The Passion of Christ


THE PASSION, POWER & POSTERITY OF CHRIST
PLEASE READ IN THE BIBLE (ACTS 1:3) (JOHN 10:17, 18; MATTHEW 28:6, 7) (ISAIAH 53:10-12)
The release of the film, “The Passion of Christ”, has generated a lot of interest in this subject.  Many adults and young people, who have never given thought to the passion of Christ, now have a desire to view the film to get an understanding of the events that took place.  A recent Gallop poll has revealed that at least 70% of the people in the USA intend to see the film.  Of those who have viewed the extreme violence and suffering inflicted upon Christ, many have been deeply affected and visibly shaken.  The scriptures do indeed have much to say about the immense sufferings He endured.  (Isaiah 52:14), for example, says “His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men”.  It speaks of the immensity of the physical sufferings and abuse He endured.  His form, countenance or appearance, was so degraded and disfigured that He was beyond recognition.  The movie only shows how Christ died and focus’s on His sufferings.   It is important, however, that you understand why He died.  You need to understand the meaning of His passion.   Lastly, you need to understand “the rest of the story”.  The Bible tells not only of His passion, it also speaks of that which follows.  After His passion there would be the demonstration of His power and the promise of His posterity.  In this message we want to consider this subject by way of the following outline:
  1. THE PASSION OF CHRIST (Acts 1:3)
·        The PLAN of His Passion (Acts 2:23)(1 Peter 1:20)
·        The PROPHECY of HIS Passion (1 Peter 1:10-12)
·        The PATH of His Passion
1.       His Passion in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:38-45)
2.     His Passion at Gabbatha (John 19:13)(Matthew 27:24-31)
3.     His Passion at Golgotha (Matthew 27:32-50)
·        The PURPOSE of His Passion (1 Peter 3:18)
  1. THE POWER OF CHRIST (John 10:17,18)(Matthew 28:6, 7)
  2. THE POSTERITY OF CHRIST (Isaiah 53:10-12)
DEAR READER, AS YOU READ THE DETAILS BELOW, PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT IT WAS FOR YOU THAT CHRIST SUFFERED, DIED AND ROSE AGAIN.  WILL YOU BELIEVE IN HIM AND RECEIVE HIM AS YOUR OWN PERSONAL SAVIOR? 
1. THE PASSION OF CHRIST (ACTS 1:3)
The only mention of the word “passion” in the Bible is found in, (Acts 1:3) “He (Christ) showed himself alive after HIS PASSION by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days”.  The English word “passion” is from the Greek word “pascho” which means “to suffer”.  It refers, of course, to the suffering of Christ which is mentioned or referred to many times in scripture.  In dealing with this subject we want to consider the plan, the prophecy, the path and the purpose of Christ’s sufferings.  Let’s consider first of all;
The PLAN of His Suffering
The sufferings of Christ were not accidental.  They were not the result of events or circumstances that got out of control.  THERE WAS A DIVINE PLAN that made the sufferings of Christ a necessity.  Notice the following scriptures:
·        (1 Peter 1:20) “Christ was verily foreordained before the foundation of the world”.  The gift of God’s Son to suffer and provide salvation for sinners was ever in the mind of God, even before the foundation of the world.  Christ’s redemptive work on our behalf was no after thought on God’s part.
·        (Acts 2:23) “Him (Christ) being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain”.  This verse reveals two important aspects involved in the sufferings of Christ.  These are “the grace of God” and “the guilt of man”.  It was the grace of God that devised the plan of salvation.  There was a Divine and definite plan according to the fixed purpose and foreknowledge of God.  The Divine plan, however, does not absolve man from his guilt in causing the suffering and crucifixion of God’s Son.  We read also in (Acts 5:30) “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, WHOM YE SLEW AND HANGED ON A TREE”.  Jews and Gentiles both had their part in the crucifixion of Christ.  Both are guilty before God.  The crucifixion was initiated by the Jewish Sanhedrin (religious leaders) who used  Roman (Gentile) governmental authority to carry out the execution.  
·         (John 3:16, 17) “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn (judge) the world; but that the world through Him might be saved”.  In these wonderful words we have what we might describe as the execution of God’s plan that was devised in the Heavenly Counsel Chambers of God.  The coming of Christ into the world was the unfolding of God’s plan of salvation which necessitated the sufferings of Christ.  Dear reader, have you believed in God’s Son?  Have you accepted Him to be your own personal Savior?  “Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.
The PROPHECY of His Suffering
From the very beginning of mankind’s history it was foretold that Christ would come and that He would suffer to provide salvation for sinners.  Immediately upon the fall into sin by our first parents (Adam and Eve), God promised a Savior.  God said to the serpent (Satan), (Genesis 3:15) “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel”.  This verse reveals that there would be perpetual hostility between Satan and the woman (all mankind).  There would be hostility between Satan’s seed (his agents) and the woman’s seed (Christ).  Christ inflicted a mortal wound resulting in utter defeat for Satan at Calvary.  (See Hebrews 2:14).  Satan is still active but his defeat and doom are certain.  (See Revelation 20:10).  In the phrase, “thou (Satan) shall bruise his (Christ) heel” we have a reference to Christ’s suffering and crucifixion on the cross at Calvary.  Because of His resurrection, however, His wound was not a mortal wound.  The sufferings and cross work of Christ were not only voluntary and vicarious (Christ took your place and died for you, a guilty sinner) they were also victorious.
It says in (Acts 3:18) “God before had showed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled”.   The prophets of God predicted, many hundreds of years before it happened, that Messiah (Christ) would come and that he would suffer. 
It says in (1 Peter 1:10-12) “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently , who prophesied of the grace that should come to you; Searching what, or what manner of time the spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.  Unto them it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel …”    These verses reveal that the Old Testament prophets prophesied of both the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow.  The message, divinely given to them, that Christ would be both a sufferer and a Sovereign was not understood by them.  The revelation to their minds did not include illumination of their minds.  The prophets sought out and searched out the revelations given to them.  God revealed that the message given to them was not a message for them, or for their time.  God’s message of salvation and the sufferings and glory of Christ was for us of this dispensation. 
The PATH of His Sufferings
It says of the Lord Jesus Christ, in (Philippians 2:6-8) “Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”.  In heaven, before He came into the world, Christ eternally existed or subsisted in the form of God.  His essential Being was God.  (Galatians 4:4) “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law”.  He veiled the outward expression of His deity and came down from heaven in condescending grace.  The Sovereign became a servant.  The infinite one became an infant.
Oh, what wondrous love and mercy
Thou didst lay Thy glory by;
And for us didst come from heaven
As the Lamb of God to die.
 He was made in the likeness of men.  (1 Timothy 3:16) “Great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh”. In His manhood He was altogether unique, holy, untainted by sin, for He was God manifested i
n the flesh.  That which characterized Him while He was here was humbleness and meekness.  “He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”.  This meant that He would suffer.  His path through life would be a “path of suffering”.
·        HIS SUFFERING IN GETHSEMANE (Matthew 26:38-45)
(Matthew 26:36-39) “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane(the name means “oil press”).  “He began to be sorrowful and very heavy”.  “He said unto them My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death”.  He went a little farther, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt”.  (Luke 22:44) “He sweat as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground”.  The sufferings of the Lord Jesus in Gethsemane were sufferings of anticipation.  They were inward sufferings.  As He anticipated what it would mean for Him to have the burden of our sin upon Him, and be forsaken by God, there were immense and intense sufferings that no human being can understand.  Gethsemane was the place of His agony, His arrest and His abandonment by all His disciples.
·        HIS SUFFERING AT GABBATHA (John 19:13) (Matthew 26:47-68; 27:1-31)
1.        The Pre-Gabbatha sufferings inflicted upon Christ by the Jews (Matthew 26:47-68; 27:1, 2)
When Christ was taken from Gethsemane, He was brought before the Jewish religious leaders.  A mock religious trial was held and false witnesses were brought in to testify against Christ.  See (Matthew 26:57-68).  Caiaphas, the high priest, asked the Lord Jesus directly if He was the Christ, the Son of God.  The Lord answered that He was and that He would come again in power and glory.  See (Matthew 26:63, 64).  Because of His truthful answer the whole counsel condemned Him to be guilty of blasphemy and sentenced Him to death.  It says in (Matthew 26:67) “Then did they spit in His face, and buffeted Him; and others smote Him with the palms of their hands”.  When He was “buffeted”, it means that He was struck with the fist.  The brutalities inflicted upon Christ marred His face so that it did not look human anymore.  From Luke’s gospel we are told that they mocked Him, they blindfolded Him and struck Him on the face.  These were the beginning of the immense sufferings He would endure.
2.      The sufferings inflicted upon Christ at Gabbatha by the Gentiles (Matthew 27:11-30)
The next morning they bound Christ and delivered Him over to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor.  (See Matthew 27:1, 2).  It says in (John 19:13) “Pilate …brought Jesus forth and sat down in the judgment seat in A PLACE THAT IS CALLED THE PAVEMENT, BUT IN HEBREW, GABBATHA”.  A political trial was held.  After Pilate’s interrogation of Christ, his official verdict was “not guilty”.  On a number of occasions he stated, “I find no fault in this man”.   (See Matthew 27:19-25)  Pilate, however, was willing to set justice aside and appease the angry crowd who repeatedly cried out concerning Christ, “Away with Him, crucify Him”.  Pilate consented to the will of the angry crowd.   It was then that THEY SCOURGED HIM.  According to Roman scourging, Jesus was stripped to the waist.  He was bound in a stooping posture to a low pillar.  He was beaten repeatedly with a scourge of leather straps to which pieces of lead and/or bone were fastened.  His back was cut open in all directions.  (Isaiah 50:6) “ I gave my back to the smiters and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair, I hid not my face from shame and spitting”.  (Psalm 129:3) “The plowers plowed upon my back, they made long their furrows”.  THEY MOCKED HIM.  THEY STRIPPED HIM.  THEY PLATTED A CROWN OF THORNS AND PRESSED IT UPON HIS BROW.  THEY SPIT IN HIS FACE. 
·        HIS SUFFERING AT GOLGOTHA (CALVARY) (Matthew 27:33-56)
It says in (Matthew 27:33) “And when they were come unto A PLACE CALLED GOLGOTHA, that is to say, a place of a skull….etc”  The sufferings of Christ at Golgotha were two-fold as to there source;
1.       The sufferings of Christ at the hands of sinful man. (Matthew 27:34-44)
In this passage of scripture we read THEY CRUCIFIED HIM.  THEY SAT DOWN AND WATCHED HIM.  THEY REVILED HIM.  THEY TAUNTED HIM AS HE HUNG UPON THE CROSS.  EVEN THE THIEVES THAT WERE CRUCIFIED WITH HIM ABUSED AND REPROACHED AND MADE SPORT OF HIM IN THE SAME WAY.  Time will not permit going into all the details of these sufferings of the Lord Jesus.  A few comments about the crucifixion, however, are in order.  Christ was crucified.  Crucifixion was the most painful and  most degrading form of capital punishment.  It was reserved for the worst crimes and for the lowest class of people. Nails were driven through His hands and feet.  The torture was dreadful, and the thirst great.  Furthermore it says in (Deuteronomy 21:23) “He that is hanged is accursed of God”.  Thus, Christ not only died for us, He was made a curse for us.  It says in (Galatians 3:13) “Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree”.  In order to provide salvation for rebellious sinful man, Christ went down to the very lowest form of death.  
2.     The sufferings of Christ at the hands of a Holy God. (Matthew 27:45-56)
Christ had been hanging and suffering on the cross for three hours when a supernatural darkness came over the scene.  It says in (Matthew 27:45) “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour”.  Midday was turned to midnight.  We will never know, we will never fully understand, what took place during those three hours of darkness when the “waves and billows of God’s wrath were poured out upon His beloved Son”.  It was during this time that, (2 Corinthians 5:21) “God made Him to be sin for us, (Christ) who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him”.  Our sins were placed on (not in) Him.  God made Him to be a sin offering on our behalf.  It says in, (Isaiah 53:10) “It pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief; when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin”.  (Isaiah 53:4) “He (Christ) was stricken, smitten of God and afflicted”.  These were God’s judicial dealings with His Son when He hung upon the cross.  There He bore the punishment that we deserved for our sins, He having none of His own.  There He was made “an offering for sin”.  There He was made sin for us.  Dear reader, is your heart so hard, so cold, that you can remain untouched by what took place when Christ suffered on the cross? 
The Purpose of His Sufferings
Dear reader, you probably have heard the story of a person called Jesus Christ who was crucified on a cross.  Have you ever considered, however, that It was for YOU PERSONALLY that Christ suffered and died on that cross?  It was for YOUR SINS that He suffered and died there.  Please notice carefully the following scriptures;
·        (1 Peter 2:24) “Who (Christ) His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose (Christ’s) stripes ye were healed”. 
·        (I Peter 3:18) “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God”.
·        (Isaiah 53:4-6) “Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.  But He was wounded (pierced or tormented) for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” 
These few scriptures are sufficient to show God’s AMAZING GRACE and that the purpose of Christ’s sufferings were to provide salvation for sinful man.  Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Amazing Grace” says it as follows:
And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died he for me, who caused His pain?
For me who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love, how can it be
That Thou, my God, should’st die for me
2. THE POWER OF CHRIST (JOHN 10:17, 18) (MATTHEW 28:6, 7)
The film, “The Passion of Christ”, was occupied, of course, with the physical sufferings of Christ.  There is, however, “the rest of the story” that must be known and understood.  After “Christ’s Passion”, there was the demonstration of, “Christ’s Power” and the promise of “Christ’s Posterity”.  The manifestation of Christ’s power was seen in His resurrection.  Before His suffering and death on the cross, He said, (John 10:17, 18) “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.  I have power to lay it down, AND I HAVE POWER TO TAKE IT AGAIN.  This commandment have I received of my Father”.
·        We see the Lord Jesus as “THE SON OF GOD” when He said, “Therefore doth my Father love me”.  The Father always loved His Son but this speaks of a special love drawn out of the Fathers heart because of the obedience of the Son.  (Philippians 2:8)He was “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”.
·        We see the Lord Jesus as “THE SERVANT OF GOD” when He said, “I lay down my life”.  This speaks of “HIS PASSION”.  The suffering and sacrificial death of Christ was a voluntary act on His part.  (Isaiah 53:12) “He poured out His soul unto death”.
·        We see the Lord Jesus as “THE SOVEREIGN GOD” when He said, “my life, that I might take it again”.  This speaks of “HIS POWER”.  When the women went to the tomb that morning, they heard the angel say, (Matthew 28:6) “He is not here: for He is risen, as He said”.  This is the heart of the gospel message, God’s good news, (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4) “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; He was buried, and He rose again the third day according to the scriptures”.
Dear reader, do YOU believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ?  You can not be saved unless you do.  It says in, (Romans 10:9, 10) “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”.  If you believe it in your heart you will confess it with your mouth.  The Lord Jesus Christ is a living Savior.  (Revelation 1:18) “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and death”.  These words speak of “The Power of Christ”.  His power as the risen one, His power as the eternal one and His power as the one who can reunite body and soul in a future day. 
3. THE POSTERITY OF CHRIST (ISAIAH 53:10-12)
In (Isaiah 53:8) a question is asked by the prophet, “Who shall declare His generation for He was cutoff out of the land of the living”.  He was asking, “Are there no successors”?  “Will there not be any lineage or posterity of the suffering Christ”?  His life had been abruptly cut off.  Have all God’s plans and purposes “fallen to the ground”?  The answer to these questions is found in, (Isaiah 53:10, 11) “HE SHALL SEE HIS SEED”.  “HE SHALL SEE OF THE TRAVAIL OF HIS SOUL AND SHALL BE SATISFIED”.  In (Hebrews 2:13) we have the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, saying, “Behold I and the children which God hath given me”.  Those who believe in Him are called, “His dear children”. They are called, “The travail of His soul”.  Believers have been given to Him by God, the Father.  When He sees those who have put their faith and trust in Him, “He shall be satisfied”.  After Christ’s ascension into heaven, one hundred and twenty believers were gathered in an upper room.  See (Acts 1:11-15).  After this, on the day of Pentecost, Peter preached the gospel to the people gathered in Jerusalem.  Three thousand more souls were saved.  See (Acts 2:41).  It says in (Acts 2:47) “The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved”.  For two thousand years the Lord has been adding believers to His church.  In Revelation, chapter 5, we read about a great multitude in heaven, redeemed to God by the blood of Christ who is the Lamb of God.  It says they are saved, (Revelation 5:9) “Out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation”.  A great multitude that is the “seed of Christ” and the travail of His soul” will be in heaven. 
Dear reader, in conclusion I would ask YOU, “Will you be included in the posterity of Christ”?  Are YOU a chi
ld of God?  I can say to you on the authority of the Word of God, God loves YOU.  He is not willing that any should perish.  He wants YOU to be saved.  This is why He sent His beloved Son to die on the cross for YOUR sins.  YOU are traveling the “highway of life”.  Now that you have read this message, YOU have come to “the crossroads”.  Which way will you go?  Will you continue to reject the Savior and God’s offer of salvation?  Or, will YOU believe on Him and receive Him as your personal Lord and Savior?  It is YOUR decision and YOUR responsibility.
Please give this matter your most serious attention.  Will you be a believer or a non-believer?  Your eternal destiny depends on your decision.

Christian Messenger

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