The Passion of Jesus Christ is about as extreme as you can get. The Crucifixion, perhaps the most brutal state-sponsored method of execution, was portrayed in two extremely different ways to two extremely different audiences.

On Sunday afternoon, a pastor laid out the details of Jesus' ordeal on what came to be called Good Friday. Christ's journey was much more cruel, vicious, demeaning and gory than what is depicted in artwork. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to imagine what he went through that day.

For a start, he was scourged. That involved being flogged by a short whip that consisted of leather thongs to which were tied small iron or lead balls and bits of sheep bone to make the whipping as painful as possible. The detailed account continued until Christ's death after He was nailed to the cross and then stabbed by a spear to make sure He was dead.

The next evening, a group of elementary school-age children were guided through the Stations of the Cross devotion at another church. Undoubtedly, only the oldest among them had even a vague idea what Jesus went through at the 14 stations.

Most of us adults have only a dim concept of the suffering Jesus went through. Children have even less of an idea.

The brutality of that day will always be beyond our understanding. The reasons Jesus went through that for us are as perplexing as they are comforting. He did it to put to death death itself and to slay sin.

Why and how did He do it? As extreme as it seems, Jesus did it out of love.


God's love means going to extremes of sacrifice.