What Does “Passion of Christ” Mean?
Passion (or Pascho in Greek)
The word translated “passion” comes from the Greek word pascho, verb meaning “to experience a sensation or impression (usually painful), to feel, to suffer, to be vexed.” (GREEK DICTIONARY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, STRONG’S EXHAUSTIVE CONCORDANCF OF THE BIBLE).
The term “passion” is used in Acts 1:3 to illustrate the crucifixion of Christ. This is a correct usage for the term “passion” as related to Christ’s vicarious, substitutionary atonement for our sins. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes we are healed (I Peter 2:24).
Christ willingly took our place when He died on Calvary’s cross. And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (I John 2:2). The word, “propitiation” (Greek hilasmos) means “satisfaction” in the sense that Christ’s death satisfied the just demands of God’s holy judgement for our sins. (CRISWELL STUDY BIBLE, p. 1464).
The fact is, Jesus Christ is the only remedy for sin and the only way for man to be in a “right” relationship to God. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God… (I Peter 3:18). Jesus Himself said, . . . I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me (John 14:6). God the Father saw fit to use Jesus Christ in His dying on Calvary’s cross (“passion”) to be the means whereby the great gulf between sinful man and the Holy God can be bridged – God’s plan of salvation. There is no other way: Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
“To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them, forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).