Debate Over Gibson's Depiction Of Christ's Passion Misses The Point
edited: Friday, February 06, 2004
By Eddie Thompson
Posted: Friday, February 06, 2004
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(Who is ultimately responsible for the crucifixion of Christ? The author joins the debate.)
The debate over the yet to be released Mel Gibson movie depicting the passion of Christ is foolish, despite its entertainment value. After previewing the film, many Jewish leaders are complaining that Gibson’s depiction of the crucifixion of Christ is anti-Semitic. Jews are shouldered with the guilt of His death, and the anti-Jewish bias will create a backlash against the Jewish community, according to these Jewish leaders. After centuries—even millennia—of such backlash, one can understand the nervousness Jewish leaders exude over the film, but to call the film historically inaccurate or anti-Semitic serves no purpose.
Jesus was a Jew. He lived His entire life among Jews. Although He spent some of His childhood in Egypt, He never traveled to Greece or to Rome as many of His disciples would. Geographically, Jesus spent His entire ministry in a very tiny part of the world, hardly ever straying from the borders of Israel. To complain about a historical depiction of Christ’s death is futile. The cry of an anti-Semitic bias rings as hollow as would a Southern politician’s complaint that a historically accurate film depicting slavery is anti-American. An apologist defending the Jewish leadership of Christ’s day sounds as self-serving as would a contemporary priest defending the Crusades or the Inquisition.
When all else fails, perhaps a reading of the text is in order. The Bible clearly indicates that the Jewish leaders of the day plotted to kill Jesus. The temple guards arrested Him in the garden, dragged Him before the Sanhedrin, the counsel of Jewish religious leaders, which condemned Him to death. With no authority to put someone to death in the Roman occupied Israel, the Jewish leaders appealed to the Romans for Christ’s execution. The Romans found Jesus innocent of all wrongdoing, yet bowed to the pressure of the Sanhedrin and executed Christ by the most atrocious means conceivable: crucifixion.
Who is responsible for Christ’s death? Whose shoulders bear the guilt of such a dark deed? The Jews who demanded the death of a righteous man? The Romans who carried out the execution despite the fact they considered Him innocent? The finger-pointing misses the whole point of Christ. All are guilty of His death, but none are responsible for it. Jesus claimed that no man could take His life. That He laid it down of His own accord. Jesus was born to die. He came to this earth to be the sacrifice for the sins of an entire world, not just the sins of a handful of Jewish leaders or Roman soldiers. Ultimately, the one most responsible for the death of Christ was Christ Himself.
Those who ignorantly blame the Jews for the crucifixion of Christ lack insight into the Kingdom His death fostered. Those who defend the actions of the Jewish or Roman leadership miss the entire point of Christ as revealed in the first chapter of the Gospel of John. He came unto His own, and His own knew Him not…rejected Him. Yet precisely because of that rejection, an entire world found hope. Let Mel Gibson depict the awful facts of that day in a historically accurate form. Let the world celebrate the redemption that day won for us all.
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|Reviewed by m j hollingshead
|Reviewed by Leslie AKA Kraftie (Reader)
|Pastor Eddie....thank you for writing a response to the film, The Passion. Your analysis cuts thru to the heart of the matter. You have challenged me and given me, what I believe to be, a special insight, which I have already shared with others. The benefit of your article for me is that it makes every bit of my salvation story Christ-centered...thanks to you I understand that in a fresh way. Thank you...As Always Leslie aka Kraftie|
|Reviewed by Mask 316 (Reader)
|Eddie I have read this and re-read it. It is clear to me the "debates" are only because otherwise what can you say? It is not true despite historical proof?
As our brothers and sisters in China make our Christmas lights in "re-education" camps who will deal with it in the powerful media world? sadly not one in the news or political/religious orgs I contact will make a statement.
Active slave trades in Sudan do not turn heads as people buy tickets to see Friday the 13th 400, N Korea pouring boiling water down Christians throats does not make the news, and the killing of 600 plus because they would not convert to Isalm was not enough to throw a stone into the river that runs bloody.
Jesus upon the Cross for them only serves to remind them of there hardened hearts, there passion for nothing, the apathetic posion they serve day after day and the lie of there own appearance.
They must, have too, are driven too, in order to survive in there own reflection find a way to make this movie into a hateful one, not about love, pure, clean, perfect, glowing, but about hate. Because true reflection they can not look upon and this breaks my heart
I love you my friend/twin/brother the best way I know how
God's peace to you
|Reviewed by S. Beres
|It is such a pleasure to read something written by a man of reason. Yes, Jesus was born to die for us and if this movie's depection of that death opens even one eye, then Praise God, it has done its work.
As have you, Mr. Thompson.
I remember a few years ago when the Jewish community was up in arms about 'revisionist history' and certain people claiming the Holocaust never happened. If the shoe fits?
As you so reasonably pointed out, no one 'killed' Christ, it was a pre-ordained sacrifice in God's Plan of Redemption. It was for Love.
|Reviewed by Tom Hyland
BRAVO! Well Done! You have profoundly explained a 2,000-year-old debate, and done so in a calm, logical, sensible manner. I applaud you!
Although I have yet to see Mel's depiction, I eagerly look forward to it. As I read your contribution above I immediately remembered another film about Christ, which was the center of great controversy also. It was many years ago, and many people today have never seen it, or even heard of it! - "The Last Temptation."
Ironically, the "shoe was on the other foot" on this one. The Catholic Church Hierarchy made a "BIG STINK" over it, labelling it as 'Blasphemous.' As a lifelong Catholic, I could not wait to SEE it!
WHY? Because I believe that God did, in fact, grant each of us 'Free Will' - He did not create us to BE and ACT as SHEEP, and follow the 'Church' blindly!
I thought that it was one of the most BEAUTIFUL "What If" scenarios that anyone could have presented. And I thought that the manner in which it presented The Christ-MAN considering His possible alternative life CHOICE was done with impeccably good taste!
For those who have never seen this GREAT movie about the life and DEATH of Christ, I will NOT DIVULGE what happens in this movie. Just consider this: as a GOD-man HE had free will also - WHAT IF HE HAD CHOSEN NOT TO DIE? WHAT IF HE LIVED? Married? Had children?
Another coincidence, Ed, just two nights ago, I watched a PBS Special on Maryland Public Television which presented a documentary-type HISTORICAL portrayal of the Passion and Death of Christ. Current "experts" from both sides, Pro and Con, VOMITED forth their "pearls of wisdom" based on so-called FACT. The show was excellent, and well done, and parts were filmed on location in The Holy Land. YET - NONE of them presented such a strong case as YOU DID, ED !!!
Via con Dios, me Amigo! Tom.
|Reviewed by Ch'erie de Perrot
|Very reverent and heartfelt write, and You my friend have not missed the point, so glad to see this, as many do it appears.
Yes he had the choice, he could of called a legion of Angels and they wouldve freed him immediately, but he chose to go on and save this mortal, ungrateful humanity, because he loved us so.
Ty very much
|Reviewed by William Neven
|Very well put, Minister Thompson, for Jesus was tortured and then executed by HUMAN BEINGS which more than underlined one of Christ's major points as we all know - that we are all supposed to love another. By again giving into an organized block and censoring the scenes, I agree with you that Mel Gibson has done us all a disservice as Americans. After all, we are not a nation that was founded on only being exposed to parts of what small, organized groups of others wished us to either see, hear or know. [Besides, though I am a Christian, for years some of my best friends were Jewish.] Subsequently, I consider it to be no less than an insult to lump them together with those who formed a veritable mob some 2,000 years ago. [Note your own Southern politician example.] Again, good article, one which few could have more ably composed.|