This post was originally written in August 2007…but thought I’d bring it to the front again.
My husband and I both watched the movie, The Passion of the Christ. I spent a few days in prayer and study in order to prepare for the movie. I’m glad I did. During the week after the movie, God revealed something to me during that time that has convicted me so deeply… affected my life in a way that I have only shared with 2 other people (my husband a friend). It wasn’t something that I feel the need to share with everyone, and I know not everyone would understand it, as it quite contrary to popular mainstream Christianity but it is too special, too personal to share lightly. Of course I would share in the right situation but flippancy is one downfall that I have seen as a direct result of this movie. I think that’s a shame.
We also prepared 16yo ‘Miss A’ to view the movie. Only she has seen it, out of our four children here. (Damian is 23 and the eldest but is not living in QLD with us) She is a Christian of her own volition, by fact that she has repented and taken responsibility or ownership of her faith as she matured which is different to my other children who still believe because mum and dad believe. Do you know what I mean? There’s nothing wrong with this… it’s as it should be. But there comes a time in everyone?s life where they need to know what they believe and why… that it isn’t just because it is tradition to do so.
I started preparing my daughter for this a few years ago. We read books, she did the Messiah unit through Heart of Wisdom, etc. We taught her (as we also continue to learn) about the wonderful, liberating, profound, sacrifice that happened on that cross. This movie, as with any movie, focuses upon the physical death of Jesus the Christ. History shows us that many other people since that time have suffered horrendous torture.
We have taught our daughter in depth about the cross…it is so much more than physical punishment…so much more than the flippancy than it is often preached. With every fibre of His being, Jesus suffered more than any other, not physically but in that “he bore our sins in his own body on the tree“, and “he who knew no sin was made sin for us,” as “he suffered the just for the unjust” when God “laid upon him the iniquity of us all“. In being ‘the propitiation for our sins’ he bore the wrath of God upon all evil. The physical side of his crucifixion, painful as it was, was very minor in comparison with his sin-bearing…his separation from The Father.
No amount of emotion or painful sight can pierce the heart in such a way that a viewer can truly comprehend the real meaning of the death on a cross. This death was not just this way as to move us to feel sad, or feel emotion. Jesus told his disciples, “. . . this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
I have seen many people who watched the movie, were touched at the time but have continued on with their lives as though they had just watched a horror flick! Aacckkkkk! I have discussed with others how they didn’t think much of this whole ‘Jesus thing‘ because others have gone through more pain – therefore they missed the message of the cross. God is the one who will draw people…He will reveal Himself to people in His time. He doesn’t need a movie to do so, although He can use it if He so desires. He chose instead, to use words, language, vocabulary, the tradition of oral story telling in which to let us know of His message. So, we are preparing our children in the Word of God first so that they will be grounded in His teachings before being exposed to the visual and emotional pull of such a movie. We need a solid grasp of what happened on the cross before we see it *performed*. After all, no matter how good, it is still a performance – acting. No actor can thoroughly communicate the victory of His cry, ‘It is finished!‘ nor truly portray the utter trust of Jesus when he said, ‘Father! Into thy hands I commit my spirit‘. What did these words mean? I’ve been studying them for over a year and a half and I’m nowhere near finished yet!
Those who read this blog or know me in real life will also know that we aren’t overly cautious or protectionistic (it’s my word) with the television. We like Sci-Fi and LOTR (Oh boy, I’ve lost some people now eh?) but there are some things that are simply too precious, too meaningful to throw before our children in an attempt to impact a generation or teach them understanding.