Okay so I saw the movie. I won't go into super-depth with reflections and whatnot, be all organized. Instead I'm just going to share a few of my thoughts. I hestitate to say I "enjoyed" the movie. How could I enjoy watching someone suffer for my sins? So instead maybe I should say I was touched by the film. I was touched by the degree of suffering Jesus endured; how he was treated with such contempt, hatred, and violence. I think the parts that made me tear up were actually the non-violent parts though, because they made the violence all the more horrifying.
As I mentioned before I have seen many people beaten up on screen, and I've seen Jim Caviezel in other movies (Count of Monte Cristo, Frequency) so I had to have something else to suspend my disbelief for the film. The way the film is structured, it starts with Jesus being betrayed and taken away for his trials and crucifixion. Interspersed throughout the movie, presumably (and thankfully) to give you breaks from the violence, are flashbacks that give you some kind of frame of reference. Two flashbacks in particular touched me.
The first was with Jesus making a table outside of his house, with his mother Mary inside watching him. He was a grown-up, and full of life. He had a glimmer in his eyes as he worked, and he was brimming with vitality. His mother came out to let him know there was food inside; at first he just keeps on working on the table till he's satisfied that it's finished. It's a tall table so he jokes with her about who will eat at it - then she convinces him to come inside, and just like a mother and a son tells him to "wash his hand" before coming in. The mischevious annoyance with that request is clear in Jesus' eyes and I see Him portrayed here as a more alive person than I ever have. He doesn't somberly say in an English accent "Yea verily mother, I shall come into the house and eat of the porridge you have so graciously prepared for me." No, He has personality! And I was touched with his humanity - especially when the camera cut back from this vital man's smiling face to an eye swollen shut and face bloodied from many blows.
The second flashback that really got me occurred later in the story. Jesus is carrying His cross after having been tortured incredibly - He is weak and faltering. His mother Mary has been following along, and at one point He falls to His knees under the weight of the cross. She is there and sees Him fall - as that happens we are taken to a flashback. We see a child of 5 or 6 running - he falls and skins a knee. We see Mary run to the child and say "it's okay, I'm here, I'm here." Then we flash back to this same mother, years later; the child is grown and He now is bloody all over, more than a knee is skinned. That flashback gave me such a picture of Jesus as a man that I haven't seen before, and it got me good.
So as I watched the movie I was overcome with a sense of unworthiness and thankfulness. I am so thankful to God and Christ for my salvation. I am so not worthy.
I will continue tomorrow with some of my concerns about the film. For now, it's time to make a phone call and head to bed.