Why is Jesus’ death and resurrection story called His “passion”?

The sections of the gospels that tell of Jesus’ suffering and death are commonly referred to as the “Passion narratives” or his “Passion.” The term is derived from several instances in the original manuscripts that mention Jesus’ pascho, the Greek verb meaning “to suffer.” Later when the Bible was translated in Latin, this Greek word was translated as passio. Since then Jesus’ passion has been synonymous with his betrayal by Judas and Peter, the agony in the garden, his trial, crucifixion, and death. In Christian belief, the Passion includes not just his physical suffering, but his mental and spiritual anguish as well.

The resurrection stories are not considered part of the Passion narratives themselves, since they are not part of his suffering and death.

Ann Naffziger

Ann Naffziger

Ann Naffziger is a scripture instructor and spiritual director in the San Francisco Bay area. She has has written articles on spirituality and theology for various national magazines and edited several books on the Hebrew Scriptures.