Summary: 2nd in Series on the passion of Jesus.


Greeting, Attendance pad, prayer

As I begin my message today I invite you to take out your outline. I have provided scriptures for further study and reflection this week.on the last page



This is the second lesson in this series on experiencing the passion of Jesus. Of course, this topic is popular now because of Mel Gibson’s movie. I want to briefly review what this movie is about and why Mel Gibson produced this film.


In an interview after a showing of the movie to a group, Gibson explained, "I have always believed in God. From age 15 to 35, I was a hell raiser. In many ways, I still am," he said, jokingly. He then added he had "come to a difficult point in my life, and meditating on Christ’s sufferings, on his passion, got me through it."

Christ’s passion became his obsession and ultimately a healing balm.


"I’m not a preacher, and I’m not a pastor. But I really feel my career was leading me to make this," Gibson has said. "The Holy Ghost was working through me on this film, and I was just directing traffic. I hope the film has the power to evangelize."

It is a powerful film. I have been a Christian most all of my life and after seeing "The Passion," I wanted to sign up all over again.

The main question I ‘d like for you to consider today is…



Where would you place the blame?

Here are some responses to the portrayal of Jesus’ death in the movie:

“The Passion of the Christ” portrays Jews as blood-thirsty, sadistic, and money-hungry enemies of God and will encourage violence against Jews. – Spokesperson for the Anti-Defamation League.


“The Passion of the Christ” is not anti-Semitic. There is never any distancing of Jesus or his disciples from their Jewishness. And the film clearly states that it is a Jew that carries Jesus” cross and shares his miseries. The film is faithful to the Gospels and therefore the Pharisees are Jesus’ enemies, and they and their flock do call for his death. –David Horowitz, Jewish World Review contributor, editor of Front Page Magazine and the author of several books.


[Use material from Strobel and Poole’s Experiencing the Passion of Jesus, pp. 16-16]

Gibson has been most vexed about the charges of anti-Semitism leveled against the movie. He spoke of venting his frustrations on his spiritual counselor, who simply would remind him that Jesus turned the other cheek.

"I am good eight out of 10 days," he joked, referring to the cheek turning.


The first question I want to open to you this morning is this:

1. How did The Passion of the Christ change my opinion about who was most responsible for Jesus’ death? Who would I say the movie portrays as being guilty? Why?


2. What difference does it make who killed Jesus? How important is it to me to know who killed Jesus? Why?

Diane Sawyer asked Mel Gibson in a recent interview: “Did the Jews Kill Jesus?”

Discuss Gibson’s response to Diane Sawyer in her interview with him.


3. How are the allegations concerning anti-Semitism supported or weakened by the fact that Jesus was Jewish, his closet friends and followers were all Jewish, he lived in a Jewish community, and he was hailed as a hero by Jewish crowds as he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday?


Look at what this passage conveys about this event:

John 19:9-11 (Msg) He went back into the palace and said to Jesus, "Where did you come from?" Jesus gave no answer. Pilate said, "You won’t talk? Don’t you know that I have the authority to pardon you, and the authority to—crucify you?" Jesus said, "You haven’t a shred of authority over me except what has been given you from heaven.."

8:30 – Pilate is portrayed as being highly reluctant to crucify Jesus in the movie.


4. What about the role Pilate played in the execution of Jesus? Because he seems to bow to the pressure of the Jewish authorities and crowd, who does this make most responsible for Jesus’ death?


Philip. 2:6-8 (NLT) [Jesus] Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross.


Romans 5:8 (NLT) But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

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