A few weeks ago my wife and I along with friends attended the Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs. It was a crisp cold evening as we sat there and watched the final scenes of the life of Jesus being played out before us. As we watched my mind began wondering why it is called a passion play. When I got back to the motel room I studied the subject.
I found out that in approximately 1175 the word passion was adopted from Old French to Old English to mean the, ‘sufferings of Christ on the Cross’. By Middle English the word ‘passion’ described a strong barely controllable emotion. The original meaning of ‘passion’, as the sufferings of Jesus, fell out of common usage in the 1600’s.
I studied the word passion in my Bible concordance. In King James the word passion, meaning the sufferings of Jesus, is found in only one verse, Acts 1:3 “To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”
The most common meanings of the word ‘passion’ today is extreme compelling emotion, great anger or rage, enthusiasm or fondness, strong love or affection, and lust.
Do you know anyone who has a passion for something? We have just had an election in this country and I found that many people were very passionate about their candidate or political party.
I have met many Christians who are passionate about their beliefs; but do we as Christians have a passion for Jesus? What is at the top of the list of our life’s priorities? In Matthew 22:36-39 we read, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
We as Christians should keep the Ten Commandments, but if we are not passionate about Jesus and our neighbors it does us no good to keep them. Our relationship with Jesus is all about priorities.
Matthew 23:23,24 record Jesus as saying, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
Jesus didn't say not to follow the fine points of the law; But He wants us to focus on the weightier matters. In John 15:12 He said, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you”. And to make sure that we understand he repeats in verse 17, “These things I command you, that you love one another”.
How do you think Jesus feels when we lose our passion for him and our love for each other, and replace it with a mechanical form of religion where instead of loving each other we fight with each other? In Revelation 2:4 He said, “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love”. Does Jesus have something against you, have you lost your first love? Are you passionate about Jesus?
When you have a passion, others know. Passion is more than mere formality and habit. It’s enthusiasm, its strong love and affection. To have a passionate church full of love for one another we must each one personally become passionate about Jesus.
Do you have passion today; A passion for Jesus who died for you? 1 John 4:10-12 states, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us”.
Jesus endured passion: He suffered for you. He is still passionate in his love for you. Are you passionate about Jesus or are your passions in other areas? Let’s decide today to be passionate about Jesus.