Passion is often defined as any powerful or overwhelming feeling or emotion. We say of newlyweds, for example, that they share a great passion for one another. Or we might say someone is passionate about a cause they believe in strongly. Why is what Christ went through called "the Passion" then?
A class called Word Origins that I took while at College of the Redwoods had a unique assignment. Throughout the semester we were to collect words that interested, intrigued, fascinated us. At the end of the semester we would be graded on the number of words in our collection. One of the words I wondered about was "passion" and how it related to Jesus and His death. (Bear with me...I'll get to my point shortly). In this class we studied Greek roots of words, Latin roots of words, etc. and how by doing so you could figure out the meaning of a word by knowing what these roots meant.
The word passion comes from the 2nd century Latin root word passio, which means "to suffer." When I discovered this it made perfect sense to me. The Passion of the Christ could easily be translated as The Suffering of the Christ. But, oh, I knew it meant much more than that.
See, although Jesus did suffer intensely throughout his trial, crucifixion, and death, He also had a powerful and overwhelming feeling and emotion. He had a passionate desire to do His Father's will.
"Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch. He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will."
He also had a passionate love for those that He loved, his disciples, his accusers, those that would deny Him and those that would accept Him. (All of humanity.)
"My prayer is not for them alone [the disciples]. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."
As you celebrate with your family and friends this Sunday, remember that Easter is about more than Spring. It's about passion. The Passion of the Christ.