It’s Holy Week – time for Christians all over the world to consider their faith and celebrate the days leading up to Easter. One of my favorite things to do during this week is watch Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.
So, it’s been five years since Mel directed and produced this movie . I freely admit that Mel has been a disappointment in many ways. I still can’t figure out what that drunken tirade in 2006 was all about. However, I think it’s time to forgive him and move on. At least hear me out…
One reason that I heard why people didn’t want to see this movie was because of the violence. Admittedly, the scene where Jesus is beaten by the Roman soldiers is brutal – gut wrenchingly so.
Historically speaking, I think that it’s pretty accurate that Jesus was indeed brutally beaten. There were no humanitarian watchdog groups making sure that corporal punishment was abolished – beatings were meant to cause severe agony. Feeding Christians to lions while an arena full of people looked on might give someone a pretty good idea of how violence was tolerated.
Do I think that it’s okay that Mel Gibson decided to show the life being beat out of Jesus? Well, let’s just say that I own this movie and I have the ability to fast forward through those parts. Once in the theater was enough. Do I think it’s accurate? My guess is probably yes. I would never let a young child see this movie.
The other issue that kept people from seeing the movie were the allegations that it was anti-Semitic. I am, admittedly, flummoxed by this. I am not a Bible scholar nor do I claim to have a better understanding of the Bible than many people, but I have read the story of the crucifixion and I think Mel Gibson portrayed it accurately.
The Jewish people did indeed call to Pontius Pilate for the release of Barabbas, not Jesus. The crowd wanted Jesus crucified. That being said, I have never considered Jewish people to be “Jesus killers” – it never even crosses my mind.
I don’t think that this movie was made to upset Jewish people. Rather, it was made to portray the story of Jesus’ death. If a viewer can feel hatred toward a group of people after watching Jesus forgive while being spat on, beaten and crucified, then they really didn’t “get it” at all.
If the above doesn’t entice you to see this movie, just see it for the sets and costumes. They are truly beautiful. The amphitheater where Pilate made his ruling condemning Jesus to death looked so real that I wondered how they did it. I really felt like I was there.
Someday, when my family doesn’t need me on a daily basis, I will travel to Israel at Easter and experience the story of Jesus’s life and death for myself. Until that time, I watch “The Passion of the Christ”. Go ahead – forgive Mel and watch his movie. That’s what Christianity is all about.