|Photo by Gary, courtesy of Photoexpression.com|
We've shared quite a bit about the negative side of passion, and how we can get our passion mixed up with ambition, anger, or false spirituality. I'm ready to hear more about the passion of our Lord, for you and for me!
I searched for synonyms for "passion" in my Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, which is the main resource for this study, and I found the following: fervent and fervently; delight; delighted; and delights. During the next few lessons, we will delve into the passages containing these passionate terms.
Now, we've got to start with Jesus! I love this passage, in particular, fromLuke 22:15.
"On the night of the Passover Jesus sat down with the apostles and said, 'With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.'”
I love the way the Weymouth New Testament translates it: Earnestly have I longed to eat this Passover with you.
Do you hear the love and yearning in this passage? Fervent desire, desired . . . earnestly, longed. Repeating words to magnify the intensity of the meaning is called an anaphora. Do you see how each repetition or synonym lends weight to the importance of their relationship? It's like an exclamation point!
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible contains one of the most descriptive explanations of why Jesus was so emphatic about eating this particular meal with His disciples. It says, for one, "because he should eat it 'with' his disciples; an emphasis lies on the phrase, 'with you', to whom, and not so much to the passover," itself.
Jesus wasn't just hungry. He wasn't just glad to be participating in one of the most important Jewish traditions. Jesus has a bond with these particular individuals, like to no one else. He is preparing to suffer intense physical and emotional pain for not only their sakes, but for each of us in the world, and like anyone, Jesus wanted to spend his last hours with those he loved, and with those who would carry on His work.
In addition, Jesus knew that this was the Passover, the one that immediately precedes His fulfillment of the promise of the Passover: salvation. Once Jesus left that table, He knew He would be arrested, horrifically tortured, and nailed to a cross until His human body was dead. He was ready to do what it was He came to do: give His life in exchange for ours.
Gill's says it this way: He looked forward to this night "since hereby justice would be satisfied, the law would be fulfilled, sin atoned for, and the salvation of his elect obtained; for whom he bore the strongest affection, and whom he loved with a love of complacency, and whose salvation he most earnestly desired, and even sufferings for the sake of it."
Oh, to be there in the morning of the third day, Sunday, when Mary found the tomb empty and her Lord alive!
Read it for yourself. It's almost like the ending of an incredible movie that gets even better when you discover the story is true!
"The Empty Tomb
1Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.
9(They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
10Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15“Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
17Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
Jesus Appears to His Disciples
19On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Jesus Appears to Thomas
24Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
26A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Lord, thank you for loving us so earnestly, so passionately, so willingly! I pray that each of us reading this study, experiences the depth of your love today! In the name of Jesus, amen