The Pastor’s Thoughts — April 2, 2023, Passion Sunday

March 29, 2023 | By Bishop Roy E. Campbell, Jr.

“The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Passion of our Lord, Jesus Christ recounts His Agony, Suffering, Crucifixion, Death, and Burial. The Israelite people that Jesus loved had turned Him over the Romans to suffer and be put to death by the cruellest method known in the ancient world, crucifixion.

What makes Jesus’ Passion, Crucifixion and Death the more remarkable, is that these same Israelites had just welcomed Him into Jerusalem waving palm branches, hailing His arrival as that of a king. Hence, we celebrate “The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ” as “Palm Sunday.”

Palm trees were not native to ancient Rome. They were brought back from battles as spoils by victorious Roman generals over Rome’s enemies. So, the crowds waving palm branches as Jesus entered Jerusalem were declaring His victory. Let us hold our spiritual palm branches high today, to declare Jesus’ victory, over sin and death.

His victory procession ended on the Cross, the “tree of death,” which became for us, the “tree of life.” Jesus defeated Satan at his own game. In the Garden of Eden, Satan used the “Tree of Knowledge” to bring sin and death to mankind. On Calvary, Jesus used the “Tree of the Cross” and His death to free mankind from the death of sin and to restore mankind to eternal life. Only Christians consider the “Cross,” the Roman symbol for suffering and death, as our symbol of Christ’s salvation for us.

Original sin entered the world through man’s disobedience to God. Sin brought death to mankind, separating us from God. However, Jesus’ Passion, Death, and Resurrection, reversed the disobedience of original sin by obeying His Father’s will. Jesus’ obedience to His Father restored life to mankind, reuniting us to God through Christ.

This Holy Week, we must stay united to Christ through sincere, heartfelt prayer. Fervent prayer will help us to fast, to give up our will, so that we stay united with Jesus in His Passion. Fervent prayer will help us to be active participants in His Passion, by helping us to carry the burdens of others out of love, like Jesus carried the burden of our sins. Fervent prayer allows us to hear God’s message of love and salvation. Fervent prayer will give us the strength to give ourselves in charity, by carrying Jesus’ healing message of salvation everywhere we go and into every heart we touch.

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