by Roger Thomas

This content is part of a series.

Why Jesus Died (6 of 7)
Series: The Passions of Christ
Roger Thomas
Romans 5:6-11

Introduction: Mel Gibson's blockbuster film, The Passion of the Christ continues to create quite a stir. The movie could become the all time box office hit. Currently, Star Wars and Titanic head the list. But many think that with Easter coming and a possible re-release next Christmas, The Passion could easily surpass even those classics.

The movie has its critics. Some label it anti-Semitic because the film dares to portray the conspiracy of some of the Jewish authorities against Jesus. I addressed that last week.

Other movie critics have blasted the film for it's graphic nature. The movie is graphic! It portrays the final twelve hours of Jesus' life, from his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane to the taking of his body down from the cross. One review observed, "Almost everyone agrees that watching it is an excruciating experience. For many believers, the scenes of Jesus' torments vividly, graphically and relentlessly illustrated, heightens their appreciation of Christ's love for humankind. For others Gibson's hyper-realistic violence is gratuitous, an act of cruelty carried out upon the audience by an agenda-driven, heavy-handed, insensitive director." (Film Forum, 02/26/04)

David Edelstein, for example, (, 2/24/04) referred to The Passion as Mel Gibson's bloody mess. He went on to write, "This is a two-hour-and-six-minute snuff movie--The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre--that thinks it's an act of faith. For Gibson, Jesus is defined not by his teachings in life--by his message of mercy, social justice, and self-abnegation, some of it rooted in the Jewish Torah, much of it defiantly personal--but by the manner of his execution . . . What does this protracted exercise in sadomasochism have to do with Christian faith? I'm asking; I don't know."

I want to answer Mr. Edlestein's question. What does a grotesque death by crucifixion have to do with the C ...

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