In the Image of Christ
Colossians 3:8-11

The Real Passion

                            I’ve already heard much about the now infamous movie “The Passion of the Christ,” from it being a Latin Mass put on film, to the movie that will revolutionize the Christian faith and become the greatest evangelization tool we’ve ever seen. I haven’t seen the movie and don’t intend to, because personally, I believe it is an abomination to God and misses the point. I know many will say, “ How can you say it misses the point when you haven’t even seen it?” I’ll explain.
        Let’s look at some basic ideas first. You see, nothing good can ever come out of Hollywood, nothing that will bring glory to God. Hollywood is an industry of the world, and the world system belongs to Satan. They are against God!  One only has to look at what they stand for and the kind of trash that comes out of their industry. Hollywood stands against everything that is of a righteous nature. It cares not for the things of God and actually mocks and ridicules those who would serve the King. Not only is this true of the industry but also even the personal lives of those in Hollywood are often devoted to sex and drugs. They are a big soap opera being played out in real times with real lives. Yes, like it or not, Mel Gibson is part of Hollywood. He is making money and whistling all the way to the bank, and now he’s using Christ and the Cross to fatten his bank roll.  "The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted."  Psalms 12:8 (KJV)
         I have heard the testimony of many who have seen the movie. They say how scripturally accurate it is supposed to be.  But is it?  They tell me how intense it is and how it captures the struggles and the torturous death Christ endured when He was crucified.  I have seen enough movies over the last few years to know that Hollywood has made great strides in special effects. We need only to look at some of the recent war movies to see what has been accomplished and the realism that can be put on the screen. There are special effects so realistic that they make one cringe. As I hear of people speak of how realistic this movie is, I have no doubt that it is enough to grab your emotions, and even give you an idea of the physical suffering that took place before the crucifixion itself. But God does not deal on an emotional level.  "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."  Isaiah 1:18 (KJV) God wants to deal with a person’s intellect and will, not merely have him caught up in the emotion of the moment.  As far as graphic and emotional portrayals go, movies like “Schindler’s List” or “Saving Private Ryan” can have the same effect on the emotions as “The Passion.”
        There are many problems with this movie, both from a secular and scriptural point of view. The movie is made by a devout Catholic, who believes each mass is a continuation of the sacrifice of Christ. Good Catholics  believe the doctrines of their church, which teaches that you must maintain good works to be saved. These same people believe Mary to be a co-redemptress. Devout Catholics can never know if they will make it to heaven or not. They just hope they have done more good than bad, and that loved ones will pray for them after their death so that they can be released from purgatory. Catholics do not understand the true gospel. As it turns out, this particular Catholic, Mel Gibson, has made many other movies with many questionable scenes. What authority does Mel Gibson carry in Biblical matters when his own part in the films he makes is characterized by unrighteousness?  "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."  Phil 4:8 (KJV)
        I said earlier, “I believe this movie misses the point.”  It focuses on the physical suffering.  Granted, the Bible clearly depicts the physical atrocities our Lord endured before and during the shameful death of the cross.  No matter how close to the scriptures this movie seems to be, in reality it is way off.  It doesn’t matter how alive the special effects and graphics make this movie seem. What really happened on the cross can in no wise be caught on film, regardless of who the director is or how good the actors are. You see, when our Lord was hanging on the cross, darkness covered the earth. God veiled the three hours of most intense suffering from human eyes. At Calvary something took place whose depths no man can fully grasp. It was far more than physical suffering, which is the only thing this movie depicts, and is typically the focus of the Catholic.  The Lord Jesus who was and is without sin, holy and righteous, took the sins of the world upon Himself. He carried our sins in His body, the Apostle Peter tells us in 1 Peter 2:24, and that cannot be shown on film. It is for the spiritual mind to appreciate, and has no entertainment value.
        Everyone was worried about the antisemitism this movie would create against the Jews. Even though the Jews were the main perpetrators in His physical suffering at the hands of men, we all have a part to play in the reason for His death, which is, our sin against God. We are all guilty, and Christ died so we could be redeemed to God. Christ’s death was a voluntary act of His own will, in which He demonstrated His love and obedience to the Father and His great love for us. This voluntary act of being made “sin for us,” becoming our Substitute, our sin-bearer, also meant that He alone must endure punishment for sin at the hand of God the Father, which was far greater than man’s physical cruelty ever could be. There He hung, the Son of God, dying for the sins of the world. He cried out,  “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  The scriptures never once give us knowledge of our Lord saying anything during man’s part in His death. In fact the Bible tells us in detail of His silence with respect to proclaiming His innocence.  It was only when the real price for the penalty of sin was being paid  that Christ expressed anguish. It was God’s punishment on His beloved Son that paid the price for our sins, not the cruelty that man poured out on Christ. God is the judge, not man. God is the one who judges sin, not man.  "Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand."  Isaiah 53:10 (KJV)
        In the garden just hours prior to His death, the Lord asked the Father if it were possible to take this cup away from Him.  I believe the cup spoken of here had the same mixture as the one we see in Revelation 14.  I believe that it was the wrath of God poured without mixture into the cup of His indignation. I believe this is the cup that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ drank. He drank every last dark drop for our sins so we would be spared this horrible ordeal. What that cup represented was the wrath of God that was to be poured out on the Lord as He became sin for us. No movie can ever capture what took place between the Father and the Son that day!  How dare anyone try to depict this on film, and then sell it to the pagan crowd for entertainment and personal profit! Just like in the crucifixion of Christ, where the Gospel account reads, “and sitting down, they watched him there,” people go to Calvary for entertainment, to watch.  Man cannot begin to understand the depths of what Christ did that day 2,000 years ago. "O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth."  Isaiah 25:1 (KJV) Yes, the physical suffering of our Lord was great, but it could never compare to the wrath of God being poured out against sin. God was punishing His own beloved Son, who did no sin, and not only was He punishing His Son for sins He didn’t and couldn’t commit, but He also was punishing Him for the sins of the whole world. That includes yours and mine.  "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."  Matt 10:28 (KJV) The real penalty for sin is not inflicted by man; it is the judgment of God against sin. Sin can only bring about His wrath, unless it has been covered by the blood of Christ.
        I hope that you see why this movie isn’t what many are claiming it to be. The real story has already been written down for all mankind to know. It was written by the Father of the One who died in our place. Who better to tell the story than the real author of salvation?

“Death and the curse were in our cup- O Christ,’twas full for Thee!
But Thou hast drained the last dark drop, Tis empty now for me.
That bitter cup love drank it up; left but the love for me.”

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