Places of the Passion
“...but he (Pontius Pilate) delivered Jesus to their will” (Luke 23:25).
Life in this world is fallen in sin. In God’s great love for mankind, He came down from heaven and became flesh, making His dwelling with mankind. He humbled Himself to the Father’s will of paying the price for mankind’s grievous sin through His death and resurrection. The price for mankind’s salvation was greater than all the gold and silver and everything else. It took the innocent suffering and death of True God in the flesh. Sin was paid for, yours, mine and all mankind’s. Sin is the result of the enticed human will. “...each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:14-15). Jesus paid the wages for mankind’s sin. He has great passion for us!
This Lenten Season our midweek services will focus on seven places of Jesus’ passion (Luke chapters twenty-two and twenty-three) that led up to His being lifted on the cross, His ultimate passion for mankind. On Ash Wednesday, February 10th, we will consider the table prepared for His institution of the Lord’s Supper. His passion, through this “feast,” continues to be celebrated often. The next five midweek services will be at the following places: February 17th the Upper Room, a place that Christ equipped His disciples for service, February 24th Gethsemane, a place of anguish as Christ submits, March 2nd the place of Betrayal while still in the garden of Gethsemane, March 9 the courtyard, a place of Denial, March 16th the Trial, a place of rejection, and then back to the Upper Room for Maundy Thursday for the Lord’s Supper, a place of forgiveness. Good Friday will be the Tenebrae Service, a service of darkness focusing on Christ’s Seven Words (statements) from the cross; the place of His paying the price for us.
These Places of the Passion all take place within twenty-four hours. Those twenty-four hours receive a remarkable amount of Biblical ink (Matthew-two chapters, Mark-two chapters, Luke-two chapters, and John-six chapters). Let us realize that this passion of our Lord was for our sakes, for our forgiveness. We are to receive His passion as an honor. It is an honor that He cares that much for you and me, and the multitude of mankind. As we go through “Places of the Passion” Services we will see God’s passion is for mankind. Make that personal; “God’s passion is for me!”
He continues to pour out His passion through His means of grace, which are the Word and Sacraments. I urge you to read Scriptures as a passionate letter of God’s love for you. I urge you to live in your Baptism realizing that Christ has passionately clothed you in order to cover your imperfections with His perfection. I urge you to be eager for His Supper as He passionately provides His true body and blood, in, with, and under the forms of bread and wine, so that He can intimately, sacramentally enter you for the forgiveness of sin.
The corrupt will of mankind has and does cause great turmoil in the world. Yet God’s Will sent Christ to earth to give His love. The “Places of the Passion” are for our temporal and eternal well-being. Praise be to God.
The Lord be with you,
Pastor Sam Wiseman