I am watching the series, A.D.–the Bible Continues on NBC and we are right in the middle of the series. This article from the BBC follows well the question about why Jesus had to die. This article from the BBC in 2009 captures some of the issues depicted in A.D.–the Bible Continues.
Christ on the Cross
The Passion of Christ is the story of Jesus Christ‘s arrest, trial and suffering. It ends with his execution by crucifixion. The Passion is an episode in a longer story and cannot be properly understood without the story of the Resurrection.
The word Passion comes from the Latin word for suffering.
The crucifixion of Jesus is accepted by many scholars as an actual historical event. It is recorded in the writings of Paul, the Gospels, Josephus, and the Roman historian Tacitus. Scholars differ about the historical accuracy of the details, the context and the meaning of the event.
Most versions of the Passion begin with the events in the Garden of Gethsemane. Some also include the Last Supper, while some writers begin the story as early as Palm Sunday, when Jesus entered Jerusalem to the applause of the crowds.
The Passion is a story about injustice, doubt, fear, pain and, ultimately, degrading death. It tells how God experienced these things in the same way as ordinary human beings.
The most iconic image of the Passion is the crucifix – Christ in his last agony on the cross – found in statues and paintings, in glass, stone and wooden images in churches, and in jewellery.
The Passion appears in many forms of art. It is set to music, used as a drama and is the subject of innumerable paintings.
Spiritually, the Passion is the perfect example of suffering, which is one of the pervasive themes of the Christian religion.
Suffering is not the only theme of the Passion, although some Christians believe that Christ’s suffering and the wounds that he suffered play a great part in redeeming humanity from sin.
Another theme is incarnation – the death of Jesus shows humanity that God had become truly human and that he was willing to undergo every human suffering, right up to the final agony of death. Another is obedience – despite initial, and very human, reluctance and fear, Jesus demonstrates his total acquiescence to God’s wishes.
But the final theme is victory – the victory of Christ over death – and this is why the Passion story is inseparable from the story of the Resurrection.