Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ


The Passion of the Christ is a movie made by movie star Mel Gibson who is a devout traditionalist Roman Catholic. Against all the bad publicity prior to its opening in its first 2 weeks has grossed over 250 million dollars. The anti passion rhetoric prior to the film had the Christian community react uniting to support it. Christians, Catholics and numerous others went out to support Gibson’s efforts to portray the last 12 hours of Christ’s life, his sufferings. The concept of focusing on the sufferings of Christ will become more understood as we review the movie.


This movie has brought Jesus into the open and people are able to discuss him more easily than before, in this way we can all be thankful. Some people who have never been bold enough to say something have found themselves engaged in conversations. So this certainly is a good thing.


Gibson seems to be a nice guy who has gone through heavy trauma in his life, the type that most people will never see. 13 years ago he returned to his Catholic roots and was converted to his religion. Gibson is honest with his struggles and knows himself and his weaknesses. In response to Sawyer commenting on making this movie he is crazy or an act of genius, which?   He responded by seeing himself in “between Howard Stern and saint Francis of Assisi on the scale of morality, I don’t know.”


Gibson has taken a lot of heat in the making of this film and said it correctly in his interview with Diane Sawyer -- the critics don’t have a problem with him but with the gospel accounts. On the other hand concerning the film, Gibson has stated, “It reflects my beliefs” (  2/17/04) Gibson used the gospel accounts as well as his own interpretation for this movie. On the making of the movie Gibson went on record stating “It’s very violent” “I wanted it to be shocking,  “I wanted it to be extreme… to push the viewer over the edge,” “to see the enormity of that sacrifice, that someone can endure that and still come back with love” In this he has succeeded. Most of the film views inhuman brutality unleashed on Jesus, from his arrest to his being nailed on the cross. Much of this can be found in the gospel accounts but some of it cannot. So one can wonder if it is artistic license or an influence of the books he read.


But before we review the good and wrong of this movie we need to look into some of the statements Gibson has made on his faith. First we need to know what Mel personally believes. There are some concerns from Gibson’s statements that need to be addressed.


Gibson has stated in an interview with the Herald Sun in Australia ”There is no salvation for those outside the Church, I believe it” Also  “There is no salvation for those outside the [Catholic] Church “I believe it.” (Peter Boyer, “The Jesus War,” The New Yorker, Sept.15, 2003).


In the Diane Sawyer interview (Primetime Feb.16, 2004) he said, “ We are all children of God, doesn’t matter what you are”… we are all children of God.”

Focus on the Family interview: Commenting on someone who is against the film (Frank Rich) and Christ Gibson responded to Dobson “he’s a child of God like all of us” (James Dobson Focus on the Family Feb.25, 2004 radio). Again Gibson misunderstands the Scripture; one must be adopted into God’s family to be a child of God, they are not born into it by natural birth (John 1:12; Eph.2).

His view is an older Roman Catholic position “I’m just Roman Catholic the way they were up until the mid sixties” (Diane Sawyer interview). This puts Gibson in the minority of holding to a pre Vatican II reform. This means Gibson believes in sacraments -- works/ salvation etc. The Catholic Church teaches that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was not sufficient nor once for all but must be perpetuated in the mass. But his position also means he holds to the council of Trent that pronounced over 100 anathemas against anyone who would teach that salvation is by Christ’s grace through faith alone and would oppose Catholic doctrine. This should make any evangelical step back and think this through. Unfortunately I see no one correcting Gibson but just accepting him for where he is at, why?

When asked by sawyer who killed Jesus, Gibson responds with the correct answer, “The big answer is, we all did. I'll be the first in the culpability stakes here.” There an argument that says Christians are more culpable in Christ’s death than are non believers. Jesus Christ was crucified for all men of all creeds for all time, he died for us all.”

It’s hard to tell where Gibson is with Christ. He says he is believer but seems confused on some of the basic points that makes one a believer. It certainly can be attributed to the church and teaching he is part of. This brings up concern for him as a person who is misled. I think it’s more important for Evangelicals to straighten Mel out on certain fundamental Bible issues than it is to respect or admire him for his making of the movie. As you read this article you will understand why.

In his interview Sawyer comments on Gibson’s strict views “Does his traditionalist view bar to the door of heaven for Jews, Protestants Muslims? Gibson: “That’s not the case at all, absolutely not -- It is possible for people who are not even Christian to get into the kingdom of heaven.  It’s just easier [for Catholics?] …and I have to say this because that’s what I believe. Sawyer interjects you have a non-stop ticket. Well, I’m, yeah, I’m saying it’s an easier ride where I am, because I have to believe that.”  This does not square with the Bibles gospel and would make Christ's death and resurrection unnecessary. Gibson needs to consider what he is saying because if this were the case what would it mean for the movie that presents this!


Instead of his a narrow view (salvation found only in the Catholic church -pre Vatican 2) he held, he presents an inclusive view (many roads to salvation) and is more like universalism. Whether this is a new position or just confusion is hard to tell. 


In an interview with Dr.David Elcott on the Today show Feb.17, 2004 the day after the Diane Sawyer’s interview aired. Sawyer asks him: “one sentence from you if I can about Mel Gibson, did he say anything that tilted you one way or another?”

David Elcott: “I think it was great he opened up real possibilities of seeing us all as God’s children. About seeing humanity as responsible for the death of Jesus, about the idea that we can all be saved, Jew, Christian, Muslim, Hindu. That’s an American way of speaking about religion, a fabulous thing he could do that, fabulous that you can have that conversation.”

As wonderful as this sounds if this is the message Gibson presents, it is not a biblical one from the gospels.


Gibson says ''I'm not a preacher, and I'm not a pastor,'' the 47-year-old director-actor said. ''But I really feel my career was leading me to make this. The Holy Ghost was working through me on this film.


Hearing that both Gibson and Jim Caviezel took mass everyday to play Jesus and when unable, received the Eucharist and recited the rosary each day.  Caviezel asked Mary to guide him... believing the film was something made by Mary for her Son.  (Interview with Jim and Kerri Caviezel by Catholic priest Mario Knezovic, Radio “Mir” Medjugorje, Dec. 2003; Jim was also given a piece of the true cross which he kept on his person all the time by a special pocket in his clothes. He also had Relics of Padre Pio, and other saints who had stigmata.  

This should not sit well with anyone who knows the Scripture well.


Mel Gibson has also stated “The goal of the movie is to shake modern audiences by brashly juxtaposing the “sacrifice of the cross with the sacrifice of the altar -- which is the same thing,” said Gibson.,1897,SAST_4948_2601442,00.html  

One needs an understanding of Catholic doctrine to recognize what is meant by this quote. For it challenges the Bibles teaching of the once for all finished work of Christ on the cross.

In his interview with Eternal Word Television Network stated the “sacrifice of the cross” and “the sacrifice of the altar” are “the same thing” (EWTNews Feature, Jan. 13, 2004) He presents this in the movie by juxtaposing the crucifix scene with that of the institution of the Lord’s Supper. The fact is the last supper explains what he would do on the cross. The Catholics have it backwards, they believe that what he did on the cross explains the last supper; so they identify the Mass as the same sacrifice as Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. 


Indeed there are various portions of the movie that exhibit what the Scripture says thereby being in line with what the Holy Spirit has had written. What I want us to look at are the additions and changes. Many may be attributed to artistic license, others cannot. It is fine line between upholding the Scripture and changing it and we are warned in Proverbs 30: 6 “ Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.”


The idea of having Aramaic spoken with subtitles was good, the languages used gives a different presentation and biblical tone to the movie.  It was Jesuit priest William Fulco who translated the script for the movie into Aramaic and Latin. Assuming he accurately translated the language, without the use of subtitles none of us could possibly know what is being said.   For example the Jews saying “His blood be upon us and our children”(Mt.27:25) was taken out of the subtitles but the Aramaic is still spoken. Only those who know the language can be sure all is being conveyed on the screen in subtitles.


Gibson’s talent in directing is evident and the cast for the most part does a superb job in their acting the characters. He draws you in like you are right there watching it. However we are not looking to commend them on their abilities as actors much as looking for accuracy on what took place and present what the event was about.

Though evangelicals and other may not recognize it, most Catholics would, the movie follows the Stations of the Cross, Mary is there every step of the way with Jesus suffering as he is suffering.


 The 14 Stations of the Cross in Catholicism are:
The First Station: Jesus Condemned
The Second Station: Jesus carries his cross
The Third Station: Jesus falls
The Fourth Station: Jesus meets his mother
The Fifth Station: Simon helps carry the cross
The Sixth Station: Veronica wipes Jesus' face
The Seventh Station: Jesus falls the second time
Eighth Station: Jesus meets the women
The Ninth Station: Jesus falls the third time
The Tenth Station: Jesus is stripped
The Eleventh Station: Jesus is nailed to the cross
The Twelfth Station: Jesus dies
The Thirteenth Station: Jesus is taken down from the cross
The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is buried
 Christ rises (not included as a station)


It is not my intention to look at every detail of the movie. I want to point these stations throughout the movie and concentrate on the areas that were significant with the additions and subtractions. (I hope I remembered correctly what took place in the movie.)


The Movie begins with the scripture Isa.53 on the screen.

Jesus is in the Garden praying, as he begins to sweat blood and is crying out to the Father at one point he says to the disciples “I don’t want them to see me like this” And tells them to pray.

Jesus prays to God “rise up and defend me,” something that was not written in Scripture.


Satan then appears as he is praying and is bringing doubt about his paying for our sins; taunting Jesus he says one man cannot carry this load.

Jesus prays, “let this chalice pass from me.” A Snake appears from Satan’s legs Jesus then gets up from prayer and as the serpent nears his feet he steps on it crushing is head.(this is artistic license).

And the devil (who is woman actor) appears to be depicted as feminine or androgynous. It never shows him coming as angel of light but certainly as one who weaves himself in and out watching and waiting to influence.

When Judas comes with the arrest it is with a small band of men from the Sanhedrin to identify him. (the multitude of Roman soldiers are missing, why?).  Judas tries to escape which is not in Scripture.

Peter cuts the ear off as mayhem takes place and the disciples flee.

 Jesus says I am to the arresting group but what is missing is He does not say it again where Scripture states men fall back. This was a perfect opportunity to demonstrate who He is, (I Am) but it was ignored. Nowhere else does it present this in the movie.

He then heals the man’s ear that Peter cut off and he becomes responsive to Jesus. 


At this point Mary is seen sensing the capture of her son. From the trial on she is seen near him all the way to the cross. Something the Bible does not say. Her emphasis changes the Biblical account


After his arrest they beat him on the way to his trial. One of Jesus’ eyes becomes swollen shut. On the way to the Sanhedrin led in chains we see another artistic license taken that is not found in Scripture. Jesus falls over the bridge and hanging on the chain by his feet (?) he meets Judas eye to eye below as Judas seems to mourn what he did. Again this is not found in the Scripture and could not even take place.

Jesus is beaten again before he gets to the high priest.

The only time the Bible mentions Jesus’ appearance is by the prophet Isaiah: “he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2).   Jesus Christ was a Jewish man who looked like anyone else, ordinary. Making a movie to visually present Jesus as   handsome seems to contradict this. From this point on Jesus loses his good looks as he is beaten repeatedly.


At the trial Mary is in the crowd with Peter. Mary notices Peter outside.

Jesus is punched out in front of the Sanhedrin (the Bible says they struck him with their palms). A Pharisee then comes to his defense at the trial.


It is here where we have a description in the Bible. Isa 50:6 “I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.”


They beat him throughout the trial and then spit on him. After Peter is recognized and denies him thrice Peter sees Mary and falls down before Mary as all this is happening. Saying I have denied him mother. (Over and over we find the disciples calling Mary mother which is never found in Scripture. Mary is always referred to as Mother even by those not in her family. That is Roman Catholic teaching.


Then we see Judas tries to give the money back to the Sanhedrin. Judas goes out into the streets of Jerusalem and mourns. As he is sitting there, two children come to ask him if he is okay. He tells them to go away. They start mocking him, and their faces turn demonic and say Judas is cursed. (Again artistic license?) They start tormenting him. One of them bites the flesh off of Judas' hand.


 Mary comes into the place of torture after Jesus is gone and prostrates putting her head down with her ear to the ground where he was beaten and Jesus is supposedly underneath in chains and senses her being near looks up to her through to the floor. This did not happen in the Scripture and is the beginning of giving Mother Mary a prominent role.


We see Judas is imagining being chased by demonic children. Tormented by their mockings, he finally is found near rotting stinkin corpse of a horse, where he hangs himself (artistic license).


 We see Pilate’s wife after waking from sleep tells him because of her dream “don’t condemn him, he’s holy.” This is important because this dream is not from God but Stan who does not want Jesus to die, giving insight into Satan’s knowledge of the Scripture.

Finally when Jesus is brought before Pilate he says to the Jews accusing him, isn’t this the prophet you welcomed 5 days ago. They respond in accusation that he forbids his followers to pay tribute to Caesar.

Pilate offers Jesus a drink as he is questioning him. Pilate is trying to get out of condemning him (The Scriptures viewpoint is that he is part this process whose wheels are rolling from God’s sovereign plan in eternity).

Pilate’s wife is looking out from a window and sees Mary in the crowd. Mary is following Jesus through his whole ordeal. Pilate then sends Jesus off to Herod.


He then finds nothing with him and Pilate faces the crowd. He then has him beaten with flexible sticks and then the cat of 9 tails.


Mary is watching them flog and beat him and is suffering along  with him.

At one point Jesus looks at Mary. As they continue to beat him we see Mary disturbed walking, crying, she consoles Mary Magdalen that is with her.

 Pilates wife is sympathetic toward Mary then comes out and gives them towels (we will soon see what they are used for). Another artistic license is when Satan suddenly appears in the crowd with a grown up baby in his arms as if mocking his mother son relationship. As Jesus is being flogged he looks to Satan who is moving among the Roman soldiers holding a pale demonic type baby that laughs at Jesus. Whatever this means it certainly is not found in the Scripture.

After they stop the scourging and take Jesus away Mary comes and mops the floor of his blood with the towels.

This continually shows Mary as the compassionate one suffering alongside her son. The subtle message is Father, Son and Mother.


The First Station: Jesus Condemned
He is then brought before Pilate again after seeing Herod and they cry for him to be crucified. Pilate seems   shocked by the appearance of Jesus. Pilate asks isn’t this beating enough?

He turns to Jesus and Jesus says he who has delivered me to you has the greater sin. Pilate then washes his hands.

Barrabas is released Jesus looks him in the eye and he turns away (no one can look Jesus in the eye  for long)


Jesus says as he is taken away “I am your servant, the son of your handmaiden.” Another promotion of Mary that is not found in the Bible.


The Second Station: Jesus carries his cross
He is given the whole cross to carry (not just the crossbeam) this seems to be next to impossible for even an unbeaten man to carry the length up the mountain.

Mary is following Jesus along in the crowd. She asks John to get her near him.


The Third Station: Jesus falls

Jesus falls and they are still beating him. John says this way mother to get her closer.

He then calls Mary mother again. He then calls her mother once again (BTW: this is all before Jesus on the cross says behold your mother)

 Jesus goes bit further and falls.

The scene flashes suddenly back to her seeing Jesus as child and falling and her coming to his rescue. She runs to him in the scene as he falls with the cross. Saying I’m here (like she was all through his life).


The Fourth Station:Jesus meets his mother
 Jesus looking at Mary says see mother I make all things new. Something that did not happen in Scripture.

 One Roman guard asks who is that, the other answers it is the Galileans mother.


The Fifth Station: Simon helps carry the cross
They pick out the Cyrenian and he says I do not want to carry his cross, that he is an innocent man and argues. (This arguing is not found in the bible) They continue to whip Jesus.


The Sixth Station: Veronica wipes Jesus' face
A young girl brings water and a towel, the water is spilled, but Jesus wipes his bloody face with the towel and she then takes the towel to her face.

They continue to beat him.

The man carrying the cross with him comes to his defense to let him be.


The Seventh Station: Jesus falls the second time
He falls again.

Mary comes near and Jesus looks at her, she appears to be suffering and he continually looks at her as if to regain his strength to go on.


The beatings are way over the top. More is concentrated on his suffering to the cross than the true meaning of suffering on the cross. He drags the cross with Simons help enduring whippings and beatings.   He falls over and over; gets up, falls, gets up, falls. Nothing is mentioned of this in the Bible, again artistic license.


Eighth Station: Jesus meets the women
Jesus goes past the other group of women weeping for him and says nothing to them. (The Bible makes a  strong point in what is spoken, as it is the last prophecy before he dies (Lk.23:28-31).


The Ninth Station: Jesus falls the third time
He falls they whip him some more.


The Tenth Station: Jesus is stripped

At the cross they rip his garment apart. They kick him and abuse him.

 He flashes back to the last supper and they are serving pita bread (not unleaven bread as required in the Passover).

The Eleventh Station: Jesus is nailed to the cross

... more abuse as he’s nailed to the cross. They pound a nail into his left hand and Mary suffers as it is nailed. Then for his right hand Jesus is holding back and they yank his arm and you can hear a crack (as if a bone is broke, which the Bible says no bone was broke), as they nail his right hand and Mary suffers. It flashes back to Jesus taking the wine saying this is my blood.


What is significant is the nails are through his palms, not his wrists which most believe is more accurate.


The Roman soldiers flip the cross over and Jesus lands face first inches to the ground. After the cross is lifted the movie races quickly through to his death. Matthew 27:26-35 has a detailed yet less descriptive account than the movies additions.
 And for the 2nd time father forgive them they know not what they do is said. The Bible records he only said this once.


The movie has only Mary Magdalen and Jesus’ mother Mary. It is missing Mary the mother James and Joses and the mother of Zebedees sons (Mt.27:56).

Jesus flashbacks to The Sermon on the Mount, the Last Supper and better times with his brethren and mother.  

Jesus has a conversation with the thief who believed and gives him the promise of paradise. Then the other thief mocks. A raven lands on his cross and plucks his eyes and blood gushes out. This again is artistic license to make a point of rejecting him.

In Scripture the woman come close to the cross, what is missing is his mothers sister and Mary the wife of Cleopas (Jn.19:25) being there.


As the movie moves quickly to its conclusion, the third hour takes place. Darkness comes over the land, He says I thirst. Mary comes forward near the cross with John.   Then Mary says flesh of my flesh, heart of my heart… She then comes to the cross kisses his bloodied feet and says, “Son let me die with you.” This certainly is not found in the Bible. Then Jesus says to Mary mother behold your son, John behold your mother.


If you can’t connect the importance of this you have missed the promotion of Mary in the movie. The implication is she becomes John’s mother and all of ours.

No Jewish person would touch the blood least of all his mother much less have the blood run down their mouth.


Then Jesus says all close together  “my God, my God why have you forsaken me” and then “it is accomplished” “Into your hands I commit my spirit.”

 These last three statements were spread out over hours not a minute. Jesus says: “It is accomplished” not “It is finished.” A subtle change that have a different meaning in Catholicism because the sacrifice continues.


The Twelfth Station: Jesus dies

 An earthquake occurs on the mount the temple is cracked in half. The bible does not say this but instead the veil ripped, which I did not see take place; however the movie it shows the opening to the most holy place.


 The spear goes in the side and blood and water gush out continuously onto Mary John and one of the believing soldiers (who does not say he is the son of God but certainly seems to have a change of mind)

What is missing. Matt 27:51-55 “Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,   and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;   and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.  So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”


Satan is then seen crying out incarcerated alone in a pit.


The Thirteenth Station: Jesus is taken down from the cross
Jesus is taken down from the cross and draped into Mary’s arms. It now centers on Mary at the foot of the cross. What is missing? The bible explains the women looked from afar off (Mk.15:40; Mt.27:55)  that Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body and he took it down and wrapped it linen and took it to his own tomb and the women followed after (Luke 23:52-55; Mark 15:43-45; Mt.27:58-59; Jn.19:38).


Clearly this is uplifting Mary much more than the Bible ever does.

The Bible focuses more on Christ’s resurrection than His sufferings, especially before the cross.


The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is buried

Christ rises (not included as a station)

The most creative part of the movie was the resurrection scene, which lasts only 12 seconds. We see the stone being rolled away and the cloth that was once wrapped around the body of Jesus sinking down and he appears outside it smiling. It then focuses on the nail scar in his hand. Yet it did not present the real victory of the resurrection, which is the proof of who he actually is, God in the flesh. And we are left with seeing Jesus standing up from the side naked. Not a good last visual image of so great a victory. In the Bible the gospel accounts record his appearing to his disciples clothed.


 There are number of things we can mostly overlook and a number of things that should not be ignored. Gibson’s movie is indeed from a Catholic slant; there is great acting within the framework of the gospels by some, though John’s character is flat and seems oblivious to what is taking place. The main concern is that it contains some very questionable content. Adding some scenes would have clarified the movies story. If there were scenes of Jesus in his ministry showing him doing good and healing people and the group of Pharisees being threatened from this it would have helped explain their rejection. In the movie there is no distinction between the Jews who accepted Jesus and were following him and the corrupted religious leaders (not all). This I attribute to the counsel Gibson got from those as he was putting the movie together.


One of the concerns I have is that those who see the movie and want to follow Christ begin to read the Bible and find things in the movie that are not mentioned in Scripture, will their trust be broken? There is a loss of credibility when so many things are changed and added even with artistic creativity and passionate acting.

We should not lose sight that Jesus Christ and the word is the Truth and not any movie made about him.


Many have pointed out that the movie was inspired by a book on the visions of a Roman Catholic nun Anne Catherine Emmerich and Mary of Agreda. Gibson read the writings of these mystics. On Emmerich, Gibson said, “She supplied me with stuff I never would have thought of” (The New Yorker, Sept. 15, 2003). Emmerich (1774-1824) was a German nun who allegedly had the stigmata from her sick bed and was mystically transported across time and space to eye-witness the biblical account, thus adding details to the story that are not found in the four Gospels. She allegedly ate no food except the wafer of the Catholic mass the last 12 years of her life. In her book she exalts Mary Magdalene above the apostles and it has her follow the 12 stations of the cross.  We can expect a growth in popularity of these types of books because of the movie.


Gibson’s Comment to Sawyer on Anne Emmerich “In my film I didn’t do a book on Anne Catherine Emmerich’s passion I did a book according to the gospels.” I have not read the book to comment on this but   statements and scenes that are not found in the Bible could possibly be proven to have an influence from her book.


For example: Father David M. O'Connell stated on The Passion of the Christ “I did some reading about her and Gibson obviously relies on her for many of his “details” (Father David M. O'Connell President, The Catholic University of America February 25, 2004).


The scourging and beating in his movie is unrelenting going far beyond the biblical account. As far as I can tell the Bible does indeed describe Jesus as a bloody mess. But it is not from being punched out and kicked every step along the way. These two scriptures describe him -- on the cross.


Isa. 52:13-15 “Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.

Just as many were astonished at you, so His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men; So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; for what had not been told them they shall see, and what they had not heard they shall consider.”


This coincides with Psalm 22, which is accepted by many as a Psalm of the cross. Ps.22:6-8 “But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All those who see Me ridicule Me; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,” He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him; let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!”

Jesus describes himself as a worm. This was a tola worm where the Jews squeezed crimson red dye from for coloring their garments. The idea conveyed is that he was bloodied in appearance.

Salvation did not come through Christ’s beating but by the sins laid upon him on the cross. Christ cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” God laid the sins of the world upon Christ. That is what has made our salvation possible. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21).


Scripture does not go into detail of the abuse leading up unto the cross. Scripture does not draw us to Christ through human sufferings but by the cross and what it meant.  It is focused on the purpose and His accomplishment on the cross. The real intent is spiritual, although his body was sacrificed. This is unable to be portrayed in the movie. The least amount of time is spent on the crucifixion in the movie but is shown in great detail in Scripture with the seven statements Jesus made.  The Bible concentrates on the last 6 hours of His death on the cross more than the beatings as portrayed in the movie.


What this film should do for every Christian is think more about the spiritual implication of Christ's crucifixion, not just His physical suffering, His being made “sin for us” suffering the punishment of sin in our place--His once for all propitiation of God's wrath (1 John 4:10) became separated for three hours in his fellowship because of sin. A Sinner is not saved by only knowing how Jesus suffered and died, but by believing the reason for his dying.


No one can sit through this movie and not be filled with a range of emotions; you would have to be dead not to feel anything. The movie plays on your emotions and even solicits a sympathetic response to Mary, as she too suffers by seeing her son go through the maze of tortures. Certainly some of this may have occurred and be true but the Bible is silent on it. The Passion of the Christ is a compelling movie experience that can emotionally stir people to tears.  Can a non-Christian find the meaning of Christ’s suffering by watching the movie?  With all the passionate acting it fails to present the atonement, it is not connected to meaning of Christ’s death. There is no presentation why we need a savior. We are drawn immediately into the pain and suffering of Jesus that does not end until death and there is no connection to why. So it appears this movie was made more for Christians who already know the story. The motive may be evangelistic, but the meaning of the movie is really dependent upon others to present the gospel to those who see it, to teach others what the crucifixion actually means. 


Certainly God can use anything for his purposes, yes. However it would be more beneficial that those who are stable in their walk be the ones who speak, not those who are not.   Evangelicals should be concerned by a movie that has Christ speak things He never spoke, and present events that never took place. I would expect those who do not know the gospel well to be enthusiastic promoters of this movie, but I cannot understand those who do know the gospel doing this. I guess they must feel this is all we got to work with to reach out to the public. Which makes this sad, very sad indeed.

I think in one way this movie has brought Jesus into the public eye, for that we can be thankful. It opens up doors that are often closed in conversation. Jesus is now being discussed (though attached to the movie). It will be up to us to explain accurately the why and the what for’s to those who may ask.