The Passion of the Christ

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.

Your thoughts?

6 thoughts on “The Passion of the Christ

  1. Darryl, I agree. We all went Friday night to see it as well. No words can really describe how one feels after seeing it. I think it hits everyone in it’s own way- it’ll affect us all. I, too, wondered about the nailing of the hands and not in the wrists. I remember those videos mom made us watch as kids and how one video described the importance of that. It made sense! However, Mel Gibson did an awesome job and should be very proud of his work. And yaaay, #1 at the Box Office this weekend!!!

  2. If you watch the movie again, Jesus’s arms are tied to the cross to hold him up. Then his palms are nailed to the cross. It makes sense really since stigmatists receive the wounds in their palms. Also, I’ve read many a saints book which say he appeared with wounds in his palms. I thought that, by far, the best parts of the movie were with Mary

  3. Yeah, though St. Padre Pio acknowledged that his own stigmata was not necessarily historically accurate (something to the effect of him wondering whether he was actually worthy to carry the same wounds as Christ or not). The way the ropes were done in the movie did not look all that stable for holding someone up, either (they were too loose), though it probably made things much easier for the actor. Anyway.

    Yeah, there were lots of great moments in the movie…

  4. Ya Darryl, Danny’s right- he was nailed in the palms, not the wrists. Plus if you watch the movie, they tie him pretty tight I though, so much that they dislocate his shoulder right? The wrist experiment was done by Nazis on Jewish prisoners anyways- who believes Nazis.

  5. He wasn’t quite nailed in the wrist, but as Mary said, where the bone is strongest…wouldn’t that be near the thumb bone? Also, I don’t understand why Mel had the left hand nailed first, I thought Mary said that it was the right hand.

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