the passion continued

WARNING: Spoilers. If you haven't seen the movie and are worried about having parts of it spoiled for you don't read any more of this.

So I promised I would share some of the things about The Passion that concerned me or gave me pause. Actually, I don't think I promised that but it's what I'm giving anyway.

The movie focused on Christ's crucifixion - from the time He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane through his death on the cross. At the very end you see a resurrected Jesus walk out of the tomb with a smile on His face. Other than that, it is pretty much non-stop violence against Jesus. There are flashbacks like I mentioned to give you a break from the blood, but these flashbacks don't actually do much to explain the WHY of everything you're seeing. And therein lies my biggest concern with the film.

As a Christian, someone who claims to be a follower and disciple of Christ - I have a familiarity with this story and its context. I understand that Jesus was dying for ME, and every other person throughout history. I know that His death was necessary for my salvation - without Him making the sacrifice the film portrayed I would be hopeless in life and through eternity. I understand that "the wages of sin is death" and I love Christ. I understand the character of God to the point where I am able to realize this isn't just a sadistic exercise of His but rather the necessary path for the redemption of humanity.

I wonder, though, what someone with no such Christian context would think of the film. I imagine the response might be something along the lines of "Wow that Jesus went through a lot. He was a great guy and suffered much." Connecting that suffering with themselves, or a sacrifice meant to save them - I'm not sure that would happen without an explanation. And assuming the person knew the basics - that Jesus is supposed to have died for the sake of others, and the forgiveness of our sins. Does that person look at the brutality unleashed on Jesus and say "What the crap? He seems like a loving guy, but what God would put him through that?"

So I'm not sure that the character of God is communicated very clearly here - that God is loving and forgiving. That each lash on Jesus was indeed a stripe on the back of God Himself. That they are watching God in the flesh suffer for them. For me it's a picture of sacrificial love, but for someone else it might just be a picture of suffering and wrath and blood.

I think that this movie will be best for those that already have a faith in Christ or who have "backslidden" in their faith. People who have a glimmer of a background - they remember hearing that Jesus died for them, and maybe at one point in their life even it was real. But now life has gotten in the way and clouded their vision of Christ and His sacrifice. This film will pierce through the fog of everday busy and cut straight to the heart or a person of faith. But for those without faith, or any real conception of God or why this happened - I fear it might confuse, disturb, or at the worst drive them away.

But I don't know. I'd be interested in hearing your opinions on the movie, and how your spiritual background played into it.

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