Youth New Evangelization & Spiritual Renewal Seminar Series
The Foundations of Faith: Seminar 7

The Passion of Christ

Just as Passover was important to Jews, so the Paschal Mystery is to Christians. Indeed, spiritually both represent the same event - Salvation and Deliverance. It was no coincidence that Jesus was crucified during Jewish Passover.

The Paschal Mystery stands for the passion, death, resurrection, and glorious ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven. It encompasses a series of events:

The Purpose for Jesus' Suffering

The following night after the Last Supper, Jesus sacrificed Himself by voluntary surrendering to injustice of sinners, and finally dying on the cross. Jesus' death on the cross is significant in four ways:

  1. Sacrifice for the purpose of Vicarious Suffering. He suffered and sacrificed Himself for our sins. By doing this, He effectively replaced the previous requirement of sacrificing innocent animals in the temple as an offering for the sins of their owners. Thus He became the sacrificial lamb. By the same token His body replaced the holy temple (which was to be destroyed in 70 A.D.).

  3. The political nature of this injustice highlighted, and made us aware of, the continuous prevalence of the Original Sin (see Seminar 11) within Jewish society.

  5. Jesus' death disturbed peoples' minds and woke up their conscience since an innocent person voluntarily underwent such an injust and horrific death. It was designed by the Higher Power for the worthy people to think about true values.

  7. Jesus also died for the purpose of visibly demonstrating His resurrection three days later, thus proving the existence of afterlife.
The last point was especially important because at the time of Jesus most people did not understand afterlife, yet Jesus'  teachings were all based on the concept of eternal afterlife. Therefore without Jesus' sacrifice for our sins there would hardly be any salvation and without Jesus' resurrection there would be no Christian Faith as it (the resurrection) was a clear indication of continuation of life after death.

Who Crucified Jesus?

We know Jews did not break one, single commandment of God by rejecting Christ and delivering Him to Roman hands to be crucified, yet as the exchange between Jesus and Pontius Pilate revealed, the Jews are fully accountable for the crucifixion of Christ:

6 When the chief priests and the temple guards saw him, they shouted, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" Pilate said to them; "You take him then, and crucify him. I find no reason to condemn him." 7 The crowd answered back, "We have a law that says he ought to die because he claimed to be the Son of God". 8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid. 9 He went back into the palace and asked Jesus, "Where do you come from?" But Jesus did not answer. 10 Pilate said to him, "You will not speak to me? Remember. I have the authority to set you free and also to have you crucified". 11 Jesus answered, "You have authority over me only because it was given to you by God. So the man who handed me over to you is guilty of a worse sin". 12 When Pilate heard this he tried to find a way to set Jesus free. But the crowd shouted back, "If you set him free, that means that you are not the Emperor's friend! Anyone who claims to be a king is a rebel against the Emperor!" JN19:6-12

Clearly, Pontius Pilate used every possible political means at his disposal trying to release Jesus as he knew that Jesus was innocent but Jews, using their political power imposed Christ's crucifixion on Romans. Jews were the masterminds, Romans only did the dirty work for them.

How did others see Him?

Jesus came in very turbulent times. Through Jewish teachings of TORAH many Jews had the capacity to perceive Jesus' divine mission, yet, due to the presence of Roman occupation Jews became confused and divided as to what Jesus' "salvation" and "deliverence" represented. The militant Zealots perceived Jesus as their potential military leader and future king of Israel who would crush the Roman domination with a mighty sword. Only very few Jews, Jesus' disciples among them, actually tried to understand the true meaning of Jesus' presence and His Holy mission. In the end, their humble meek voices were overshouted by the confused loud majority screaming "Crucify Him!"

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C 2018

Movie: Jesus of Nazareth part 3 - Sanhedrin trial clip