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Passion & Christ: On course at the cross

In passion on April 26, 2011 at 4:24 am

He took passion to the cross

By Liz Dugger

† “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”

He couldn’t take much more. Living out His “calling” – the very reason He was born – was already killing him from the inside. The core of his humanity suffered crushing blows before his body was ever touched.
Facing betrayal, false accusation, and soul-suffocating sorrow, no doubt his heart was already mostly broken. What could he do with all those feelings?

† “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me…”I doubt he prayed in passive Sunday School tones. Remember the story?  He didn’t get, demand, or manipulate his own way. But he still felt the “want” for it …

In “better” times, his life and ministry experienced electrifying moments. He’d stood strong before crowds, speaking God-formed words, stirring excitement with supernatural demonstration. Would it end like this? Disappointment, disillusionment, darkness? Could passion now get the best of him?

† “…yet not my will, but yours be done.” His words to the Father portrayed what he’d told his disciples to do: † “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”

Passion can feed temptation. One way to define passion is, “any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.” We’ve seen both acts of greatness and grossness prompted by positive and negative passion throughout history.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, he faced circumstances that could have triggered surges of negative passion. Strong feelings that can break humans. Emotions that could’ve easily erupted into willful disobedience, trying to alleviate discomfort, as his pores oozed bloody sweat.

But Jesus didn’t shift course, turning right or left off the painful path. His vision was bigger than personal emotion or comfort. He wanted to show us “how it’s done” when reaching the boiling point of our own sordid feelings.

So he prayed, obeyed, and took passion to the cross.

He crucified poisonous feelings related to betrayal that easily break down to bitterness, false accusation that can ferment to anger, sorrow that potentially sinks into bogs of sin.

Yesterday our Easter sermon was about Victory. Jesus was in-it-to-win-it. And he did. He won the battle over powerful emotions that could have taken him off course.

When life gets challenging and circumstances tempt me to give into strong feelings that could take me off course, I think about Jesus in the garden, kneeling, calling out to his father, pressing through and taking it all to the cross. It helps me to take strong emotions – negative or positive – to the cross like he did. He shows me how to stay on course no matter where my “calling” takes me. Ultimately, I know, it will take me straight to him.

Heb 12:1b-4 (NLT) 

And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 

2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. 4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

† excerpts from Luke 22:39-45 (NIV)
* Jesus praying to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane


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