Living in Light of the Passion of Jesus Christ
Rev. Scott Dibbet
Nothing in history was as radical as the passion or the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ. Being God, Christ came to this earth as a man to suffer and die on the cross for sinners who despise Him, reject Him, and even crucify Him. It is because of our sins that Christ had to suffer and die on the cross. Dear believer, since Christ has radically suffered and died for our sins, shouldn’t we radically live for Him?
Paul puts it this way in Philippians 2:5: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” What is the mind of Christ? “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Paul uses the mind of Christ as the foundation for the command to have the same mind: “Be likeminded, having the same love....”
Therefore, first, we are to have the same love. Consider the love of God, who gave His only begotten Son to die on the cross for sinners. Consider the love of Christ, coming from His glory in heaven to humble Himself, taking on the form of a servant in the likeness of men, and being obedient even to death. In verse 3, love is shown to be a radical self-denial, humility, and lowliness of mind. Have you considered loving the unlovable, even your enemies? Are you seeking your own glory rather than becoming a servant and esteeming others higher than yourself?
Secondly, Paul goes on to say, “being of one accord, of one mind.” Since believers have fellowship of the Spirit and are corporately one in Christ, there must be unity in the body of Christ. There is no room for strife and vainglory. Calvin writes in his commentary, “These are two most dangerous pests for disturbing the peace of the Church. Strife is awakened when every one is pre-pared to maintain pertinaciously his own opinion.... Vain-glory tickles men’s minds, so that everyone is delighted with his own inventions.” The largest obstacle to unity is our own self-centeredness.
Thirdly, we must be obedient even as Christ was obedient. Christ totally submitted to the will of His Father. In Mark 8:34, Jesus says, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Taking up our cross includes crucifying our sinful nature, submitting to God’s will, and even suffering for Christ’s sake. Are you willing to lose your life for Christ’s sake? When you are going through trials, do you consider they are nothing compared to the suffering of Christ? The greatest problem today is that everyone wants Christ as his Savior, but few want Christ as their Lord and to follow Him unconditionally.
This is radical obedience indeed. If we are honest with ourselves, we would admit that these things go directly against our human nature; we love ourselves more than God and our neighbor, we are proud and delight in our own inventions, and we know so little of the obedience of having the mind of Christ. But thanks be to God that those who are in Christ by faith have a small beginning of the grace of living in light of the passion. Yet we need to be encouraged during this passion season to greater love, unity, and obedience. Dear friend, if you know nothing of the love of God and despise the way of the cross, then I ask you in love what Jesus asked His disciples: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).