The Passion of the Christ
Brief Thoughts on Mel Gibson
At a very well known youth conference, DCLA,
this past summer, in Washington D.C., the president of the organization
spoke to us the final morning we were there. After a brief captivating
clip of some new movie about Christ, he started speaking of this
movie project that would be unveiled before Easter of 2004. I was
slightly surprised when he began telling us about Mel Gibson as
the projects founder and main financial supporter. As he was winding
down his time with us, he began to say, “And now, here with
us this morning…”
I thought to myself, “No! Come on! You’re
not gonna say Mel Gibson is here?”
But he continued “…to share with
us, MEL GIBSON!” The crowd of around 5,000 teens and leaders
roared in a mixed sense of awe, unbelief, uncertainty and almost
hesitation. Mel Gibson? Why would he be here? What’s he have
to do with this movie? I still didn’t believe he was there.
Then he came walking out on the stage, and much of the crowd was
just giddy at the fact they were seeing this mega star in the same
room as them.
As a now (almost) late twenty-something, I immediately began to
think of Mel Gibson as he was hitting his prime in the Lethal Weapon
movies of the early to mid 90’s. “The guy who was in
those movies, made this movie?” I thought to myself. “Huh.
Well, let’s see what he has to say.”
I guess I was just confused. I couldn’t
tell if he was there as an outside supporter of our faith, or just
the movie, or what the deal was. He did seem a bit uncomfortable
on the stage at times. I guess even a movie star can be intimidated
standing in front of a group of teens, let alone 5,000 of them!
However, as Mr. Gibson began to reveal his heart
to us, some hope glistened within me that he was sincere. Don’t
get me wrong, I liked the Lethal Weapon Movies, and many of his
other movies as well, and have always thought he was a great actor.
Little did I know how much more about him, his faith and his latest
project I would get to know just six short months later. My impression
of Mel Gibson has indeed changed and developed quite a bit between
when I woke up that morning at DCLA and when I sit at my computer
and write this now. My respect and appreciation has grown multifold
for him as a man of great character, courage and conviction.
Thoughts on “The Passion of The Christ”
It’s hard to believe it’s been seven
months and the movie has been released. Where does the time go?
Of course, the last month has been nothing but hearing about the
movie every time I go online or turn the TV on so the suspense just
built more and more. My wife and I (5 months ago, I couldn’t
say that!) waited six days after the release to finally go see it.
As you might expect, or might have heard from
many, this is a powerful movie that is very worthwhile seeing. This
movie has drama, suspense, fright, humor (not much, but it’s
there) and even some parts that are quite enjoyable to watch. And
while much of it is uncomfortable to watch, I didn’t want
to take my eyes off the screen. First of all, there are the subtitles
that you have to keep up with, which is really just reading the
Bible. Also, in addition to the portrayal of what Jesus went through,
there is the agony of those who love him having to watch every last
minute of his suffering.
There are many reasons I believe seeing this
movie is important in the life of a Christian. While we do have
to understand that this is one mans impression of what took place,
we can acknowledge that the story itself is accurate and fits very
closely with what we read in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and
John). It’s also worth noting that while the severity of the
punishment could have varied, thorough research was done to assure
that it was displayed as close as possible to what actually happened.
Those disclaimers aside, it is important to
see this movie because we can’t see the blood on the pages
of the Bible. We can’t hear the yells and suffering on the
pages of the Bible. God gave us wonderful imaginations, and we can
certainly get a good picture in our minds, but we are becoming more
and more a visual society. Often times words don’t mean much
without visual stimulation. Often times I think the words of the
Gospels don’t mean much to young Christians because of this.
This movie becomes an easy means by which to gain our visual stimulation
to accompany what we read in the scriptures and thus provides the
opportunity to make it more real for some.
Because of this, I have some suggestions for
you before (or after) you see this film, if you haven’t already.
First of all, take some time to read the account of the Crucifixion
in the Gospels. Even if you have read the story before, I found
myself saying countless times in the theatre “I wish I’d
read through it again.” I think this would be very helpful
as you watch the movie. The film starts with Jesus suffering in
the Garden (Matt. 26:36; Mark 14:32; Luke 22:39; John 18:1), and
the whole story goes through the end of chapter 27 in Matthew. Reading
at least two of these accounts would be beneficial because different
ones have different details. Matthew and John would be my suggestions.
You should also go into the film with an open
mind, and a blank slate as to what you think you’ll see in
the hours that follow. I’ve found that in life, this is usually
a helpful tactic in going through any situation that you might be
looking forward to. A good way to do this is to pray, “God,
please take away my expectations of this experience, and may I get
from it as much as I need to draw me closer to you.
There is really not much more to say. It’s
been days now since I’ve seen it, and when people ask what
I thought, I’ve found there is really not much to say. It’s
a very well done, powerful movie, the effects of which are hard
to put into words. That’s probably good, as the effects will
be different for each person who sees it. Use it as an experience
to be educated, as an opportunity to grow and a chance to become
closer to the God who made it possible to be in touch with him through
the great acts you’ll witness on the screen in the final hours
If there’s one thing we can all
take from any encounter we have (reading or viewing) of Christ’s
suffering, is that we are truly unworthy of such a mighty, selfless,
painful offering from our Lord and King.