Passion Week (also known as Holy Week), is a very important week for Christendom during the Easter period. The events of this period can be found in the New Testament books of Matthew chapters 21-28; Mark chapters 11-16; Luke chapters 19-24; and John chapters 12-20. Beginning from the Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday or Resurrection Sunday, this is an eventful week when Christians of all denominations alike and throughout the world remembers and marks or celebrates the time the deliverance of God came through His Son Jesus Christ to humanity.
The week is so significant because it is also the final week of Jesus’ life on earth. It was the time when Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, surrendered His life as atonement for the sins of the world. During this period, Christians across the globe commemorates His betrayal, arrest, trial, crucifixion, and resurrection.
It is referred to or named as Passion Week because of the level of passion or degree of love with which our Lord Jesus Christ went to the cross in order to pay for the sins of His people (Romans 5:8). During this period, the Lord truly revealed His passion for us in the sufferings He willingly went through on our behalf.
Scriptures clearly show that His suffering was real because He took on our human nature (see Isaiah 53:1-12; 1 Peter 2:22-25):
- He was perfect in everything He did—both in His thoughts and attitudes—even when He was wrongly condemned to death by the world.
- He took up our pain and bore our suffering yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted.
- He committed no sin, but He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.
- While being reviled, He did not revile in return.
- While suffering, He uttered no threats, but endured it all and kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.
- No deceit was ever found in His mouth.
- He was pierced for our transgressions.
- He was crushed for our iniquities.
- The punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and
- By His wounds we are healed.
Since Christ has left us a clear example to follow (through His passionate love and by faithfully handling an unjust punishment and suffering), how then should we (His followers) handle unjust punishment or trials? How should we behave when we encounter undeserved judgment? And what should our attitude be, especially during Passion Week?
Obviously, the Lord suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18). But in order for us to fight the good fight successfully as He did, we must take on the same mind as Christ (Philippians 2:5) and love as He loves (see John 15:12, 13, 17; cf. 1 John 3:11-18; 4:7-21). In other words, we must arm ourselves with the same passion and attitude that Christ had when He endured the sufferings that should have been ours, and the pains that we should have borne. As His followers, we must strengthen ourselves with the same way of thinking that He had, and be ready to suffer for Him (1 Peter 4:1). For to know Christ is not just to know the power of His resurrection, but also the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, in order that we may attain to the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:10, 11).
Part of being a Christian is the privilege of serving God faithfully when we face suffering or trial or when we encounter an undeserved judgment and unjust punishment (see Philippians 1:29; cf. 1 Peter 4:12, 13, 19). Observing how the Lord Jesus handled unjust punishment should give us insight as to how we also may endure such trials. Those who serve God faithfully in the midst of suffering take on a different attitude toward sin than what they previously held or used to do. Sin no longer holds the same grip on them, because they are in union with Christ Jesus (1 Peter 4:1).
As we celebrate Jesus’ final week of life on earth by commemorating His betrayal, arrest, trial, crucifixion, and resurrection, let us also demonstrate passionate love in our worship of Him and in our proclamation of His Gospel. Since He suffered for us, we too should be willing to suffer for the cause of following Him and proclaiming the message of His death and resurrection.
We will serve our Lord Jesus well and even better, if we do our best to add moral excellence to our faith, and to our moral excellence we add knowledge, and to our knowledge we add self-control, and to our self-control we add perseverance, and to our perseverance we add godliness, and to our godliness we add Christian affection, and to our Christian affection we add love for everyone. These are the character qualities we need! (2 Peter 1:5-7).
The more we grow like this or have them in abundance, the more productive and useful we will be in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, if we have these character qualities in us, they will make us active and effective in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if we lack them or fail to develop in this way as Christians, then we are shortsighted that we cannot see and have forgotten that we have been cleansed from our old sins. Therefore, let us try and work even harder to prove that we really are among those God has called and chosen, for if we do so, we will never stumble or fall away—for God will give us the full right or open wide the gates of heaven for us to enter the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:8-11).
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