After ‘The Passion’
March 1, 2004
by Amanda Knoke
With Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion of the Christ" now being released in theaters across the country, the events of Christ's death, burial and resurrection have come—graphically—into the public eye.
Whether you decide to see the film or not, it's likely that someone will ask what you think about Jesus' crucifixion and why it happened.
Will you know how to respond?
Films have a powerful impact on popular culture—and on conversations between co-workers, friends and family members. Many pastors and Christian leaders have recognized this, and a wide array of promotional material—including door hangers, booklets, banners and bulletin inserts—has been produced to encourage Christians to invite friends to see Gibson's new film and to help them engage in conversations about Jesus and what He accomplished for us.
Though some Christian leaders have noted minor inaccuracies in the film, early feedback from viewers has been dramatic. Pastors and unchurched viewers' comments have been similar. Many have said, "The film was a powerful experience. I will never be the same again. It has changed my life."
But has it? An emotional response to visual stimuli is one thing; a response that brings about actual life change and commitment is another.
Once viewers, confronted with the visually horrifying yet glorious truth of Christ's Passion, agree that Jesus really did die and rise again ... what next? How will we answer the question whispered from the person in the seat beside us, "So what does this all mean for me?"
The stage has been set for a great opportunity to talk to friends about truth of Jesus Christ. But we need to be ready to explain the meaning beyond the emotional impact of the film. "The Passion of the Christ" portrays Christ's death with vivid clarity. Will our explanation of the truth behind it be as clear?