Summary: What relevance does the death of one man who died 2000 years ago have on you and me today?

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The Passion of the Christ

Last Encounter we spoke about the “obsessions” people fall into – Lord of the Rings – Goolum and “my precious”

• Recently there has been a lot of talk in the media about Mel Gibson’s obsession with making this movie about “The Passion of the Christ

• He was even willing to gamble with $30 million dollars of his own money to make it happen

• Now that is one obsession! Not many of us have a $30 million dollars to spend on our obsession

• I guess another way to describe it would be the Mel had a “passion” to make a film about the Passion

• Passion is the positive form of obsession

• Obsessions are usually regarded as negative things – obsession with gambling, drugs, etc

Who’s seen the movie? Any impressions? How did it affect you personally?

• Pretty heavy movie – very brutal, gruesome, in parts moving

Question I want to ask today is what relevance does the death of one man who died 2000 years ago have on you and me today? Why was the death of this particular man any different from the thousands of criminals nailed to a cross during the days of the Roman Empire?

• After all crucifixion was a common occurrence throughout the Roman empire – two others suffered the same fate as Jesus did on that same day

• That makes about 6-700 crucified per year at Jerusalem alone

• What makes Jesus so special? Why do nearly one billion people around the world today call themselves Christians or followers of Jesus Christ?

• There had to be something special about Him otherwise he would be no more famous than the two crucified with Him

• No one remembers them! What were their names?

• What makes Jesus so special is that He was not an ordinary man like you and me. He was God

And the question naturally follows, why would God come to this earth as a man and die such a gruesome horrible death?

• Strangely, the answer lies in the brutality of what we witnessed in the movie, “The Passion”

• The Passion in all its gory details exposes for all to see the depth of depravity to which man can descend

• We see depraved human beings acting like wild animals as they flay the flesh off a fellow human being - No sympathy, no feelings, no empathy

• Later we see a hardened soldier driving six inch nails into Jesus’ hands and feet

• We may say we would never stoop to such depths, but given the right circumstances, enough hatred, enough jealously or envy, and we may surprise ourselves at what we are capable of

• Last century we saw one of the most civilized nations in western Europe kill 6 million people

• In 2001 we saw Muslim fanatics fly planes into buildings killing 3000

• In October 2002 Australians died at the hands of Bali bombers

• Just two days ago we saw terrorists kill 200 innocent train commuters in Madrid

• We say we would never commit such crimes but we all have skeletons in our closet

• As a teenager, I’ve stood as part of a raucous circle behind a picture theatre late one Saturday night encouraging a friend to beat the crap out of guy who had dobbed him in to the police

• And I have personally stood in a similar circle of cheering onlookers baying for some blood and beat the crap out of one of my best friends who challenged me to a fight one night

• I wanted to walk away but he called me a coward in front of everyone – my macho image was at stake

• Like I said, given the right circumstances, it might surprise us what are we capable of

• In those quiet moments in our lives when we look deep inside ourselves, we have to admit something is terribly wrong with us humans

• Its as though we have some dreaded disease, why do we do the things we do to each other?

• Well this why Jesus came - to save us from ourselves

• He came to save us from the type of people that are portrayed in that movie – and if we’re honest they are “us”

It may surprise you to learn we were not always this way

• There was a time back in the Garden of Eden when mankind had a good heart

• But he make a wrong choice and disobeyed God

• That act of disobedience, the Bible calls it “sin” changed everything

• Its as though our genetic makeup suddenly changed and instead of us having a caring loving heart as God intended, we got a cold, callous, cruel heart

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