At the Last Supper, while Jesus was sitting with his closest friends and followers, he looked at them and said, “One of you will betray me.”
However, if we look more closely at those words in Greek, we find that a better translation might be, “One of you will hand me over.” The wording “hand over” comes from the word paradidomi and in this case it doesn’t just refer to Judas—it also refers to God. The Apostle Paul in Romans 8.32 tells us that God did not spare His own son, but handed him over for the sake of us all.
Once Jesus has been handed over, he is no longer the active agent in his own story. He is a passive victim, and it is important to note that Christ’s mission is fulfilled by what is done to him.
Most of our lives are about coping and dealing with the things others do to us. We might wish it was different, but it’s not. I might wish everything I had to endure was only the product of my well-reasoned self-assurance, but it’s not. Other people do things—even messy and inconsiderate things—and I have to cope or deal with what they do to me.
Isn’t it interesting to note that “passive” and “passion” have the same root word? It’s almost like, linguistically, God is trying to remind us that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be victimized by what others do to us. Instead, he wants us to re-frame our understanding of that victimization and convert it to passion.
What if we recognized that the things done to us are the most obvious way for us to demonstrate our passion for God’s healing? What would it look like for us to stop complaining about our jobs, or our spouses, or our lack of resources, and instead begin to see these shortfalls and shortcomings as the primary arena in which we get to shadow God?
When others hurt me, I can passionately refuse to seek revenge. When I am bullied, I can overcome my aggressive impulse to get back at them, to humiliate them, or to one-up them in public. This path would demonstrate my willingness to live in the Way of the Cross.
Most of our lives are more passion than action. We’ve got to recognize this and begin to seize our opportunity to live the way we were meant to, even if we have no real control over what happens to us.
It is good news to know that Christ was handed over to his passion, and yet it was through what others did to him that he accomplished his divine mission to heal the world.
This post is from Seasons of Christian Spirituality.