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.
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Co-ordinator Focal Point