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pray_hands.GIF (680 bytes) Prayer & Spirituality
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The Passion of The Christ: A Review
by Sherri Bailey

I have spent my life writing. Writing comes easy to me. From the time I could form the letters with a pencil, I've found comfort and even release in writing. It's how I best express my feelings and certainly how I make sense of them.

So, when I sat down this evening to write a review of The Passion of The Christ, you must imagine how profound it is for me that I am struggling with words and with the very idea of having to write about this movie. To say I am at a loss doesn't begin to express how inadequate I feel to even attempt to convey all that this movie is.

The Passion of The Christ is the telling of the last twelve hours of the life of Christ here on earth. When I first heard about Mel Gibson's film, I wondered why he was compelled to tell only this part of Christ's thirty-five years. After having been a participant in the story, I completely understand.

You'll notice I did not say "after having watched this movie", but rather, "after having been a participant in the story". That's no mistake. I was not in a theater in Kansas watching Hollywood weave a million dollar tale. I was there. I was removed from the clean, comfortable surroundings of the building I had walked into and thrust into a time over two-thousand years ago that I've heard about all my life, but never fully understood until today.

I stood close by Jesus as he wept in the garden. I could hear the crickets and the gentle wind that blew his long, dark hair off his face. He was crying out in fear to his Father in the way a child cries out to his Daddy, asking if there weren't some other way. And then, his tear-stained face changed and I could see he was ready to do what had to be done.

I was there when the guards came. I knew they were coming, that they had to come.

But I wasn't ready. I was afraid. I was so close that I could hear the way their leather uniforms creaked with every move and I could see their rotten teeth when they spoke.

I wanted to shout out to Jesus, "RUN!"

But, I stood silent.

And then, when they took him away, I watched Peter cower and deny he even knew who Jesus was. I was angry with Peter for not rushing to help Jesus. He was being beaten and spit upon and called a blasphemer and Peter never spoke up. He never rushed to Jesus' defense. I wanted to throw myself in front of Jesus and yell, "Leave him alone! He is an innocent man! He is the son of the living God!"

But, I stood silent.

Jesus stood before Pilate and the jeering crowds that demanded his crucifixtion and I was there with him. I could see his chest rise and fall as he stood swaying slightly from the beatings. I wanted to plead with Pilate, "Don't do this thing. You will regret it. He is the Messiah."

But, I stood silent.

Pilate played the part written for him long before he was even born and he ordered the guards to beat Jesus, but not kill him. I thought I knew what was coming. I had read about the stripes on his back. I'd heard the words, "By His stripes we are healed".

I had no idea. I could not conceive of such brutality. I sobbed in a way I don't recall in recent memory as I watched what they did to him. I was there. I was so close that I could feel the tiny splatters of blood land on my face and hear the sounds a body makes as it's being broken. I heard the words over and over again in my head, "He was wounded for our transgressions". Until this moment, I could not possibly have known the depth of that statement.

Inside I was screaming! I was begging them to stop. I was throwing my body between Jesus and the vicious blows. I was begging God on Jesus' behalf to send down a legion of angels to end this terror and to reign a terrible punishment on everyone there.

But, I stood silent.

And then the time came. I knew where we were going next. I knew what Pilate had to do.

What followed was an event on which I have based my faith. From the time I was eight years old and my Granddaddy told me about Jesus and about Heaven, I've believed. Through struggles and pain and trauma and sin, I've believed. I've been through periods of anger at God and like Peter, I've even deliberately turned my back on Him to suit my own pleasure. But I always believed. My belief in this one moment in history has been the basis for everything else in my life.

I believed that Jesus Christ died on the cross for me and that he rose again in three days. I sang the good Southern Baptist hymns about it. I knew the words to the Old Rugged Cross by the time I was 5. I wore a new dress on Easter and I could recite the story of the nail scarred hands as well as any Christian.

But, somehow it looked very different in my mind. Jesus was always a meek looking, thorn-crowned figure on a cross. Maybe there was a tiny trickle of blood on his face, as he looked toward the ground... appearing almost defeated. It was all very religious and clean and lovely.

I wish I had the words to describe to you what it was like for this woman that has known Jesus all her life to watch him struggle up that hill bearing his cross, and then to stand by as they nailed him to it. I wish I were a poet or a painter or that I had some wonderful gift to be able to share with you what I felt. The pain, the power, the agony, the love.

However, this much I can say.

It was me. I stood silent when they accused him because I was the guilty one. I shouted, "Crucify him!" I spat on him. I denied him. He took the blame for me. He knew my name. He knew the dark parts of my heart that I try to keep hidden away from those around me. And yet he said, "Father, forgive them." He was thinking of me. He did it for me. If I understood it intellectually before, I understand it now in a way only someone that was there could.

And my answer to the big question on everyone's lips concerning this movie...

"Who killed Jesus?"

I did.

At this moment, everything seems clearer. Things that mattered to me when I walked into that theater seem so incredibly unimportant now. I was with Jesus today. I was right there beside him when he gave himself for me. I'll never be the same.

See Also:

The Passion of the Christ: Review of the Movie - From a Christian Perspective
In my opinion, the move is exceptionally good in depicting the last 12 hours of Jesus Christ. It truthfully depicts what is in the Gospels; a few artistic liberties were taken, however, without affecting what is portrayed in the bible. And these are kept absolutely to a minimum.

The Point of the Passion
Iíve been thinking a lot about The Passion of the Christ the past few weeks and have heard mixed reviews and comments regarding much of the information presented in the film.

Who Killed Jesus
Who killed Jesus? You and I did. Jews, Christians, and every person who has been born or will be born.

Why Is The Resurrection Significant?
It is through Christ's death and resurrection that we are able to receive eternal life through belief in Jesus Christ.

Sherri Bailey is an author specializing in inspirational writing for the Christian stay at home and work from home mother. http://www.momandhermoney.com

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