As Christians we dare not dwell on who physically killed Christ or who caused Him to be killed. No matter who issued the order for His execution or who argued for it, all human beings since the beginning of time are culpable -- as Gibson has poignantly observed. If we were not sinners, Christ's sacrificial death would have been unnecessary.
To focus on the identity of those participating directly or indirectly in the crucifixion is to miss the central point that Christ Himself, in His sovereignty, made the decision, along with the Father, to die. Christ said, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." His whole purpose in taking human form was to live a sinless life and die a sacrificial death in order to expiate man's sin by reconciling God's perfect justice with His abundant love and mercy.
Christ's death was preordained long before the first human being was created, and there was nothing any human being could do to change it -- a fact for which we must be eternally grateful -- and we are guilty of base human pride if we think otherwise.
As Bishop Fulton Sheen wrote, "Every other person who ever came into this world came into it to live. (Christ) came into it to die ... the Cross was there from the beginning, and it cast its shadow backward to His birth."
If any Christians do blame a particular group for Christ's death, they are woefully misguided. Mel Gibson is not among the misguided. His mission is not to arouse our passions against those who had a hand in Christ's death at that precise moment in history that it occurred, but to ignite our passions for Jesus for all time.
Bishop Sheen reminds us that "The story of every human life begins with birth and ends with death. In the Person of Christ, however, it was his death that was first and His life that was last ." "The Passion" directs us to Christ's death so that we might understand the meaning of His life -- and ours.
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