Mel Gibson's film about "The Passion of the Christ" has attracted attention throughout the world. It has received a lot of acclaim. People have also criticized it for a variety of reasons, some valid and others not. In any case it should be remembered that a film can hardly be expected to do full justice to reality. If you have not yet read the Bible but have seen Gibson's film, don't think you now know what the Bible teaches. Biblical material has been used, but the Bible was not the only source. You have been exposed to additional material. Aside from basing his portrayal on the Bible, Gibson has relied on what certain Roman Catholic authors have written many centuries later. And of course, artistic imagination also plays a large role in film-making.
The full story
No film can really capture all the dimensions of what happened on the cross. Can any human being portray the full depths of what Scripture teaches about the suffering of the Christ? This is something that cannot really be captured in a film. The Bible stresses that Jesus Christ was not only a man. He was the sinless Son of God. He suffered throughout his life. Not just on the cross. He died to save sinners from the wrath of God against sin. We have to understand what sin is before we understand what the wrath of God involves. Only then will we also be able to understand why the death of Jesus Christ is good news. In John 3:16 we read: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Eternal life is life in fellowship with God. When you have this life, it changes the character of your daily life. It also gives you hope. Life in fellowship with God does not end when a person dies.
Jesus Christ is King
Scripture teaches us to look beyond the passion of the Christ to his resurrection. He arose from the grave on the third day after his crucifixion. Over a period of forty days, Jesus appeared to his followers repeatedly (Acts 1:3). Once he even showed himself to more than five hundred people at the same time (1 Corinthians 15:6). Then, the Bible tells us, he was taken up before the eyes of his disciples. They looked until a cloud hid him from their sight. He "was taken up into heaven" (Luke 24:51). We also read: "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word" (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus is not dead. He reigns as king! And he has promised that he will come back… Look forward to the return of the King! Remarkable! What does this mean for us today? Come to church to find out!
Dr. Andrew J. Pol