The Point of ‘The Passion’
March 1, 2004
by Franklin Graham
The Bible tells us there are two ways to look at the cross: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18, NKJV).
Whatever your perspective, if you watch Mel Gibson's new movie, "The Passion of the Christ," you will never look at the cross the same way again. Those who are perishing without Christ will have to confront their own foolishness. And those of us who are saved will be powerfully challenged to grow in our faith and to reach out to others.
My father and I had the opportunity to watch "The Passion" with Gibson. We were both deeply moved. Although there are some exceptions, what I call "Hollywood's artistic liberties," the film is for the most part an accurate, biblical portrayal of Christ's suffering. The movie will take you to Calvary, and you will feel like you are an eyewitness to the crucifixion. It will make you deal face-to-face with the sacrifice Jesus made for all of us, the agony He endured and the love He showed for you and me.
Because the cross is so brutal, it's understandable that Christians and non-Christians alike struggle with the topic. There have been some who have described the film as anti-Semitic. I do not agree. It wasn't the Jews who put Christ on the cross. It was your sins and my sins. All of us are guilty of His death on the cross. But without Christ's death on the cross, there would be no way for neither you nor I to be reconciled to God. The Bible says that we have all sinned and fallen short of God's glory (Romans 3:23). But "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16, NIV).
It's not my intention to endorse a commercial movie. In fact, I would warn you to seriously and prayerfully consider whether you are ready to see "The Passion." The violence is R-rated. The emotions are heart-wrenching. But the truth it portrays is powerful.
Regardless of your decision to view it, you should be prepared for unique opportunities to share your faith with family, friends and neighbors. Those who don't know Jesus personally will have serious questions for those of us who do. Christians need to be prepared to discuss the cross, explain how we are all guilty of Jesus' death and tell what He has personally done for us. Even if you are shy about sharing your faith, this could be the opportunity of a lifetime for you to talk with friends about the Lord Jesus Christ.
At the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, all our ministries have one goal: To bring people to the cross of Christ. Everything we do is intended to help people understand the scope of Jesus' love and the need for them to respond to Him. As the Apostle Paul wrote, "For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2, NKJV).
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ is the defining moment in history. Our calendar dates from Jesus' humble birth. Our hope is in His miraculous resurrection and glorious return. But our salvation rests in His sacrificial death on that old rugged cross, where He atoned for the sins that otherwise would separate us from a holy God. That's why we call Him Savior—and that's the point of the Passion.