The basic literal meaning of the word “Passion” is to experience excruciating pain. Suffering is a tool of Satan, which God allows to be used in our life, so that we may learn to choose to use suffering for His glory, and ultimately our benefit. The question we do not want to ask is: “Why me?”. Every time we feel pain, we might ought to think of a choice, or decision, as this: “What will I do with this?” Jesus faced this question in Gethsemane. But his ‘passion’ really began when he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted 40 days, Mt. 1-11, Mk.1:12-13, Lk. 4:1-13. 40 is a number connected with the consequences or the bearing of sin. 40 is in connection with sin and responsibility for strength to overcome it, Jesus wants us to know that he is being tempted to the degree that he takes on the battle against our sinful state and puts himself in it. Moses (Ex.34:28) because of his leadership against sin in mediating the 10 commandments. 40 days Moses intercedes in prayer for sinning Israel, Dt 9:25. Elijah, (IKg19:1-8) because of his fight against sin & false prophets and trying to protect Israel, he ran from his enemy Jezebel and fasted 40 days and also appeared in the transfiguration (Mt 17:3). 40 nights & days of rain because of sin, Ge 7:4,12. 40 years of wilderness wanderings for sin, Num.14:33. 40 stripes sinning offenders were to be beaten, Dt.25:3. Even John’s unique gospel without the temptation record, still introduces Jesus as “rejected” by his own people he came to, 1:11, and later records both incidences of rejection in the Temple grounds after His rebuke at the beginning of his ministry and the end, 2:13-22 & Mt. 21:12-13. Jesus lived his whole life here as a “Man of Sorrows”, Isa. 53:3.
The suffering Christ endured through his 33 years of life on earth was as common as we all suffer, until he approached Gethsemane. There for the first time, he suffered emotional and physical trauma like he had never experienced in all eternity. “He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities, punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds” (Isa. 53:5.) None of us have felt this, but we all have dealt with agonizing pain. Actually when anyone undergoes intense hurt, sorrow, grief, or burning torturous pain, FOR AN INTENDED PURPOSE, we have experienced ‘passion’. Athletes are notorious for willingly undergoing gruelling training where a victory is involved. Soldiers in battle certainly bear harrowing pain in war, but do we feel this for our faith? He knew this pain was coming for a certainty since the moment Elijah & Moses addressed it in His transfiguration, (Lk. 9:29-32). Why did it begin in Gethsemane? Because that is where the decision was made. Jesus formed and sealed an inseparable bond with His Father by prayer. A bond which was threatened by Satan’s sinful presence. When His prayer in
Gethsemane was finished, the whole act of His agonizing death was as good as done. That is why there was blood in His sweat. “Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him, for he was in such agony of spirit that he broke into a sweat of blood, with great drops falling to the ground as he prayed more and more earnestly. At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples-only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief”. Lk 22:41-45 (TLB) It took intense physical and emotional pressure to overcome the terrifying consequence of His first personal acquaintance with sin. “He bore our sins” (Mt. 8:17 & 1st Pt. 2:24).