I was raised a Southern Baptist, and still consider myself one. I have no doubt that God is real and that he lives within me. I’ve watched with great interest and amusement the furor over Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ.
I find it more than a little ironic that it takes an R-rated film to make so many people ponder Jesus Christ. I wonder what Jesus himself would say to us if he took physical form to comment on this fascination. Would he be pleased to know that so many of us haven’t forgotten about him after all? Or would he be disappointed that it took Hollywood to make people say, “Oh, Jesus…yes, I remember him.”
If the movie hadn’t made headlines, I doubt so many people would suddenly be wearing their religion on their sleeve…but since this film has zealots coming out of the woodwork, I thought I’d drop a few points that need to be pondered.
First, I’m quite sick of the press making such a big deal about Mel Gibson’s outspoken father. The elder Gibson has made several statements that are divisive, including comments that the millions of Jews reported killed in the Holocaust weren’t killed after all, they just moved to other places.
Gibson’s critics, many of whom seem to want to portray themselves as Godly people one way or the other, want Mel to come out and denounce his father…to state plainly once and for all that his dad must be some kind of fruitcake. In that now-famous television interview, Diane Sawyer was unable to get him to criticize his father, which has only led to more controversy.
Maybe it’s just me, but I thought there was a commandment about honoring thy father and mother. Are the religious among us wanting Mel to break a commandment just to make a point?
What difference does his father’s views make? Did his father come up with the idea for the movie? Did his father write the script? Do you agree with everything your father has ever done, and do you expect to be held accountable for any mis-steps he has made?
Mel Gibson has stated that he does not share his father’s views, but that he loves him anyway. Jesus knows that all of us are sinners, but loves us anyway. What more do we need here?
The Passion of the Christ has also inspired a debate about who is responsible for Jesus Christ’s death. In our society, we need to be able to blame someone for everything that happens. Nothing is ever our fault, it’s always someone else’s. We just like to know who because when we can find someone to blame it on, it makes us feel better because we’re in a position of judging the “guilty.”
Much has been made about the Jews being responsible for Jesus’s death. Anti-Semitic groups have raised red flags that the movie will prompt violence against the Jews from those shocked by the images of Christ’s torture.
My bible has a relevant passage I’d like to point out. It occurs in Acts, Chapter 10, when Peter, a Jewish preacher spreads his message in the home of Cornelius, a Gentile.
Acts 10:45: The Jewish believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poired out even on the Gentiles.
This verse indicates that though we have differences, we are all part of God’s plan, and can actually benefit from those differences to help us piece together what our role is in that plan. Our differences shouldn’t be a source of conflict; they should be a source of open-minded dialog designed to help both sides understand how God works. No one has all the answers…but I’m sure we’ve all benefitted at some point from looking at things from a different perspective.
Who is responsible for Jesus’s death? Well, in a way, all of us are. We are all sinners, according to scripture, and it’s only through his death and resurrection that the believers will have eternal life. If we hadn’t sinned, his death would be unnecessary. No matter who led him to Golgatha, he laid down his life for us. If you’re so desparate to find someone to blame, I suggest that you begin with a visit to your nearest mirror.
Those who were directly involved in his physical death were merely instruments in Christ achieving his great destiny, and thereby, our own salvation. Let’s not point fingers…let’s be happy that we have this incredible gift.