Underlying the passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, is the unfolding of the great love of the Son and servant of God whose mission is salvific. He is the one who in his equality with the Father, emptied himself to become man. In his great humility, he took the lowest place, and was obedient even to accepting death on the cross, without opening his mouth, like a sheep being led to the slaughter. In his complete acceptance of death, he will be raised up in the resurrection, and be given the highest place above in exaltation that at his name, every knee shall bow and every tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:6-11).
This whole drama plays out with the Christ event-the passage of his life through death and resurrection. Jesus was not afraid of this drama because he sees his mission as that servant who gives comfort to those who are weary, using the gift of speech that he has received through his obedience to the word of God. As the poor of his people are like split reeds about to break, smoking wicks about to be snuffed, Jesus, the Servant of the Lord must give them back hope. He is always attentive to everything the Lord tells him. He is well trained in the act of suffering, knowing that the Lord will not disappoint him (Isaiah 50:4-7). As the redactor to the letter to the Hebrews tells us, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, he was heard because of his reverence. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered. The trials, passion, death and burial of Jesus, were antithesis to the truths and thesis about Jesus- that he is the Son of God and Son of Man; that he came from the Father; that he and the Father are one; that he is Divine; etc. His resurrection will be the final act of God and the synthesis reaffirming that Jesus is truly the Son of God, whose mission was a Divine mission from the Father for the salvation of the world.
By his Passion, Jesus teaches us his disciples, to be courageous and fearless, in bearing witness to the truth. When brought before the Chief priests and the scribes, they questioned him whether he was the messiah, the Son of the Blessed One. Jesus answered “I am; and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.” He did not deny the truth that he is the Son of God. For that reason he was condemned to death. At day break, he was handed over to Pilate, with so many accusations against him, to which Jesus made no further response. Even when Pilate did not find anything against him and wanted to release him, they chose Barabbas among the rebels, who had committed murder in an uprising. They compelled Pilate to crucify Jesus, and he released Barabbas for them. After having Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified.
The soldiers led Jesus away for crucifixion, after much ridicules and mistreatment. He carried his cross, helped along the way by Simon of Cyrene. One thing remarkable is that, in all of these, Jesus did not open his mouth in self-defense. Jesus did all these to willingly accept death, so that the Father himself will defend him, and have the final say in his resurrection, so as to bring about his own divine will, for the salvation of the whole world.
Every disciple of Christ is called to imitate the passion of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in order to come to Christian perfection. St. Peter who three times denied Jesus in his passion, after repenting later, will tell us, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When he was insulted, he returned no insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten; instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness, by his wounds you have been healed ( 1 Peter 2:21-24).”
Let us, therefore, ask the Lord to give us the spirit and the grace to become Christ-like at all times.