When asked what comes to mind when the name Jesus Christ is mentioned, most if not all Christians would answer, "the Passion of Christ", which summons the gruesome image of Jesus being beaten, mocked, spat at, and forced to carry his cross.
It also brings to mind the excruciating pain caused by nails driven into his hands and feet, his body hanging from the cross, and the unforgettable passage in Mark 15:34 when he cried, "Eloi, Eloi, lama Sabachthani?" meaning "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
For those who have seen "The Passion of the Christ", the name would bring tears to their eyes, as they recall the degrading verbal attacks hurled at Jesus and the pain inflicted upon him as his assailants struck him, pulled and pushed him along the way beginning with his arrest at Gethsemane up to the time when his cross was lifted into position on Mount Calvary.
This reaction is understandable, as we are more inclined to relate to human suffering than we are to the spiritual underpinning of the passion. However, while it is important not to forget the suffering and eventual death of Jesus on the cross, it is also important, and perhaps more so, to know the purpose of his death.
Jesus died on the cross; not only to absorb into his body the punishment for our sins, but also to give humankind unhindered access to the Word of God.
Therefore, we should be thankful that Jesus died on the cross to save us (John 14:28). Someone had to pay the penalty for the sins of humankind, and Jesus Christ is the only person who attained the level of purification required to reconcile God with humankind.