Summary: First in the series "Meet the Cast." Mary’s life as we see her through scripture and through this amazing film, teaches us a great deal about how to trust God in times of crisis.
In Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of the Christ” we are introduced to the story of Jesus of Nazareth’s last 12 hours in a very vivid, graphic and brutally honest way. For many of us who have devoted our lives to sharing the gospel, this was, in some way, vindication. Because no matter how much you talk about the physical aspects of Christ’s crucifixion hoping people can visualize it for themselves, this beautiful and yet disturbing movie finally makes it possible at least to the degree of a movie.
It’s important, however, to remember this movie is not the clever story of a witty producer. It is not the compelling script of one of Hollywood’s brightest screen writers. This is the true account of Jesus of Nazareth. The Son of God, God in the flesh who came to die for the sins of the world. In the Biblical account, just as in the movie, there are four main characters. Over the course of the next month we will embark on a character study of Mary, Peter, Satan and Jesus. Each person teaches us valuable keys to victorious living. Each one, when viewed through the clear lens of the gospel can impact our lives both theologically and practically. As you journey with me on this study, remember these were real people, with real struggles and real stories and with God’s word as our compass we can learn their remarkable secrets for successful living.
In the accounts of the Gospels, we find out more about Mary in the pre-incarnation than we do after Christ’s birth. It is true that she is present on many occasions, but her words are few and her actions always in submission to her Son, for the obvious reason that she knew who He was, is and always would be.
As Mary was depicted in the movie, I believe accurately, she manifested a real strength based on the faith in the words of the angel, who shared with her 33 years before, that Jesus was the Savior of the world. No doubt these words she had kept in her heart until he died. Yet in all the ways she exercised her faith she was still his mother. This God man was still the baby of her womb; He was her first born son. All these truths say to me that Mary was a special woman. No, she was not perfect; no, she is not the co-redemptrix of mankind. She is not the one we are to pray to. The Bible says there is only one mediator between God and man, and it is Jesus. The Bible makes it clear that Mary was chosen among women, not above anyone. It was Mary herself that said “she was the handmaid or servant of the Lord,” and it was Mary who sang a song of joy in the realization that she was going to give birth to the only person who could save not only all mankind, but Mary herself. These facts, however, do not negate the importance of Mary’s life and the key to valuing Mary for who she is and always will be. We need to approach her story with a balanced view of scripture. Don’t write her off as a naïve little girl used only by God for incarnation then discarded as worthless, or elevate her to a place of worship reserved for only God in three persons.