What is the Passion Movie All About Anyways?

-an article for the February 2004 Deep Cove Crier

You have probably heard of the upcoming movie entitled THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST produced by Mel Gibson. The Passion is scheduled to hit theaters on Feb. 25, 2004. The story is a true to life retelling of the final 12 hours of the life of Jesus Christ. Relevant Magazine notes that the film was shot on the dusty Cinecitta Studio backlot in Rome, Italy, where Gibson built a massive set-replica of ancient Jerusalem, complete with Roman architecture, hundreds of extras and recreations of a Praetorium, a Temple and even Pilate's Palace.  The Passion movie looks more and more to me like one of those biblical epics like ‘The 10 Commandments’ and ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ that will resonate through our culture for many decades.  The growing list of endorsements by world-renowned leaders has been stunning.  Everyone that I have spoken to who has seen the movie preview has been deeply moved by the experience.

Billy Graham, who has been named by Time Magazine as one of the top 100 Heroes of the Century, comments that "The (Passion) film is faithful to the Bible's teaching that we are all responsible for Jesus' death, because we all have sinned.  It is our sins that caused his death, not any particular group."  Billy Graham also stated: " After watching The Passion ..., I feel as if I have actually been there.  I was moved to tears.  I doubt if there has ever been a more graphic and moving presentation of Jesus' death and resurrection."  Dr. James Dobson, founder and Chairman of the Board of Focus on the Family, said that “The Passion of Christ by Mel Gibson is one of the most deeply disturbing and powerful movies I've ever seen, but one that everyone should watch. I recommend it highly."  The late Dr. Bill Bright, President, Campus Crusade for Christ, stated before he died that "Mel Gibson captures with explosive poignancy the final excruciating hours of Jesus' life.  This movie will forever change your view of God Himself, and what He did for us all on that dark day in history as He endured an ignominious trial and hung on the cross."

The Hollywood Jesus website comments that ‘the reason why Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ is such an important film is that it underscores the emotion, pain and passion of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Through the centuries Christian depictions of the Crucifixion of Christ became so decorative that they lost the original passion. Beautiful works of art indeed, but they became nearly bloodless with no evidence of real emotion or pain.’  Most of us have heard about Jesus’ dying on the cross so often that we may be somewhat jaded to its vividness.  The Passion movie is helping to crack through our hardened hearts.

World Pilgrim remarks that ‘The Passion of the Christ is a work of art. As with any piece of art, good or bad, it deserves to be experienced first, before being judged. This film is the fruit of one man's labour to bring to life what is arguably the most enduring story of all time. It is the stigma of our age that we do not handle 'religious-talk' well, but who says you need to be a believer to appreciate a good story? You just settle down and listen with an open mind and a willing heart. and allow for the possibility of a miracle…Blood, sweat, and tears-- it's all there, mingled into a lyrical work of passionate intensity. The Passion deserves to be seen on its own cinematic merits. Without any pretensions to the heroic, this is by far the bravest movie I have seen in a long, long time.’

Matt Drudge of the famous Drudge Report that blew the whistle on Bill Clinton commented: "This may be the last movie Mel Gibson makes. This is the ultimate film. It's magical. Best picture I have seen in quite some time, and even people like Jack Valenti were in the audience in tears at this screening. There was about 30 of us. It depicts a clash between Jesus and those who crucified him, and speaking as a Jew, I thought it was a magical film that showed the perils of life on earth... They haven't seen the darn film and those of us, every single person in there, and I'm not talking about tears, I'm talking total tears. It is something Mel Gibson stood back at the end and took questions for about an hour, and he is -- he told me he's tired of Hollywood. That this is it. He's going to do it. He's going to do it his way, and this film, I tell you, is magic. It's a miracle. It's a miracle... (In an interview on MSNBC, July 23, 2003)

As for me, I am very curious as to how the film will impact me on Feb 25th.  I know one thing for sure, that I am not going to miss it.  Maybe I will see you there.

The Reverend Ed Hird

Rector, St. Simon’s North Vancouver

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