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The Passion

March 6, 2004

I saw The Passion today.

Wow.


I was afraid that I wouldn’t cry. I know that seems weird–but I didn’t want to be able to watch my Lord and Saviour being tortured and not cry. As it turns out, that was not a problem for me. I cried for about an hour and a half. As always I felt such deep sorrow for Judas (and the way that name is pronounced in Aramaic, by the way, that “Iudeh” – hearing that from Jesus– “Jeshua”–was just heart-breaking) and I thought it was beautiful the way his realization was protrayed, that he had betrayed innocent blood and was damned, and his madness and suicide–just beautiful. Sad, heart-breakingly sad, but beautiful. I didn’t really like the way they used children to portray demonic figures, though. Satan was brilliantly acted, but the midget and the children, those bothered me. Anyway.

I have always felt deep sorrow for Judas and Pilate. I think because it is so easy to see myself in those characters–characters who failed God, or betrayed God–and I do that every day by sinning. I thought Pilate was a brilliant actor, and the role was done so tragically–he was caught between his conscience, which said Jesus was innocent, his wife, who said Jesus was sacred, and the knowledge that he couldn’t have a revolt under his jurisdiction, because even if the uprising was quelled, it was the end of Pilate’s career and probably his life. What could he do? If he were a Christian, the answer would obviously be that he should die rather than execute Christ. But he wasn’t a Christian. He was affected by Christ, he was moved by Christ and by the end of his contact with Christ probably knew in his heart that Jesus was the Christ. But how could he know to sacrifice himself for Christ? Pilate’s wife was so beautiful–in character as well as in physical form. I thought it was also well done.

Heck, the entire movie was beautiful. Horrible. Gut-wrenching. Heart-rending. But beautiful.

The thing that struck me the most was the flashback to the Last Supper, when Jesus told his disciples, “You are my friends. Greater love has no man than that he lay down his life for his friends.” And I sat there and started smiling, because—-God came to Earth to become our friend. Obviously that wasn’t the ONLY reason, but that was part of it.

Diana says that of all the people she’s talked about the movie with, every person comes out of it with a different “thing”—every person noticed something different that caught at their heart. It will be interesting to learn what her mother said to that. slightlyjillian, lauraorganasolo, what was it for you?

I greatly appreciated having warning for the raven. I would have, in one sense, appreciated having warning for the scourging. But at the same time, horrible as it was, in a way, I’m glad I couldn’t avert my eyes in time. I’m referring specifically to the time the shards caught in His side, and the soldier ripped it out of his skin. I realized what was going to happen a split second too late, and I think I about jumped out of my chair.

Still, there were small moments of triumph that I felt, as a Christian. Watching Christ crush the serpent’s head in Gethsemane, the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15–that was a moment. Seeing the sign Pilate had hung over Jesus’ head, stating that Jesus was the King of the Jews, the SON OF GOD–that was a moment. Hearing Christ talk about the Holy Spirit, promising that the Spirit would come to guide Christians, seeing the dove that represented the Spirit–that was a moment. Listening to Jesus cry to “Abba”, Daddy, and mean God–that was a moment. Watching the earth shake and the temple veil rip–that was a moment. And of course, the Resurrection. That was a MOMENT.

I have already been excited by this Easter season like I have never been excited by Easter. I am more excited about it than I usually am about Christmas anymore. To me, the Easter season is the heart of Christianity, much more than Christmas. And there is so much triumph.

It’s funny–Diana commented last week that it was obvious to her that her mom cried through the movie because she was watching her best friend receive this treatment. Di couldn’t feel that–not because Jesus isn’t her best friend, but because she couldn’t see past Jim Caviezel. I had no trouble with that. The thing is, even though I acknowledge Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, there aren’t many times I really feel him as my best friend. I don’t know why — but even though I have pure faith in my God, I don’t have pure love. I am more attached to Christianity in my head than in my heart. This really bothers me. I have prayed for years that God would teach me to love Him more. I don’t understand it. But the thing is, for me, The Passion accomplished what nothing else has.

It made me cry for the Jesus that is my Best Friend. I loved that man on the cross, loved him and couldn’t hope to understand him, and had to watch as he suffered and died.

Wow.

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