After reading various critics, the majority of them very critical of Mel Gibson’s new movie, The Passion of the Christ, I went to see it for myself. My first recommendation is for you to go see the movie for yourself and don’t be dissuaded by negative reviews. On the movie review site Yahoo Movies, the critics give the movie a B- and 30,000+ average movie goers give it an A-. Personally, I would give the movie an A. It is a powerful and moving account of the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life and the resurrection.
The movie is based on the accounts of Jesus’ last hours in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Contrary to much of what you read in the media, these accounts are not contradictory in any fashion, but record eyewitness accounts of the events in Jesus’ life from four different perspectives. Three of the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses and the third, Mark, was written in close collaboration with an eyewitness, Peter. All of the Gospels have been historically dated to within the lifetime of the eyewitnesses and their accuracy has been confirmed by comparing the accounts to themselves and with extra biblical sources. For dramatic purposes, the movie develops the characters of Satan and Mary from what is recorded in the Gospels, but in a very plausible manner.
The Passion has been criticized for not telling the whole story of Jesus’ life. If a movie was made that told the whole story, as recounted in all of the Gospels, it would probably be 20+ hours long. The point of The Passion is that in order to understand the meaning, you must go and read the original sources, the Gospels themselves and visit a church that addresses contemporary issues such as The Passion in light of the Bible. The Passion was designed to raise questions that are not answered in the film. It is intended to be the beginning of a new way of looking at Jesus Christ for many people. Polls show that most people in the United States have erroneous views about Jesus that are not based on the historical documents found in the Bible. I believe that The Passion will encourage more people to read the Gospel accounts of Jesus.
Why is this movie so polarizing? Why is it such a blockbuster? It is because Jesus came to polarize the world into two camps, those who are with Him and those who are against Him. Jesus said in Matthew 10:34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Some people want to see Jesus, meek and mild, the good teacher who taught us to love one another. Jesus was a good teacher, but He was and is so much more. When Jesus is presented accurately, He will always divide people into two camps and The Passion brings a sword of division.
The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” The crux, the focus of Christianity is not just love, it is the cross, which is the ultimate expression of love. The cross depicted in The Passion is foolishness to some and the power of God to others. What is your reaction to the message of the cross?
If you haven’t seen The Passion yet, invite a friend and go see it with an open mind. As you watch ask yourself, “Is this foolishness or the power of God?” Your answer will determine your destiny.