I’d always thought that “The Passion of Jesus,” with a capital P, referred to Jesus’ suffering and death. But what if we talked simply about the passion of Christ, with no capital P?

Then the passion of Christ would be more about the intensity (the passion) with which Jesus welcomed people, ate with them, reached out to them in their need and enjoyed their company. It would also be about the passion with which he did his Father’s will and showed people that the Father was also passionately committed to them.

As a matter of fact, in Jesus’ case the two meanings of the one word “passion” are not unrelated. One of the great New Testament scholars of the last century argued that because Jesus lived with passionate intensity and preached a loving, forgiving God, the religious leaders found him to be a threat to their power and authority and decided to kill him, handing him over to Pilate, who had him tortured and crucified.

So this Good Friday, try to realize that Jesus’ Passion came from his passion for his Father and for us. That makes the story of Jesus’ last days not just about physical suffering but about the greatest act in a life of passionate faithfulness and love.

Copied with permission from The Bridge