The Passion of Jesus Christ Explained

by Kraig Josiah Rice

Mel Gibson's movie, The Passion of the Christ, is easy to understand if we study the Bible to find out what was happening to Jesus Christ and why it was happening to Him. The word "passion" means suffering.

The preliminary question is: Why was it necessary for Jesus Christ to suffer and die?

To begin our study let's go back in time- back to another time and another place.

Sin had entered the human race through the disobedience of Adam and Eve. The way to God was broken. There was no one to fix it. Mankind was helpless and hopeless and alienated from a holy God. Mankind was claimed by Satanic ownership. Sin placed man in the devil's grip of power. Mankind was in a bad way. (Genesis Chapters 1-3).
"In disobeying God and committing sin, man incurred the penalty of death both spiritual, physical, and eternal".
(L.Thomas Holdcroft, The Moral Universe, page 24).

So God came to mankind and offered him a way back to God- the way back to God would be through blood. But man must also exercise obedience, love, and faith (just like today). God would be invited to come to live inside of a person and establish His throne upon the person's heart. Satan and sin would have to be dealt with and shunned. (Genesis 3:15). The promise of a coming Saviour was given who would be the Way or the Door to God. (John 10:9). He would be the sacrificial Lamb who takes away the sins of the world
(John 1:29). The Saviour would have to shed His blood. His sacrifice would be a complete identification with suffering humanity. In other words He suffered so I don't have to.

"Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in the blood of his followers and the sacrifices of his friends"
-General Dwight D. Eisenhower

Blood sacrifice was understood very clearly by early mankind. Abel was saved and was obedient to God as shown by his blood offerings to God. God accepted him. Cain was unsaved and disobedient to God. In his rebellion he offered God vegetables from a cursed earth that God would not accept.
(Genesis Chapter 4).

A repentant person in the Old Testament days was saved by looking forward to the cross. We are saved today by looking back to the cross.

God wanted Abraham to understand His future great sacrifice of His Son for all of humanity. God ordered Abraham to slay his one and only beloved son. It was a perfect illustration of an obedient son laying down his life in love for his father and a loving father doing what he had to do. (Genesis Chapter 22). God spared Abraham's son, Isaac, but did not spare His own Son, Jesus Christ.

During the days of Moses, God continued the process of reconciliation through blood. Blood atonement was made through a sacrifice. It was usually a sacrificial lamb. Blood was sprinkled by the high priest on the mercy seat of the Arc of the Covenant. Only blood could wash away sin. This work made an atonement for all of the people who loved the Lord so their sins would be forgiven and they could make it to heaven. "In fact, we can say that according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified by sprinkling with blood. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins." (Hebrews 9:22).

Mel Gibson's movie starts with a quote from scripture, "But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the guilt and sins of us all".
(Isaiah 53: 5 & 6).
Note: Mel quotes the same scripture(s) except from a different Bible translation. I am quoting from the NLT (New Living Translation).

This scripture sets the tone for the whole movie. It is about the sacrifice of the divine Son of God. He was beaten outwardly in violence that we might know inward peace. Jesus was whipped. His body was torn apart so that ours can be put back together in divine healing. He suffered death on the cross. He was our vicarious substitutionary atonement. He took our sins and died in our place on that cross. But we must avail ourselves of that opportunity by inviting Him to forgive us of our sins and to come inside of our heart and take up residence there.

Mel Gibson's movie begins with Jesus Christ, the Spotless Lamb of God, internally agonizing in prayer. He asked God, His Father, to let this cup (of torture and death) pass away from Him if it was possible. If it was not possible then Christ would drink the cup which He did.

The movie shows His betrayal and arrest. Then the beating and the whipping. Then His crucifixion, death, and resurrection. There is a lot more to all of this than what I have listed here. I have just tried to hit the highlites of the Passion of the Christ here in this work.

The motive of God in all of His suffering and death is LOVE. You might say it is a passion of love...Christ could have called for 12 legions of angels to rescue Himself (Matthew 26:53). The nails were not the only thing that held Him to the cross. The only actual thing that held Him on the cross was love. His great love for you and for me.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life".
(John 3:16).

Christ's death and resurrection broke the power of Satan. Satan was defeated at the cross. Satan was also exposed to be cruel and a liar. This hurt Satan's pride. This is what brought him down in the first place. Have you ever wondered why there is so much controversy concerning the person of Jesus Christ? The answer is that Satan has declared himself to be god- to be divine and worshipped as deity. He tried to usurp God's position in the beginning but was cast to the earth. Satan has stirred up a lot of trouble over this. Well, Jesus Christ declared Himself to be God. There can only be one. Somebody is a liar.

"When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
"Well", they replied, "some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets".
Then he asked them, "Who do you say I am?"
Simon Peter answered, You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.
Jesus replied, "You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being".
(Matthew 16:13-17).

His death and resurrection broke the power of sin.
"Yes, Adam's one sin brought condemnation upon everyone, but Christ's one act of righteousness makes all people right in God's sight and gives them life. Because one person disobeyed God, many people became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many people will be made right in God's sight".
(Romans 5:18-19).

God views us in a certain way. It is called propitiation. God looks thru the blood of Christ at us. It is like you and me looking through a magnifying glass. Even though we are dirty because of our sins, God sees us white and clean.
"Come now, let us argue this out", says the LORD. "No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool".
(Isaiah 1:18).

"Adversity does not make us frail;
it only shows us how frail we are"
-Abraham Lincoln

When Jesus was born He was wrapped in swaddling clothes. (Luke 2:12). Swaddling clothes are grave clothes used to wrap dead bodies for burial. This is a sign-message from God to us- Jesus Christ was born to die. He fulfilled 333 prophecies from the Old Testament the day He died.

His passion has fostered a unity between His followers- a unity of peace and fellowship. One thing we all have in common is what He did for us on that day of His passion.

If you want to study further on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ you might consider the following passages of scripture:

"For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him for this purpose long before the world began, but now in these final days, he was sent to the earth for all to see. And he did this for you". (I Peter 1: 18-20).

"Christ also suffered when he died for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners that he might bring us safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit".
(I Peter 3:18).

"But very early on Sunday morning the women came to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone covering the entrance had been rolled aside. So they went in, but they couldn't find the body of the Lord Jesus. They were puzzled, trying to think what could have happened to it. Suddenly, two men appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed low before them. Then the men asked, "Why are you looking in a tomb for someone who is alive? He isn't here! He has risen from the dead! Don't you remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again the third day?" Then they remembered that he had said this".
(Luke 24:1-8).

"...he wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and people. He is the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message that God gave to the world at the proper time."
(I Timothy 2:4-6).

"So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that great, perfect sanctuary in heaven, not made by human hands and not part of this created world. Once for all time he took blood into that Most Holy Place, but not the blood of goats and calves. He took his own blood, and with it he secured our salvation forever.
Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow could cleanse people's bodies from ritual defilement. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our hearts from deeds that lead to death so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people, so that all who are invited can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant."
(Hebrews 9:11-15).

"Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me."
(John 14:6).

"As they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread and asked God's blessing on it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, "Take it and eat it, for this is my body". And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, "Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which seals the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out to forgive the sins of many."
(Matthew 26:26-28).

"This is the message he has given us to announce to you: God is light and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness. We are not living in the truth. But if we are living in the light of God's presence, just as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.

If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts".
(I John 1:5-10).

"And we apostles are witnesses of all he did throughout Israel and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by crucifying him, but God raised him to life three days later. Then God allowed him to appear, not to the general public, but to us whom God had chosen beforehand to be his witnesses. We were those who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is ordained of God to be the judge of all- the living and the dead. He is the one all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name."
(Acts 10:39-43).

"I have spoken of these matters in parables, but the time will come when this will not be necessary, and I will tell you plainly all about the Father. Then you will ask in my name. I'm not saying I will ask the Father on your behalf, for the Father himself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God. Yes, I came from the Father into the world, and I will leave the world and return to the Father."
(John 16:25-28).

"I have given you the blood so you can make atonement for your sins. It is the blood, representing life, that brings you atonement."
(Leviticus 17:11).

"Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Leaders and elders of our nation, are we being questioned because we've done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? Let me clearly state to you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed in the name and power of Jesus Christ from Nazareth, the man you crucified, but whom God raised from the dead. For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,
`The stone that you builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.'
There is salvation in no one else! There is no other name in all of heaven for people to call on to save them."
(Acts 4:8-12).

An Invitation To You To Come To Christ- to receive Him as your saviour.

Take a moment and think of the depth of God's love and mercy and the enormity of His sacrifice toward us in that Jesus suffered and died on the cross for us and took our sins upon Himself.

Jesus sent from heaven, died on Calvary Hill but was resurrected and lives forever so that you could also walk in newness of life, and live eternally in heaven with Him.

A Simple Prayer

God loves you and is waiting to receive you with open arms. Will you receive Him?

Please don't put it off.
"Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts."
(Hebrews 3:8).

"At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you. Indeed, God is ready to help you right now. Today is the day of salvation."
(2 Corinthians 6:2).

This prayer may help you: Dear Jesus, I believe that You are the Son of God and Savior. Please forgive me of my sins and cleanse me of all my wickedness and unrighteousness. I receive Your sacrifice of love for me. I will live for You all the days of my life and be with You in Heaven when I die. Please come to live in my heart now and transform me by your wonderful power and love.

A Bible Study About Who Jesus Christ Really Is
Medical Details of Christ's Crucifixion
Prophecies Concerning Jesus Christ

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since February 12, 2006