Four Reasons to Relive the Passion
Last week I mentioned a book by Walter Wangerin entitled, Reliving the Passion. In this devotional on the Lenten season, Wangerin mentions four reasons that the passion of Christ is important for us to consider.
First, it is a reminder of our death and the death of Jesus. "Remember, thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return." We want to avoid thinking of our death at all costs. However, it is critical to do just that - to consider our death and then to remember Jesus' death in our place. Can we thank Him enough?
Second, the face of Christ acts like a flawless mirror that hides none of our faults - not even one. Wangerin says, "The death He died reflects a selfishness so extreme that by it I was divorced from God and life and light completely: I raised my self higher than God!" His death also frees us from our own death that we may live in Him.
Third, it lays out for us a road we must each follow. To follow Jesus is to take up our cross and join Him. The benefit is that we get to meet Jesus on the way. Why do we ever imagine that a path without Jesus might be a better way?
Finally, being reminded of Jesus' suffering and death prepares us for the joy to come. Jesus' disciples were overcome with joy upon seeing the risen Christ. But we see the outcome of the resurrection before it happens and so we aren't surprised by the ending.
Wangerin states, "The difference between shallow happiness and a deep, sustaining joy is sorrow. Happiness lives where sorrow is not. When sorrow arrives, happiness dies. It can't stand pain. Joy, on the other hand, rises from sorrow and therefore can withstand all grief. Joy, by the grace of God, is the transfiguration of suffering into endurance, and of endurance into character, and of character into hope - and the hope that has become our joy does not disappoint us."
When we relive Christ's passion, we too can be surprised by the joy that follows. May that be your experience this Easter season.
Scripture: Isaiah 53:6 - "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all."
Action Point: Which of these benefits is most helpful to you? Share it with someone you love.
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