So I attended part of a Sr High lock-in this weekend, part of the duties of being a pastor intern I assure you... Actually I think I attended too much of a lock-in this weekend. It was on Saturday night, and I ended up leaving around 3:30 which wasn't the smartest thing since I had to help lead worship at 8:00. But anyway, my poor choices are not the subject of this entry. I want to talk about the movie The Passion... First, it was a decent movie. I liked that it was in Aramaic, added some authenticity. It was a bit on the graphic side, although not as graphic as I prepared myself for. There was a part when Jesus was being scourged, I think that's the correct verb, with these cat o' nine tail looking whips with barbs on the end, and it showed Jesus get whipped and the barbs stick in and tear his flesh. That was a bit icky. But in the Bible it is clear that Jesus was abused, it was definitely violent. I loved the way the movie treated Mary. She was clearly a mother in mourning, and there in one instant in particular, where Mary is watching Jesus lug his cross down the street, and he trips and falls. It juxtaposes this with a flashback that Mary is having of Jesus as a small child running and tripping. It alternates between current scene and flashback as Mary runs to help Jesus. She kneels by the bleeding, abused Jesus and says, just as she said when he was a boy, "I'm here..." Wow! Powerful scene. There were some parts where they tried to work in the character of Satan, like when Jesus is praying at the Garden of Gethsemane, which aren't in the Bible. But I think they were just trying to get across the presence of evil and sin and temptation.
One major problem that I had with the movie was that it was just the Passion of Christ. It doesn't show his life and ministry (what we know of it). It doesn't show why he was abused and beaten and eventually crucified. It doesn't show why the priests and pharisees wanted him dead. It doesn't show him eating with tax collectors and prostitutes and talking to the diseased. It doesn't show him preaching a Gospel of love and mercy and justice... So it DOES make the violence seem empty and gratuitous and excessive. I can understand why people complain. And the little last minute flash of the resurrection really takes away from the story, too. The death AND resurrection of Jesus are the cornerstone of the Christian faith. The death without the resurrection is meaningless and empty and unefficacious (big word!). So, if I were to make the movie of Jesus I would include more of his life, less of the violence (although that would be necesarry, too) and more of the resurrection. OH!!! I JUST REMEMBERED ANOTHER THING I HATED!!! I think it was supposed to be the Mary Magdalene character, and the movie showed her as the woman caught in adultery where Jesus stops the men from stoning her. How scriptural is that? And if it is, someone give me the reference where it NAMES her. I think Mary Magdalene gets a bum deal... always being depicted as a prostitute or loose... And I don't think that was the case. She may have spent a lot of time with Jesus and the other disciples, and perhaps that was what gave her the reputation. But I don't think there is any scriptural evidence of her being a prostitute. Blech!!