The Passion of the Christ
This phenomenal film has hit the screens of cinemas all over the world. It has broken all box office records and has covered the forty million-dollar outlay of the producers in one week. Church attending Christians are strengthened and challenged in their faith, backsliding Christians are challenged to return to their 'first love' and non or un-believers are confronted with a gruesomely violent spectacle. The latter will need some explanation, yet God's Spirit is already working in some hearts and lives.
PASSION OF CHRIST FILM BOOKLETS AND SPECIAL PASSION OF CHRIST GOSPEL OF MARK SCRIPTURE PORTIONS NOW AVAILABLE BY EMAILING FOCAL POINT FROM THIS SITE - LIMITED SUPPLY - POSTAGE FREE
Graeme has been explaining the film and the story of the Christ on Yarra Valley FM on the Colleen Hardy show - Thursday the 26th/2 and on the Christian Experience - Sunday am 29th /2.
Graeme's comments in the two Mail articles in March:
Passions High over 'The Passion'
Just before I sat to write this article I received yet another bit of 'hot gospel' on the phenomena known as 'The Passion'. In case you've been away on a tropical island and have not heard, the film, 'The Passion of the Christ' made by Mel Gibson has caused worldwide controversy. Although its critics are many it grossed 40 million in pre-sales in the week prior to its release. Mel, a devout Traditional Catholic, has tried to portray the last 16 hours of Christ's life in a most dramatic and real way. For Christians, this story is not new, yet because of Mel's interpretation of events with the attendant gruesome violence, many will find it painfully confronting. One of the main criticisms is that the film is anti-Semitic, and that Jews are seen in a bad light as the main culprits for the crucifixion. Christians of most denominations do not hold Jews responsible but understand that it is each of us who need to take that responsibility. After all, Jesus, His mother, and most of His followers were practicing Jews of the day and Christianity is rooted deeply in Judaism. Mel says it is a movie about us. It's like holding up a mirror to our sinful selves and learning from the experience. He even used his own hand in the movie to nail Jesus' to the cross so as to identify himself with those responsible. If you have little idea of the life of Jesus and the film's historical setting, you will probably come away with more questions than answers. The bible, which Christians believe to be God's instruction manual for life, speaks of Jesus being the long awaited fulfillment of God's plan to restore sinful and straying humanity back into a loving and secure relationship with Him, their maker. The depth of pain and sacrifice Jesus endured only serves to impress on the Christian what great love and grace was expressed at the time of the crucifixion. Many will know the song, 'Amazing Grace - that saved a wretch like me' The Cross is where this Grace is displayed in its most graphic form. See the film if you haven't, and think about what message God wants to send to you and me. If you would like to chat further about the questions that might be raised for you, ring the number below or get in touch with your local church.
THE POWER OF THE CROSS
"THE PASSION" Movie
Some consider this as a spiritual breakthrough this year!
(To be released Worldwide on Ash Wednesday 25th Feb)
"The Passion of the Christ" is so powerful and so literal that it reaches out from the screen and grabs the viewer by the collar, shakes him and shouts, "See! This is the reality of sin!"
Who killed Jesus? The Jews didn't cause the death of Jesus, nor did the Romans. They were merely instruments carrying out what God had decreed. Christians have always known who killed Jesus: You and I and all other sinful human beings did so. Mel Gibson understands this. In his movie, the hand holding the spike being nailed through Christ's wrist is Gibson's! Mel Gibson knows the Jews were not responsible! (In his painting The Raising of the Cross, Dutch painter Rembrandt painted himself as the soldier lifting the cross into place with Jesus hanging on it!)
Mel Gibson rightly places the blame for the brutal death of Jesus squarely where it belongs - on each of us. And that's what makes the movie controversial.
The powerful effect this film has had on Christians, as well as already leading many to faith in the US, has suggested the Lord may use it to impact whole communities.
About 600 pastors & leaders previewed the movie in Melbourne last week at a viewing sponsored by the Bible Society, who have prepared discussion and other material for use with the film. Some churches have booked out cinemas, and invited friends for the opening.
A Reaction from a pastor at the Melbourne Preview:
"In my capacity as a Minister, I went expecting to critique the film - instead it critiqued me. The film is a traumatic experience and I had quite some difficulty coming out of the cinema into the 'normal' world around me. The film had the effect of turning my eyes heavenward, as Jesus passed through the crowds, a stranger on his way to his death, so I too felt strange as I walked through the 'jingle jangle' of Chapel St. on my way back to the car."