Well, I saw The Passion of the Christ on Friday.
Initially, I couldn’t really think of anything to say. It was pretty powerful. We can perhaps use our imaginations to try to figure out what the crucifixion of Jesus was really like, but here Mel Gibson has created a fairly realistic movie about it (though I was wondering why he shows the nails in the palms of the hands of Jesus – researchers often think that the nails were more likely to have gone through the wrists because the palms would never support a body).
But I think that the most powerful aspect of the movie, for me, was how masterfully it depicts the spiritual nature of Christ’s suffering. To be certain, the physical torments of a Roman scourging and crucifixion would have been terrible. However, as Julie Miller’s song entitled “How Could You Say No?” captures so well, the spiritual nature of Jesus’ taking on our sin was a major portion of the gift of the Cross.
Thorns on his head, spear in his side
Yet it was a heartache that made him cry
He gave his life so you would understand
Is there any way you could say no to this man?
One line that really made me go “Woah” was before the death of Jesus, where he intones Psalm 22:
Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?)
Now, I’ve written a term paper that dealt a lot with the alienation from the Father that results from Jesus taking on our sin (as in 2 Cor 5:21) and the how love/grace of God triumphs over even this separation of sin (as in Rom. 5:20). But to see it on screen and hear it in the original language hit me in a different way that is definitely difficult to articulate. Pretty amazing stuff.
Of course, there is much more in that movie that struck me… and I should note that this is *not* a movie for kids; it’s actually quite difficult to watch due to its realism. But it is very profound. It is not anti-Semitic (though it is faithful to the Scriptures in painting the political forces of the time in a not-so-good light). Instead, the message that reverberates through the movie is that, while we are all responsible for sin because all have sinned, Jesus freely and lovingly gave himself up for us.