A couple of years ago I was having a conversation with a group of friends and one of them said, “I think all the people who don’t have any passion should be gathered up and put on a deserted island.”
In my mind, I thought, “Who would make the decision about what having passion looks like?” To me her statement clearly indicated a very dangerous desire to “play God,” but she didn’t ask for my opinion, so I kept my mouth shut (a rather hard task for me) and let the “conversation of passion” fizzle out sans my two cents.
Recently though I’ve been frequently replaying her statement, and I’ve been thinking, like really thinking, about the word passion.
According to any dictionary, the word passion is most often used in one of two ways: 1) in reference to an intense desire for physical intimacy that one has for his or her spouse (insert red-cheeked, big-eyed embarrassed emoji here) (FYI-I added “for his or her spouse”); or 2) in reference to an intense feeling of emotion (like love).
Thankfully my unpassionate-people-should-be-put-on-a-deserted-island-friend definitely wasn’t thinking of the first common use of the word passion because then a significant chunk of the world population would be islanders (Whew!). She was thinking about the second common use of the word passion…but she was taking the definition of the word one step further. To her passion is not just an intense feeling of emotion (like love); it’s an intense feeling of emotion (like love) that leads the bearer of the intense feeling of emotion (like love) to act.
By far the most well-known verse of the Bible encapsulates this second common use of the word passion:
16 “For God [bearer] so loved [intense feeling of emotion] the world,[a] that he gave [action] his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16, ESV, bold and brackets mine).
How appropriate then that the period of time surrounding Jesus’s crucifixion (beginning with Jesus’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane or the Last Supper depending on the source and undeniably ending with Jesus’s death on the Cross) is referred to as the Passion of Christ.
In my Faith-Full Friday post I’m going to talk about a deeper meaning of the word passion and talk more about the Passion of Christ. In the meantime, to prepare for our “discussion,” I encourage you to read the scripture found in Isaiah that foretold and describes the Passion of Christ. I also encourage you to read the article entitled, “Medical Aspects of the Crucifixion of Jesus” by David Terasaka that provides detail about the gruesome suffering Jesus endured to save whoever believes in him from an eternal “life” in hell.
Isaiah 53:4-12, English Standard Version
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
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.
7 He was
oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was
the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;[a]
when his soul makes[b] an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see[c] and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,[d]
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,[e]
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressor