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The Passion of Christ -- A Review

This is a review on the new Film the Passion of Christ hitting theaters Ash- Wednesday this week. It was written by a man who saw a pre-screening of it, and even to use the word "POWERFUL" is too little for it. Go see this movie!!


From CBS News
By Dallas TX Jody Dean (News Anchor).

All...
There've been a ton of emails and forwards floating around recently from
those who've had the privilege of seeing Mel Gibson's "The Passion Of
The Christ" prior to its actual release. I thought I'd give you my
reaction after seeing it last night.

The screening was on the first night of "Elevate!", a weekend-long
seminar for young people at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano. There
were about 3,000 people there, and the movie was shown after several
speakers had taken the podium. It started around 9 and finished around
11...so I reckon the film is about two hours in length.

Frankly, I lost complete track of time - so I can't be sure. I want you
to know that I started in broadcasting when I was 13-years-old. I've
been in the business of writing, performing, production, and
broadcasting for a long time. I've been a part of movies, radio,
television, stage and other productions - so I know how things are done.
I know about soundtracks and special effects and make-up and
screenplays. I think I've seen just about every kind of movie or TV
show ever made - from extremely inspirational to extremely gory. I read
a lot, too - and have covered stories and scenes that still make me
wince. I also have a vivid imagination, and have the ability to picture
things as they must have happened - or to anticipate things as they will
be portrayed. I've also seen an enormous amount of footage from
Gibson's film, so I thought I knew what was coming. But there is nothing
in my existence - nothing I could have read, seen, heard, thought, or
known - that could have prepared me for what I saw on screen last night.

This is not a movie that anyone will "like". I don't think it's a movie
anyone will "love". It certainly doesn't "entertain". There isn't even
the sense that one has just watched a movie. What it is, is an
experience - on a level of primary emotion that is scarcely
comprehensible. Every shred of human preconception or predisposition is
utterly stripped away. No one will eat popcorn during this film. Some
may not eat for days after they've seen it. Quite honestly, I wanted to
vomit. It hits that hard.

I can see why some people are worried about how the film portrays the
Jews. They should be worried. No, it's not anti-Semitic. What it is,
is entirely shattering. There are no "winners". No one comes off
looking "good" - except Jesus. Even His own mother hesitates. As
depicted, the Jewish leaders of Jesus' day merely do what any of us
would have done - and still do. They protected their perceived "place"
- their sense of safety and security, and the satisfaction of their own
"rightness". But everyone falters. Caiphus judges. Peter denies.
Judas betrays. Simon the Cyrene balks. Mark runs away. Pilate
equivocates. The crowd mocks. The soldiers laugh. Longinus still
stabs with his pilus. The centurion still carries out his orders! And
as Jesus fixes them all with a glance, they still turn away. The Jews,
the Romans, Jesus' friends - they all fall. Everyone, except the
Principal Figure. Heaven sheds a single, mighty tear - and as blood and
water spew from His side, the complacency of all creation is eternally
shattered.

The film grabs you in the first five seconds, and never lets go. The
brutality, humiliation, and gore is almost inconceivable - and still
probably doesn't go far enough. The scourging alone seems to never end,
and you cringe at the sound and splatter of every blow - no matter how
steely your nerves. Even those who have known combat or prison will
have trouble, no matter their experience - because this Man was not
conscripted. He went willingly, laying down His entirety for all. It
is one thing for a soldier to die for his countrymen. It's something
else entirely to think of even a common man dying for those who hate and
wish to kill him. But this is no common man. This is the King of the
Universe. The idea that anyone could or would have gone through such
punishment is unthinkable - but this Man was completely innocent,
completely holy - and paying the price for others. He screams as He is
laid upon the cross, "Father, they don't know. They don't know..."

What Gibson has done is to use all of his considerable skill to portray
the most dramatic moment of the most dramatic events since the dawn of
time. There is no escape. It's a punch to the gut that puts you on the
canvas, and you don't get up. You are simply confronted by the horror
of what was done - what had to be done - and why. Throughout the entire
film, I found myself apologizing.

What you've heard about how audiences have reacted is true. There was
no sound after the film's conclusion. No noise at all. No one got up.
No one moved. The only sound one could hear was sobbing. In all my
years of public life, I have never heard anything like that.

I told many of you that Gibson had reportedly re-shot the ending to
include more "hope" through the Resurrection? That's not true. The
Resurrection scene is perhaps the shortest in the entire movie - and yet
it packs a punch that can't be quantified. It is perfect. There is no
way to negotiate the meaning out of it. It simply asks, "Now, what will
you do?"

I'll leave the details to you, in the hope that you will see the film -
but one thing above all stands out, and I have to tell you about it. It
comes from the end of Jesus' temptations in the wilderness
- where the Bible says Satan left him "until a more opportune time". I
imagine Satan never quit tempting Christ, but this film captures beyond
words the most opportune time. At every step of the way, Satan is there
at Jesus' side - imploring Him to quit, reasoning with Him to give up,
and seducing Him to surrender. For the first time, one gets a
heart-stopping idea of the sense of madness that must have enveloped
Jesus - a sense of the evil that was at His very elbow. The physical
punishment is relentless - but it's the sense of psychological torture
that is most overwhelming. He should have quit. He should have opened
His mouth. He should have called 10,000 angels. No one would have
blamed Him. What we deserve is obvious. But He couldn't do that. He
wouldn't do that. He didn't do that. He doesn't do that. It was not
and is not His character. He was obedient, all the way to the cross -
and you feel the real meaning of that phrase in a place the human heart
usually doesn't dare to go. You understand that we are called to that
same level of obedience. With Jesus' humanity so irresistibly on
display, you understand that we have no excuse. There is no place to
hide.
The truth is this: Is it just a "movie"? In a way, yes. But it goes far beyond
that, in a fashion I've never felt - in any forum. We may think we
"know". We know nothing. We've gone 2,000 years - used to the idea of
a pleasant story, and a sanitized Christ. We expect the ending, because
we've heard it so many times. God forgive us. This film tears that all
away. It's is as close as any of us will ever get to knowing, until we
fully know. Paul understood. "Be urgent, in and out of season." Luke
wrote that Jesus reveals Himself in the breaking of the bread. Exactly.
"The Passion Of The Christ" shows that Bread being broken.

Go see this movie.
His and His alone.


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