Reading: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3
The vital part of the passion of Christ is that we not only know the details of His suffering, but that we understand the reason for it and the fruits of His suffering. That is why we must remember the details of the suffering and engrave them on our hearts, never to be forgotten. For in the details of the passion are many points that remind the Christian of how Christ suffered for us and for our sins.
Through these examples and attestations of the suffering of Christ our forebears were sustained when they too learned the details of the passion—how Christ died for our sins. So beside the details of the passion, we must also point out the purpose of Christ’s suffering. Now that purpose we confess in our Creed when we say, “I believe in Jesus Christ who suffered, was crucified, died, and was buried,” and so on. Why was He crucified and why did He die? In order that you might have the forgiveness of sins and be saved, as we confess in the third article of the Creed: “I believe in the forgiveness of sins, resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.”
All this has been made possible through Christ’s suffering and death. By the working of the Holy Spirit, we confess Christ, and through faith in Him receive forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. Therefore, the most important aspect of the passion is that we preach and learn why Christ suffered and died, namely, for our sins and that He has saved us from sin, death, and hell.
“Christ took your cup of grief, your cup of the curse, pressed it to his lips, drank it to its dregs, then filled it with His sweet, pardoning, sympathizing love, and gave it back for you to drink, and to drink forever!”—Octavius Winslow
Adapted from Martin Luther (Sermons 5:439)