Pastor's Page

March 2004

A Passionate Christ

The Passion of Christ, the newly released movie produced by Mel Gibson, has filled the airwaves, the pages of the newspapers and eaten up gigabytes of internet pages. There are those who are whole-heartedly endorsing this movie. In some areas, churches are purchasing entire theater showings with the intent of using this movie as an outreach tool. However, at the same time, there are many who are objecting to this movie on the grounds that it will cause a rise in hatred for the Jews.

I wish I could give you a certain answer on this issue. However, I am writing this the day before Ash Wednesday. I do plan on seeing this film. I want to see it for two reasons. The first is very pragmatic. I want to see this movie because there will be people, members here at Zion and people from the community, who will have questions. I feel that I need to see this so that when questions are asked in Bible Class that I may answer from an informed position because I have actually seen the film.

There is another reason, though, that makes me want to see this film. We live in a society that has become increasingly visual. One of the possible benefits of this film is that it will place before the people of the world a visual image of Jesus that shows the length to which He would go to redeem mankind. This includes you.

The main objection to this movie is the graphic violence. I can fully understand this. There is so much violence that we see on a nightly basis on the news. For many, the last thing we want to pay good money to see is more violence. But if I may, this violence may well be different. For the violence Jesus endures is a violence that finds its source not only in the scheming of the Jewish leaders of Jesus day, but also in the rampant sinfulness of every human being of all time. As Mel Gibson told Diane Sawyer when she asked who it was that killed Jesus, he responded “We all did.” We are all hold blame in the suffering and death of Jesus Christ.

There is one warning I must give here as well. This movie will not cause people to come to the church in droves. I pray that there are many people who come to Zion because they have been moved to learn more by seeing this film. I pray that you and all members of Zion get more ravenous for the Holy Scriptures because of this film. But this movie will not guarantee it. Just think about it. Jesus walked the face of this earth for 3 years. In that time He performed miracles and taught people with an authority that had never been seen. They were there when the crucifixion happened. They heard the rumors of Christ’s resurrection. However, many still rejected. Many rejected Jesus when He was there in the midst of them. Would it not go to figure that many, maybe even thousands, who see this movie will still reject the message of the Gospel?

But if one thing does come out of this phenomenon, I pray that it is the renewed idea that God loves us with an everlasting love. Not some philosophical love. A real love. A bloody, brutal love that lead Him to offer up His life in a horrible fashion. A love that would stop at nothing to make sure that we can know it.

We have a passionate God. He loves us tremendously. You can know this with or without seeing this movie. What matters is that you know this love. It comes to us in Jesus Christ. If you see the movie, take the time to let me know what you think. If you don’t, take comfort in the fact that the Passion is already done for you. It happened 2000 years ago. It is done. Thanks be to God!

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