it this way, For even Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7). Trust Christ as your Passover Lamb. He will forgive you, set you free from sin, and give you abundant and eternal life.

We Can Have A Passion Driven Life! Several weeks ago I heard a pastor friend say something like this, “With all due respect for Rick Warren and his wonderful book, THE PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE, what we really need is a PASSION DRIVEN LIFE. Purpose without motivation (passion) will not carry out the great commission. When we have a passion for Jesus, His church, His Word and for a lost world, we will see a great revival and a harvest!”

Amen, but how?. First we must deal with the wrong kinds of passions. In Galatians 5:24, Paul says, And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections [passions] and lusts. This word translated affections here, is the same word translated passion”in Acts 1:3. We overcome these sinful passions by our total surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, denying ourselves, taking up our Cross [in union with Christ], and following Him (Luke 9:23). Our old nature will be crucified on His cross. He will fill us with His Spirit and His passion for living a holy life and reaching a lost world will become our passion.

Passion Movie Report. As of March 17th, gross box office sales of THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST movie was $273,213,000, twenty-second in all time movie sales. If it continues, at the present rate, plus the worldwide distribution and DVD sales, it could easily surpass the Titanic, now more than $600 million. The exciting thing about that is not the record, but the number of people in the world that will hear of Jesus, His cross and resurrection. This could start a world wide Revival Harvest! May it be, indeed, Amen!

© 2004 D. B. Martin

To view previous Maranathalerts, see the Maranathalert Archives.

Visit our website home page for many prophecy articles and other subjects posted there. For example, 2003 Easter season we posted messages on "The Seven Last Words from the Cross."

Note: “Maranatha” means, “Behold He Is Coming,” an early Christian greeting. “Alert,” reminds us to be ready. Blessings in Jesus! D.B.

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