April 2, 2010

Reflecting On "Good Friday": The Purpose of the Passion

A shout out to the Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council staff and thank you for the following post:

The Purpose of the Passion can be summed up as -- a second chance! The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ provides a second chance for mankind to walk in relationship with the God who created them. The Scriptures make clear that through Adam sin entered the world, but through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ there is justification for every man, woman, boy and girl--if they only place their trust in Him.

The passion of Christ provides a second chance for each of us to be right with God by being forgiven of everything and anything we have ever done. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ gives you and me the ability to live life to its fullest because we can be free of guilt and be guided by a purpose that eclipses all that the world has to offer.

Mel Gibson, in his movie The Passion, captures both the need and the power of the second chance available to us through Christ. Jesus is praying in Gethsemane when the guards of the high priest arrive to arrest Him. The guards approach and ask for Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus identifies Himself and Judas comes up to Him and kisses Him, saying "Hail, Rabbi." Jesus asks Judas why he is betraying "the Son of Man with a kiss?" Judas is stunned and steps back.

The guards move in to arrest Jesus. Suddenly, Peter explodes into action, attacking the guards. Ultimately, Peter pulls out a sword and cuts off the ear of one of the guards. Peter is eventually subdued, and Jesus tells him to drop his sword, saying, "Those who live by the sword die by the sword." Then Jesus reaches down, picks up the guard's severed ear, and looking into the guard's eyes, heals him.

Jesus stands up, and the remaining guards move in and arrest Him -- striking Him and handling Him roughly. They shove Him along the road and begin to leave. The healed guard is still on his knees, unmoving. His fellow guards tell him to get up and come along, but he cannot. The guard can no longer participate in anything that brings harm to the Christ.

He was left in the garden of Gethsemane to marvel at what the Savior had done for him. In the film, Peter, left behind, then comes face to face with the guard after Jesus healed his ear and touched his life. This is especially poignant, as within hours Peter would need that same forgiving touch of Jesus and a second chance.

This is the same Peter who had walked with Jesus (Matt 4:18-20). This is the same Peter who boldly declared that Jesus was the Son of God (Matt 16:13-17). This was the same Peter who committed to follow Jesus to the death (Matt 26:35). Despite all of this, Peter denied even knowing Jesus, not once, but three times (Matt 26:75). Was this the end for Peter? Was Peter beyond the forgiveness of Jesus Christ? Not at all! Following the resurrection, Jesus gave Peter a second chance (John 21:15-17).

The Purpose of the Passion is to give each of us a second chance. Whether you're like the guard who came face to face with Jesus for the first time or whether you're like Peter who had walked with Jesus in the past, declared who He is to others and even committed his life to Him, if something is separating you from the abundant life Jesus has obtained for you--a second chance awaits you. That's the Purpose of the Passion.


Tags: Good Friday, The Passion, Jesus Christ, Family Research Council, Christians
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