by Roger Thomas

This content is part of a series.

Why the Passion over the Passion? (4 of 7)
Series: The Passions of Christ
Roger Thomas
1 Corinthians 1:18-25

Introduction: Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ has created quite a sensation. Some of it is good. Some of the discussion may leave us wondering what the fuss is all about. Today I want to explore this passion over The Passion.

In the first week of its release The Passion took in over $150 million. Its first day’s take of $23.5 million put it in the top tier of all time movie openings. It joins the ranks of such record setting films as Lord of the Rings and Star Wars.

America’s best-known movie critics, Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper gave it two thumbs up. Roeper called The Passion, ‘‘the most powerful, important and by far the most graphic interpretation of Christ’s final hours ever put on film.’’

Rose and I saw the film this past Tuesday. I can now offer my personal review. This is not your typical religious film. It involved a lot of money and the best of modern film making technology. The two hour six minute film will keep you glued to your seat even after the credits begin to roll. The movie is done in Aramaic and Latin. English subtitles appear below the picture during important dialogue. The languages, once you get used to the process, give the film a ring of authenticity. They draw you into the scenes. This was the purpose. Gibson says he aimed to present the historic Jesus not an American, Japanese or French Jesus.

If you give the film room for a bit of artistic license, I think the movie does a good job. It intentionally focuses on the last dozen hours of Jesus’ life. An occasional flashback adds emotional contrast and context to the road to the cross. Mel Gibson’s traditional Roman Catholic background obviously flavors the film. The movie gives Mary more prominence than what the biblical text does. Some scenes reflect medieval religious art and traditions. Nonetheless, the movie accurately portrays the Bible’s core ...

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