Summary: I was struck with how “in control” Jesus was, even when events were transpiring around him and people were doing disturbing things to Him.

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Meek Does Not Mean Weak

This past Tuesday Pastor Jeff and I had had the opportunity to view a screening of the film called, “The Passion of the Christ” with about 4,000 other pastors. We should have known we were in for an unforgettable experience when we saw boxes of Kleenex arrayed on tables scattered throughout the auditorium. The movie focuses on the last hours of the life of Jesus, with the opening scene taking place in the Garden of Gethsemane. The film, produced by Mel Gibson, is both beautiful and bold as it captures the cost that Christ paid for our sins. I found the portrayal to be biblically accurate, emotionally gripping, and spiritually moving. As someone has said, “This is not simply a movie; it’s an encounter.”

The film opens in theaters around the country one month from today on February 25th. I hope you’ll see it and bring a seeking friend with you. Actually, I don’t recommend this movie for children, or even for teenagers, as it will be rated “R” for violence. I believe the “R” rating in this case stands for “reality.” There are parts of this movie that will make you want to turn away, especially during the interminable scourging scenes, the walk to Golgotha with the cross, and the crucifixion. I was talking to a student from Pontiac Christian School this week about the movie. He asked me what it was about and I told him that it was graphic and disturbing. Very perceptively, he added, “Well, then it must be accurate because that’s how it really was.” I continue to be thankful for the impact that our excellent teachers and staff are having on the students at PCS.

This movie was a vivid reminder that it was my sins that put Jesus through what He went through. I think this will be the reaction of many who see it. During the Q & A after the showing, Mel Gibson mentioned that an agnostic from the Hollywood community sat in stunned silence following a screening of the film. After a few minutes, he said just four words: “I’m sorry. I forgot.” Gibson was also asked if the movie was “over the top” since there is so much blood. His answer was very interesting. He said something like this: “The Old Covenant demanded a blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. I guess Jesus could have just pricked his finger to get some blood but He didn’t. He went all the way…and I wanted to show that.”

As I watched and wept during much of the movie (I think I had tears streaming down my face for at least 30 of the 90 minutes), I was struck with how “in control” Jesus was, even when events were transpiring around him and people were doing disturbing things to Him. The religious leaders and stonehearted soldiers played their part, looking confused, angry, and even disillusioned, but Jesus never lost His cool. At one point, after Judas had betrayed Jesus, and the soldiers got into a scuffle with the disciples, Peter whacked off the ear of one of those sent to arrest his leader. Amazingly, in the midst of this conflict Jesus demonstrates grace and compassion by miraculously reattaching the man’s ear, showing again what it means to have power under control.

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