March 10 '04
Personal Ponderings…………

This is an unscheduled publication written by some one who has no education for writing and has no expertise about any subject. From time to time things happen or are said that I feel compelled to say something about. I do indeed express my thoughts.

Yesterday I was privileged to go the Movie Theater to watch Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of Christ”. I say privileged because normally movies being shown today are not fit to be viewed by the human eye. This one was entirely different. Many of our fellow church members were there. My wife of nearly 46 years was by my side and a very good friend of a different skin color was on the other. I was privileged to be there watching this particular movie with my wife and a very dear friend.

I had heard about the movie from people who had seen it before we did. One of the very finest points of this movie was not shown in the movie itself. What I am referring to here is the fact that Mel Gibson, has caused more people to be talking about Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for each of us than I have ever heard in my life of 63 years. Jesus is being talked about even by the liberal TV journalists, many of whom would never have given this subject the time of the day prior to the making of this movie. Many of them would not be talking about this movie now if it were not “controversial” or if they could not serve to make it that way.

While hearing people in groups who have seen the movie talk about it, I observed that each person came out of it with somewhat of a different meaning or feeling about it. I observed that many of the people saw some things in the movie that others did not catch and the second group saw things that the first did not catch. Most want to see it again. I cannot help but observe that all of us saw things that we could not quite grasp what Mel was trying to tell us in the movie.

First let me tell you that I saw nothing that suggested being anti-semetic in the movie that was not Biblical in itself. The movie did suggest and confirm the people who were historically responsible for doing this only because of the fact that this was their time in history. Our generations were not physically and historically there but we are no less guilty and no less responsible for the sufferings that Jesus went through.

Many Christian critics have made the statement that they wished that more of the resurrection had been shown. I would have liked that too but this was not a movie about His resurrection. Mel Gibson spent $25 million dollars of his own money making this movie and I don’t even know if he had $25 million and one dollars so I’m not going to fault him for what was “not” in the movie. He did make a tremendous movie and, gave a wonderful account of the last twelve hours, as well as giving his personal testimony about Christ in a very adverse community for doing this. The entire world (other than young children) needs to see this movie. Through the eyes of this movie, the soul can be opened up. One can begin to understand if he has not already understood. None of us can experience the actual happening because we cannot go back into history. But this is a great starter package for seeing and believing what happened to Jesus both physically and emotionally and understanding that He was both man and God. As a man, his humanity died on the cross, but as God , He lives , never to have to die again. It amazes me to think that if I had been the only sinful man, He would have still done this just for me!

Now let’s get to what I gained or took from the movie. It opened with some words from Isaiah 53 depicting that He would go through all this for us. It was because of and for us that He went to the cross, suffering earlier probably more physical abuse than the cross itself could do to Him. He was in the Garden of Gethsemane in the opening scene, and as you will remember, was in a deep emotional agony about what was facing Him. You could feel the humanness coming out in Him but also the strength of God in the ability to stand knowing full well what was coming. Try to imagine how you would feel if all the forces of the world were coming against you to cause you physical harm and to take your life in a horrible way within the next few hours. Invoke the thought that if you were in this position, not only would you be facing your own death but your God and father would forsake you for a matter of time. Just thinking of this would be unbearable.

Those of you who are Christians know the format of the story itself so I will not take you through that part of it but I will try to give you some of the things I observed, felt or thought.

My first thoughts were that while Jesus was there—there was also and always Satan himself. In the movie Satan appeared to me to dressed or disguised as a woman which had no significance to me other than the fact that Satan gave no appearance of being a thing of outstanding beauty or one of total ugliness. Although in some scenes Satan appeared to have a more evil look than at other times, my thoughts were that Satan blended very well in the crowd with his looks, not necessarily being outstandingly noticeable. In other words, one might not be able to recognize that Satan is visibly in their presence. That’s exactly how I presume Satan to be active today. He may appear to be or be someone very much like the rest of the crowd. I do not recall Satan himself ever using any instrument of physical torture on Jesus, but he was there in his spirit to entice the crowd to do his bidding. And the people, Romans, Jews, or any one else present, indeed did do his bidding.

I could not help but observe that Satan was having a “field day” during the entire movie until the last breath of Jesus. Up until that time, things were going his way, and he appeared to be winning. When Jesus took His last breath, it was evident to Satan that he really had not won but had in fact had played a major role in his own defeat. Satan was clearly active in the movie playing several different roles such as himself, demons, and the enticer of the crowd for evil. While I thought of Satan’s role in the movie, it was clear that it is no different today in our modern generation. Satan is clearly not yet chained or finished. Though he has lost the final battle he is desperately fighting the skirmishes against us today, still trying to take souls to Hell with him when the time comes. He is by no means inactive. He still disguises himself in any manner to fit the times and purposes of the moment. We should still beware.

This was indeed a violent movie but it was about the most violent happening ever in history and therefore it is as close to factual as one can imagine. I have heard people say they don’t want to see it because of it’s violence. I believe that everyone above the age of a certain understanding level should see this move to experience only the imagination of what might have actually happened to Jesus on our behalf. But I also believe that young children should not be taken to this movie until they reach the age of understanding that Jesus bore the final defeat of all people who choose to live with Him. Until they can understand better, it probably will affect them because of the violence.

As I viewed the violence, I thought about who was doing that to Him. As I watched the Roman soldiers who were playing the role in the movie of the torturers of Jesus, I thought, I was not there and I would not have done that to Him, but because I am a sinner, in effect, I did. As a matter of fact, so did you.

I tried to separate the people involved in the scenes and their involvement in the process. I could not help but think that people in every walk of life were represented in the scene. In the role of Mary, I could not imagine anyone today who would be or could be playing that role as Mary herself actually did in the real life. But as for others, there were the onlookers, who presumed themselves to be innocent, taking no physical part. I would probably have to put myself in a role of this part. Then there were others who were more involved such as the Jewish leaders. People that I consider “heavier” sinners than myself would have to fit in this role because I could not have imagined myself actually having a speaking role against Jesus. But it doesn’t really matter, because I was there. My sins were in the scene and many of them flashed before my eyes during the movie. Then there was the crowd that the Jewish leaders were “controlling” if nothing else because they were the leaders of the people. They had no actual torture or physical abuse part but they too were there. They just followed their leaders no matter what was said. They didn’t think for themselves.

Then there were the Roman soldiers. They were just doing their job as a Roman soldier. They could have refused to do this. Of course they may have joined Jesus and the two thieves on the cross but they could have refused, yet they did not. Several of these Roman soldiers were involved in the torturous brutality which was applied to the body of Jesus, but they were the ones who seemed to actually receive pleasure from the cruelty that they themselves did. Even after the terrible beatings and humiliation that they put Jesus through, they all had a part in following up with the terrible act of Crucifixion. Many of them stood laughing at the foot of the cross and were ready to bestow more punishment at any time. Even Pilate, in his role made a show of washing his hands in order to say, “I am not guilty of this”. He could have stopped this at any point, but he never even considered doing it. Even Jesus’ closest followers fled in fear for themselves, one even denied Him, some came back, but they all shied away from personal harm and played their parts.

At the last breath of Jesus, Satan cried out in agony! He suddenly realized that as this process had “been accomplished” that he has an enemy that was greater than he is. He realized that Jesus was a winner in this story but also that all who would choose to follow Jesus then and in the future were winners too and would be forever lost to Satan. And there was nothing Satan could do about that. He also understands that there are many others that he can work on and seduce until he is once and for all put away in defeat.

I thought that we “think” we live in a civilized world and that no one would ever do this kind of thing again or would ever be guilty of doing this to Jesus. But I also thought that times haven’t changed. Though we are in a modern society and live in a so-called civilized culture, it is still being done at the same level today. We still have religious leaders who are leading people in the wrong way and separating their people from the will of God. We still have government leaders who are just as wrong today as Pilate, but are only doing it in a different way. We still have people who are willing to follow whoever is leading in which ever way they are leading. We still have people who would be in the crowd just as curious people, not willing to stand for right. We still have people who would be willing to follow orders and issue orders to follow out with such a plan of cruelty today. We still have people who would be willing to actually speak out against Jesus today. We still have people who would be willing to actually inflict the blows on the body of Jesus and at the same time laugh about it. We still have people who would attempt to wash their hands and not be considered among the guilty. We still have people who consider themselves to be Christian and moral leaders who are so far off base in their thoughts and beliefs that they are guilty today of inflicting blows on the body of Jesus. And, I am still here, as a sinner, though forgiven, still sinning and inflicting punishment to Jesus.

Things haven’t really changed. Modern day America is probably no different than old time Rome was. Modern day America is fighting and speaking out against Jesus more so that anytime in my lifetime. It is progressively moving faster in that direction. Our government leaders (many, not all) are openly denying anything of Jesus, God, or Christianity in any public place. And many of them are doing this while also speaking of “values”. A whole group of people are openly defying the laws of God and America and are trying to change marriage and attempting to gain God’s acceptance while practicing evil ways and saying all the time that they are a product of God who created them in an unnatural way. And many of the “innocent” church-going people have been convinced that this is okay. Supreme Courts of the states and the nation have gone immoral while still trying to be politically correct. A major portion of the movie industry and the news media is openly speaking out against the having a “trust in God” or the displaying of anything worthwhile in public places. Entire political parties are advocating the killing of unborn babies and still talking about family values. Some government officials are saying that it is not good to lie about the stock market but it’s okay to lie about your personal transgressions while in office. Some government officials are saying that is detestable to fight against evil in countries overseas where people are suffering cruelties but it is bad to fight against evil in the United States of America.

In a nutshell, Jesus is still getting beat up on and we are still denying we are having a part in it. I seem to remember Jesus saying something like, If you have done it unto the least of these-you have done it unto me.” Now, I know that is not an exact quote and this quote was meant to apply to doing good things. But if you put that statement in it’s reverse meaning, we are just as guilty of doing “it” unto Him.

We have crucified our Lord. True, He gave His life, but we also are guilty of taking it. That is a truth that will never change.

Do you ever think about the cross? Do you ever think about Jesus on the cross and why He was there? Do you ever think about what your place in the story of the cross was. Do you ever think about the fact that the death of Jesus on the cross could be your door to your very own salvation? He chose to do what He did for you—the next choice is yours.

PS: This story has no end. Maybe Mel will make a movie on the Resurrection now.

Bob Jackson

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