Letter to the Editor

Your view: A good movie

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

I awoke the morning after the Ash Wednesday opening of Mel Gibson's new movie, "The Passion of the Christ," excited to hear more review of the movie and especially anxious to hear comments from family and friends who went to see the film on opening day. The TV news late the night before was predictable. FOX had their usual good group discussion with people from all the different sides and Dan Rather on CBS missed the whole point. Our local KFVS-12 seemed to do a good job of interviewing exciting movie goers and inquiring about their thoughts.

For a week, I watched and listened to all anyone had to say about the movie and the much-disputed subject of the death of Christ of the Bible. On TV, newspaper and radio, the movie has been a hot topic with opposition about everything ranging from being antisemitic, pro-Catholic, racial and, if you can imagine it in this world of today, too violent. I finally got the opportunity to see the movie this Wednesday and, just as all my friends and relatives said, it is a good movie about the death of Jesus Christ.

I've read some about crucifixion over the years and the physical and medical things that occur in the human body when it is subjected to such horror. As terrible a death as crucifixion is, Christ's crucifixion has no comparison. The Bible verse of Isaiah 52:14 describes the then future Christ's physical appearance on the cross before His death but after the hours of beating and scourging and may allow some more meaning to what the movie was trying to portray. In my Scofield Study Bible notes about this verse, it can literally be rendered about Christ's appearance: "so marred from the form of man was his aspect that his appearance was not that of a son of man" (i.e.: not human). The beating and scourging has always been taken too lightly. I've read that often during these beatings, the skin was so ripped that abdominal organs could be seen through exposed ribs and even the heart could be seen beating. People would die from the scourging alone.

God is truth and I've always believed that if Satan could somehow make God a liar about anything, then somehow Satan would win. Of course this isn't going to happen as we have the end of the story already shown to us, but just the same, it does explain to us why Satan hates God's people and His promises to them so badly, and why God's people have been subjected to so much for so long. If Satan could have killed Jesus before the cross, God would have been a liar, and I think Satan did all he could to accomplish Jesus' death before the cross. I believe with all my heart that it wasn't Roman soldiers who were beating Jesus, but more probable, it was the most evil demons Satan had at his disposal, and even Satan himself having entered into those Romans who were trying to kill Jesus and make God a liar. The Bible says Satan entered into Judas to betray Jesus. Then why not into a Roman to kill Jesus? Of course, Jesus did die, just like God said He would, on the cross, despite Satan. This explains why Jesus was so marred to terribly. I really think the movie didn't even come close to just how terrible the man Jesus looked.

I do think Mel Gibson should be commended and did good job on his movie. I read today some commentary by the late Dr. J. Vernon McGee, who you may remember from his "Through the Bible" radio broadcast and his Bible commentary books. Dr. McGee writes concerning the death of Christ in the part of Isaiah 52 mentioned above, "His death will startle people when they properly understand it. The death of Christ should never become commonplace to anyone. His death was different. We have not explained it properly unless it startles people." Perhaps Dr. McGee would be pleased to see "The Passion of the Christ" and all those people, non Christian and Christian alike, leaving the theaters startled; most startled for the very first time.

Let's not forget either that this movie doesn't end with the death of Jesus, but it also showed Him being risen from the dead. Without Jesus' rising, He would still be dead and this is not the case. It could be that God may be pleased that, for the first time in a very long time, some truth is being told at movie theaters - and it is good when God is pleased.

John Bridges,