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Theology > Jesus > Christ's Death > The Passion of Christ 


The word “passion” appears in Acts 1:3 in the KJV (“to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs”), but in the NKJV the translation is “suffering,” which is the literal meaning of the Greek word. In the case of Christ, the word speaks of His earthly sufferings, which include His death; so “sufferings” is a broader term than just “death.” All the dimensions of what Christ endured for sin are contained in the word Passion; therefore, in the minds of many believers the Passion includes those events associated with the final days of Christ leading to His burial.

However, the sufferings of Christ were much larger than the final week or the time of suffering on the cross. All of His life was a suffering. Jesus even taught His disciples that He must suffer: “He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things” (Mk. 8:31). Note the two words: “suffer” and “must”; additionally, He must suffer “many things,” meaning that His life would be filled with much affliction. It is difficult to contemplate a life that is lived for the purpose of suffering, a suffering that must happen. The realization was vivid for Christ for He taught His disciples this truth. Not only in death but in life He accepted the Father’s will. He accepted suffering—an example and a message to the believer.

On the Mount of Transfiguration Jesus asked the three disciples about the Scriptures that were “written concerning the Son of Man, that He must suffer many things and be treated with contempt” (Mk. 9:12; again note: “must suffer” and must suffer “many things”). Christ knew the Scriptures and knew that suffering would be His life and death. The sufferings of Christ were not optional but constituted the Divine necessity (see: The Divine Necessity and Theistic Determinism).

Jesus was
“a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”
Isa. 53:3

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