“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” (John 4:34, NIV84)
Is there a hobby you especially enjoy doing? Cooking? Playing piano? Fixing cars? Long distance running? Most folks have a set of activities they choose to include in their schedules depending on their interests. It’s good to have such diversions. They have a way of adding spice to life. They can also revitalize us for the respective callings in life which the Lord has given us (in the home, at work, at church, and so on).
Speaking of “callings,” we will soon enter the season of Lent.
It’s the time of year when we ponder in a special way the calling God gave to His Son, Jesus. We are reminded how Jesus’ one burning desire—His passion—was to finish the mission His Father assigned to Him for our eternal blessing. For Jesus it was, of course, more than a hobby. It was THE reason He was born into the world. As we meditate on His work for us, it saddens us to think how it was our transgressions that brought such woe on Him. At the same time, it makes us happy. The basis for our happiness could be pictured by an acrostic on that word PASSION, as follows:
The P in “PASSION” stands for PREDICTED. We hear again and again in the passion account that everything took place so the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled (for an example, read Matthew 26:55-56). This is important because it proves that Jesus is our true Messiah, chosen by God to serve us in love.
The A stands for ALL. When Jesus went as an uncomplaining lamb to the slaughter of the cross, He did it for the blessing of every person who ever lived or will live. No one need wonder, “Did Jesus die for me?” The Bible’s answer is an emphatic “Yes!” (read 1 John 2:1-2).
The two S’s stand for SPECIAL SACRIFICE. When Satan seduced our first parents to sin in the Garden of Eden, their relationship with God was fractured. They and all their descendants were hopelessly lost and condemned. They were separated from God, destined to suffer in hell’s misery forever. Nothing less than the precious blood of His Son, shed on the cross, had the ability to mend that broken relationship. Praise God, it did! (read 1 Peter 1:18-19).
The I stands for I AM. It can remind us of the sublime truth that He who forfeited His life on the cross is the eternal Lord, the faithful covenant God, Jehovah. In a world where broken promises are the order of the day, what peace is ours knowing that Jehovah Himself—He who keeps His promises unfailingly—provided for our salvation. (read Psalm 98:1-2).
The letter O can remind us that Jesus is the ONLY SAVIOR. The idea is common in our world that there are many roads leading to heaven. That’s a deception of the evil one. Scripture is clear in teaching that no system of theology based on human effort, no religion conceived in the mind of man, can redeem poor sinners. Only Jesus can. Praise Him, He did! (read Acts 4:12).
Finally, the N in the word PASSION can remind us of the blessing of infinite worth that is ours through faith in Christ Crucified: NEVER-ENDING LIFE. As God’s redeemed children, through faith in His Son, we enjoy the privilege of living for Him now. We look forward to the day when we’ll see Him and live in His presence forever. (read 1 John 3:1-2).
How blessed we are to have a Savior who loved us with such passion!
Thomas Schuetze is pastor of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lakewood, Colorado.