Mel Gibson’s The Passion of The Christ

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 4, 2004

by Becky Holland

It hasn’t even hit the movie theaters, but Mel Gibson’s The Passion of The Christ, has become one of the most controversial, talked about movie of all time.With so much negativity publicity and analytical discussion concerning the movie, different impressions and minds have been “set” regarding the film. Local residents have had varied opinions on the movie.

“Who wants to see some man nailed to a cross and beaten with a whip? We want lasers, guns and gore.”

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“Don’t tell me what the Bible says. I heard it in Sunday School when I was 7. Give me George Clooney in a toga or Beyonce Knowles in a leather and chains.”

“Who’s Jesus?”

That scared me.

The Passion of Christ is a vivid depiction of the last 12 hours of Jesus Christ’s life. According to news releases from Icon Pictures, the production company, the story is as follows, ” Sometime around the year A.D. 30, in the Roman province of Palestine, an obscure Jewish carpenter named Jesus of Nazareth began to teach publicly and to proclaim the coming of a ‘Kingdom of God.’ For centuries, the Jewish people had expected the appearance of a promised deliverer known as the Messiah –a figure who would restore their ancient dignity, and free their sacred homeland from all evil and despair. In the minds of many, Jesus appeared to be this Messiah. Surrounded by a core group of twelve disciples, Jesus began to attract a massive following from among the common people of Galilee and Judea, who eventually praised him as their Messiah and King. However, Jesus also had many enemies in Jerusalem. The Sanhedrin, a governing senate composed of the leading Jewish priests and Pharisees, conspired to put Jesus to death..”

Does the story sound familiar? The movie has sparked numerous debates and discussions among religious leaders and critics world wide before production began. According to a report gathered by ABC News, “the debate is concerning the film’s dramatization of Jesus’ crucifixion and if the depicted violence surrounding it is real or just excessive. Others also are concerned that the depiction of the Jewish role in Jesus’ death could incite anti-Semitic sentiments.”

Mel Gibson, who’s role in the film is one of producer, director, and writer, just smiles when asked his feelings on the project. In an interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC Primetime, Gibson stated, “I am not anti-Semite and that anti-Semitism is un-Christian and that is a sin that goes against the tenets of my faith.”

Pick a college student on any campus, and ask that college student what anti-Semitism is, a blank stare and a shrug of shoulders would more than likely be the answer you receiver, where some professors, and more learned people would give you a bunch of long, big words. Simply put, anti-Semitism is any criticism of Israel.

Gibson doesn’t do that in the film.

“Jesus was a child of Israel, among other children of Israel. There were Jews and Romans in Israel. There were no Norwegians there. The Jewish Sanhedrin and those who they held sway over, and the Romans-were the material agents of Jesus’ demise.”

It says so in the Bible. “And the Bible is just that. You either take it or you don’t.” Gibson remarked.

According to Gibson, “Critics who have a problem with me don’t really have a problem with me in this film. They have a problem with the four Gospels. That’s where their problem is.” The four Gospels-Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the first books of the New Testament in the Holy Bible, are the foundations from which Gibson based his movie on.

There was a time in Gibson’s life where he was abusing alcohol and drugs. “I even contemplated throwing myself out a window.” He told Sawyer in the interview on ABC Primetime, Monday evening, Feb. 16. Something came over Gibson. “I think I just hit my knees, and I just said, ‘Help.’ You know?” He turned to the Bible, and reread the four Gospels. This led him to the making of the movie, “The Passion of the Christ.”

Criticisms can come and they will go. “The central point of this film, that I hope it makes, is about faith, hope, love and forgiveness. That’s what this film is about. Christ’s sacrifice. Jesus was beaten for our iniquities, wounded for our transgressions and by His wounds we are healed. That’s the point of this film. It is not about pointing fingers.” Gibson remarked to Sawyer.

“My version of the story is very violent. If you don’t like it, don’t go. If you want to leave halfway through the film, then leave. I wanted it to be shocking. But I also wanted it to be extreme. I want the viewer to be pushed over the edge, so that he or she sees the enormity-the enormity of Jesus’ sacrifice-to see that someone could endure that and still come back with love and forgiveness, even through extreme pain and suffering, and ridicule.”

“I want people to be inspired and to feel,”Gibson remarked to Sawyer at the closing of their interview.

A friend of mine from Thomasville stated, “I can’t wait to see the film. I will probably be blubbering through the whole thing.”

And it hasn’t been released yet. Think Gibson has accomplished his goal?

Go out on a limb-check out The Passion of the Christ.

Christ went out on a tree to check you in/out.