My wife and I are participating in an Easter musical our church is performing this weekend. The story tells of the entire life of Jesus, from birth to resurrection to glory. No, I don’t sing, goodness no; I have a couple non-speaking parts as Joseph (my wife is Mary, both the young version and the old version) and a disciple.
In preparation for our parts we re-watched The Passion of the Christ the other night. I’ve seen the movie several times and each time I am equally as horrified as the first time I watched it. And every time I’m struck by two truths.
- Jesus could have stopped the brutality and torture at any time. He could have called a halt to it and said, “That’s enough. I’ve done plenty.” He held the power to turn the tables on the Jewish leaders, to defy Pilate, to conquer his tormentors. He had the authority to gather hordes of angels for his defense, to direct them to annhilate those who ranted against him and beat him nearly to death. But he didn’t. He restrained his unearthly power. And he did it because . . .
- Jesus knew he had to endure the full penalty of sin. He had to bear the entire weight of the world’s sin. It wasn’t enough to only die for some, to cover a portion of mankind’s iniquity. No, he had to take the whole burden; he had to die for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). That was his mission, the reason he was born and lived and gave himself over to his enemies.
I find that awesome and terrifying and humbling. To know that I’ve offended him so completely, that I’ve transgressed his law countless times, that I’ve turned my nose up at him, ignored him, betrayed him, and denied him . . . and yet I was on his mind when he hung on that cross.
So how about you? What comes to mind when you think about the passion of Jesus, the price he paid, the torment he endured?