Passion of Christ Comments
My wife and I finally went to see the movie “The Passion of the Christ” this evening – so I can now make some first hand comments on the film.
I have heard discussions around this film for almost a year now. Mel Gibson was attacked on this by the intelligencia of the world from the moment word got out that he was going to do it. Whenever I hear such attacks I immediately suspect that there is something positive behind that which is being attacked. This is especially true when the issue being attacked has anything to do with Christ, enlightenment, freedom or something that has the purpose of making our lives better.
DK states this important principle: “Perfection brings imperfection to the surface.” If you want to discover who it is in the world that are the true enemies of light just create a good work that will help the masses in some way. Each time such a good work is put forth the workers in the shadows will come forward and attack it without cause.
This is a different thing than just criticizing a movie or some other work. I am not talking about a mere sincere critique or disagreement, but an outright attack with intent to destroy.
As soon as Mel told of his plan to make this movie enemies came out of the woodwork and investigated his life, his family, his finances and his friends looking for dirt. The worst thing they could find at the time was some strange beliefs held by his father concerning the Jews. Because of his father they tried to label Gibson as an anti Semite from the beginning in the hope of destroying the film before it was even made.
When I saw this controversy I knew that the movie’s overall effect was going to be good, but it wasn’t until I saw it that I was able to put together the whole picture.
But, one may question, doesn’t the movie deal with the Piscean age principle of sacrifice with an appeal to those stuck in the past? Wouldn’t a truly enlightened movie deal with Aquarian principles?
The answer is that an inspired work will reveal truth whether it is Piscean or Aquarian, whether it deals with the past or the future.
The main principle humanity needed to learn from the Piscean age was indeed that of sacrifice. As we are currently moving away from Pisces into Aquarius humanity as a whole needs to take the true elements of the principle of sacrifice with them.
The Passion movie presents to the world the sacrifice of Jesus in a way that the average person can relate to. Even though elements of higher sacrifice may be omitted we must realize that any work of inspiration intended for the world at large must reach down to the heart of average humanity. This is what the Gibson movie has done. It took the physical sacrifice of Jesus and placed it brutally before the public in a way that reminds us of the total commitment that we also must have in times of great difficulty.
But – there is also an Aquarian message in this movie.
And what is that?
We must remember that the Christ is the messenger of salvation for not only the Piscean Age but the Aquarian. The day of the Second Coming will soon be upon us. What better way to stimulate the hearts of humanity in preparation for this great event than a potent reminder of the failure of humanity to understand and appreciate his presence in the first appearance?
I thought that one of the most potent moments of the film was when the High Priest commanded Jesus to tell them whether or not he be the Christ. In the Bible he basically says “You say I am,” but in the movie he says outright “I Am.” Then he follows the Bible script and says: “I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” Matt 26:64
To the ears of the authorities this was a blatant admission that he was the Messiah.
The movie then closely follows the scripture that follows: “Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.
“What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands…” Matt 26:65-67
The movie then portrays something not given in the scriptures. After he gives what he sees as a simple statement of truth and the crowd totally rejects him and calls for his death we see a tear gently falling from the one eye of Jesus that is yet open.
That tear at that moment was a point of genius on the part of Gibson for it had to have produced a great effect for any seeker of truth. It made me feel what it must have been like to have been in his shoes, following the path of harmlessness, sincerely teaching the truth, yet being rejected and so severely attacked by those whom he came to serve.
Every teacher of truth must go through this moment of great emotion when he must face those who hate and despise him for merely turning on the light. When he who is pure in heart is rejected and spit upon by those whom he serves the heart within is stirred to mighty emotion indeed.
All the teachers of humanity do not suffer this rejection in the same way as did Jesus, but they face it nonetheless.
Overall, I see this movie as a spiritual stimulant for the planet. It reaches down to and touches the heart of the average man, many in the past who have been apathetic toward God and the spiritual life.
As with all good things that reach the masses there will be some who will be effected negatively to the extent that they will feel like crucifying anyone who challenges their image of Jesus. But the vast majority will merely do some extra reflection and look a little deeper into the message of Christ. Anything that causes people to think and discuss more deeply upon the message must be considered good.
That said I realize that many alternative spiritual seekers see anything that appeals to the Christian Fundamentalists as primitive and unenlightened but unrealized is that there are millions of sincere believers who need to be stimulated at the level of where they are, not where they are not. I am saying that this movie was a positive stimulation for them that they could relate to – plus it also has messages for those who consider themselves enlightened.
For some time now I have been listening to the critics of the movie. So when I went I watched the film carefully with the comments of the movie critics in mind. Here are some of the criticisms and my reply.
(1) The movie portrayed the Jews with pointed noses and ugly faces – an obvious bias against the Jews.
Response: Now I’ve seen the movie I find this to be a ridiculous criticism. I looked carefully at the noses and faces of the good guys, the bad guys, the Jewish leaders and the Romans and was amazed that anyone came up with this conclusion. It seemed to me that the Romans had more pronounced noses than the Jews and just as pointed. Also I thought the Romans were not as good looking as the Jews and many of them had terrible teeth.
(2) The Romans were portrayed as good guys and the Jews as bad guys – an obvious attempt at anti-Semitism.
Response: Only a portion of the Jews were portrayed as bad guys. Jesus, Mary and his disciples were all Jews and were good guys. On the other hand, I couldn’t find a single Roman that was portrayed as a good guy. Most of them were portrayed as cold-hearted and very cruel – relishing the opportunity to give out punishment. Even the worst of the Jews were pretty much played as doing their job, however mislead, in defending their faith.
(3) History records that Pilate was a very ruthless man who didn’t hesitate in putting people to death. This was not covered in the movie, thus whitewashing him.
Response: There was no reason to cover Pilate’s history. It would have been a major distraction to have done so and taken away from the beauty of the film. The audience was interested in Pilate’s reaction to Jesus and that is what they received.
It would also have been a distraction to have given historical background on Herod or any other Roman figure.
(4) Gibson just did this for the money.
Response: One has to be mean-spirited to make this accusation. The movie cost 25-30 million and advertising cost $15 million. That’s up to $40 million of his own money that he put at risk. Every Hollywood studio rejected this movie idea and laughed at the prospects of it making money. This was not what audiences wanted to see they said. Gibson did not care. He wanted to do a good work that would make a difference even if he lost money and put everything on the line. Perhaps even more at risk than money was his good name. Some felt he would never find work in Hollywood again.
When Gibson explains his motives in interviews it is obvious to all but the hard hearted that he is sincere and was willing to risk losing money and prestige to make the movie.
(5) The movie is movie about the wrath of God than the love of Christ.
Response: It is simply not true that the movie is about the wrath of God. It does not show God taking about any wrath on anyone. Instead Jesus asks God to forgive his tormentors.
The movie may not be about the wrath of God, but it does cover the wrath of mankind. It illustrates how religious zealotry when challenged can produce great wrath and anger in ordinary humans not used to a greater light.
It is true that the movie spends more time dealing with hatred of the light than the love of Christ, but those times when Jesus flashes back to loving moments brings the poignancy of love to the event.
(6) The movie is too violent
Response: I would say that a good portion of the violence was necessary for Gibson to produce the effect he desired, but not all. I think it would have been better if he had cut out about a third of the whippings and replaced then with more flashbacks to teachings.
(7) This movie is only interesting to the true believer.
Response: I would wager that many non believers with an open mind will find this movie interesting and well made. It will help them understand why many Christians take their faith so seriously.
(8) This movie will increase the persecution of the Jews world wide.
Response: Millions of people have now seen the movie and believe me the press is watching so carefully that if even one Christian were to foam at the mouth and attack Jews because of this movie it would have made the headlines all over.
There may be some justification of this fear in some foreign countries where Jews already are having difficulty, but I doubt that it will have much negative effect. When Schinder’s list played world wide we did not hear any reports of anyone attacking Germans because of the film. That is a sign that humanity is maturing somewhat.
I thought the film was well made. Gibson used camera angles, lighting and slow motion to produce just the effect he wanted. I thought the gothic look of the film made it interesting.
I thought all the acting was good except for Mary. She didn’t seem to portray the emotion of a mother watching her son being put to death. The one flashback to when she helped Jesus as a child when she was powerless to help him in the present was touching though.
I’ve always liked Jim Caviezel who played Jesus since I saw him in the movie Frequency with Dennis Quade.
I thought the casting for the character of the devil was very creative and interesting. It was a female who played the roll (they make good devils too lol) and was an interesting figure.
I know many wished Gibson would have spent more time on the resurrection, but I liked the way he handled it. He only gave a few seconds to Jesus rising from the tomb but the look on his face as he arose all healed (excepting the wounds in his hands) was worth a book. After the movie was over I reflected on the look on Jesus’ face, trying to put words to it and here was what I came up with.
“Here I am back in the land of the living. This is going to be interesting.”
March 7, 2004
Copyright by J J Dewey
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