Posted on July 9, 2014
#62: The Passion of Jesus
Welcome to Knowing Jesus, our study of Christ’s life through the Spirit-inspired pen of Mark. Our goal is to learn all we can from Jesus, who stepped down from glory into human flesh so we could see how God would live as a man.
Last week’s post finished Mark 10. The remaining six chapters of Mark’s gospel cover one week in Jesus’ life, the final week—what has come to be called “The Passion.” It’s a perfect title. I can’t imagine a better word in the English language to describe Jesus than passion. He lived life with passion. He taught with passion. He completed His mission—death, burial, and resurrection—with passion. And He now intercedes for us with passion, until the day when He brings His Bride home—which will be the most passionate event ever!
Take some time this week to read Mark 11-16. (It’s a longer passage then we usually cover but should take less than thirty minutes to read. It’s good for us to begin our study of Jesus’ final week with a “bird’s-eye view” of the entire week’s events.) As you read, try to view the scenes with all five senses—seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching the unfolding story.
You’ll quickly sense the passion
• of the throbbing masses as they welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem with palm branches and praises
• of Jesus as He cleared the temple of the scandalous money-changers
• of the hate-filled Jewish leaders who were determined to destroy Jesus
• of the crowds who listened to Jesus with delight
• of the widow who gave God her last cent
• of Mary, who anointed Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair
• of Jesus, sharing one last Supper with His beloved disciples
• of Jesus’ agony at Gethsemane as He faced what was about to transpire
• of His love shown in every lash of rod and whip He endured.
And then came the cross. Jesus once said, “No one has greater love than the one who lays down his life for his friends.” (Jn. 15:13) Jesus, sinless and pure, set the standard for passion by taking our place on Calvary’s cross. He carried our sins to the grave, then conquered sin and death. Now, He lives—and guess what? We’re still the focus of His passionate love as He prepares a heavenly place for our eternity with Him. Truly, passion is the operative word as we examine Jesus’ life, then and now.
Passion is also what He wants to see in us. One of my favorite songs, Much Too High a Price, phrases it perfectly:
“Your love endured the cross, despising all the shame.
That afternoon, when midnight fell, Your suffering cleared my name.
And that sin-swept hill became the open door to paradise
because You paid so high a price.
You paid much too high a price for me—
Your tears, Your blood, the pain—
to have my soul just stirred at times, yet never truly changed.
You deserve a fiery love that won’t ignore Your sacrifice
because You paid much too high a price.” *
So what does He see when He looks into your heart and mine? A passion to match His own? Or just a little stirring now and then? Over the coming weeks as we study The Passion in the final chapters of Mark, ask the Lord to set your heart afire with new passion. It’s a prayer He’ll be passionately pleased to grant.
© Diane McLoud 2014
* Much Too High a Price— Lyrics by Phill McHugh ©1985 River Oaks Music Company (a division of Tree International), New Wings Music/Greg Nelson Music.