Summary: Since we need to talk about the Passion film with our friends, we have to be prepared to answer their questions. It’s a mystery to non-believers: Why did Christ have to suffer so? Why did He have to die?

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Sarcastic reviews. Late night jokes. Hateful criticism. Promises to ban him from work in Hollywood. Mel Gibson has faced all that and more over the last year. All because of the making of The Passion of the Christ.

Why all the controversy? The brutality? R-rated slasher movies come out all the time. And just a few people protest. So, the hostility isn’t really because of the brutality.

The clear message of The Passion of the Christ is that Jesus died for sinners. At the heart of the film is a truth: We are sinners who need a Savior and Jesus alone is that Savior. Most Americans don’t like to think of themselves as sinners. And many Americans don’t like to think that they need Jesus as Savior.

As one writer said, “As long as the purpose for Christ’s death remained within the pages of the Bible or walls of the church, nobody cared. But when a superstar uses his artistic genius, financial resources, and marketing network to write the message about Jesus in big, bold letters – well, that’s going too far and both Gibson and his film had to be shot down.”

I’ve seen the movie twice. Both times, there was silence in the theatre afterwards. I read about a secular audience in Texas that applauded after seeing the movie. And why not? To secular people, the film may seem like it emphasizes a common Hollywood theme: a good man suffers at the hands of bad men, but wins in the end. But if that’s all secular people get out of the movie, they may as well watch an Indiana Jones re-run. That’s why we’ve got to talk about this film with our friends. And we have to be prepared to answer their questions. It’s a mystery to non-believers: Why did Christ have to suffer so? Why did He have to die?

Why did Jesus die?

Series: The Passion of the Christ: True or false?

Text: II Corinthians 5:21

Maybe you’ve seen the movie and learned a little from the messages, but would still like to know more about what the Bible has to say about the passion of Jesus. We have a six week study for you where you can also develop some relationships with others here at CVCC.

Some small group Bible studies are getting ready to start. An organizational meeting will be held today in room 104 following the 11:45 service to help people find the group that best fits their needs. If you can’t be there at 11:45, please let us know of your interest on your Care Card.

In past weeks, we’ve looked at biblical answers to: Who really killed Jesus? What crime did Jesus commit? Talks over the next two weeks will give the biblical answers to: Couldn’t there have been another way? and How now should we live?

Last week, we sought to answer the question: Just how badly did Jesus suffer? We looked at key words in Isaiah 52 and 53 – stricken, smitten, afflicted, wounded, crushed, disfigured, marred beyond human likeness – and considered the possibility that the movie, though brutal, may not have been as violent as His death really was.

There’s another passage in the OT that was specific in predicting the sufferings of Jesus long before crucifixion as a form of execution had been invented by the Romans. Scholars have often used these ancient prophecies to point out to skeptics that the Bible is reliable.

You can almost hear Jesus saying these words as He suffers the scourging and hangs on the cross. If you’ve seen the film, you can picture specific scenes that parallel these verses.

Here I am, a nothing – an earthworm, something to step on, to squash (Msg) scorned by men and despised by the people (NIV). Psalm 22:6

They sneer and shake their heads, saying, “Is this the one who relies on the LORD? Then let the LORD save him! If the LORD loves him so much, let the LORD rescue him!” Psalm 22:7b-8 (NLT)

Trouble is near and there is no one to help. Psalm 22:11b (NIV)

My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls… they come at me with open mouths.

Psalm 22:12a, 13b (NLT)

Every joint in my body has been pulled apart. Psalm 22:14 (Msg)

My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. Psalm 22:15a (NLT)

Brutal enemies attack me like a pack of dogs. Psalm 22:16a (CEV)

They have pierced my hands and my feet. Psalm 22:16b (NIV)

They took my clothes and gambled for them. Psalm 22:18 (CEV)

The odds against all these prophecies coming true in one person is astronomical. That it’s in the Bible hundreds of years before Jesus died points to the miraculous nature of this Book.

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