If you only go to the movies to be entertained, don't go see "The Passion of the Christ."
But if you want to experience an artistic achievement beyond any scale you could imagine, you must see "The Passion of the Christ."
If you only go to the movies to forget about the important issues of life, to allow your mind to "veg" out, or to escape reality ? definitely avoid "The Passion" at all costs.
But if you've ever wondered what life is truly about; if, in the darkness of the night you have ever been awakened with worry, or sadness, or emptiness; if you have ever wanted to know or understand truth, you must see "The Passion."
If you doubt Christianity because you have known "Christians" who fail, or who have distorted the message to their own advantage, "The Passion" will reveal for you the pure truth and message of Jesus.
This movie about the last hours of Jesus' life is for anyone brave enough to come face-to-face with the reality of their own sin, for anyone who is hurting from a pain they cannot describe, for anyone who is looking for meaning in life.
Last week I had the opportunity to view a screening of what I believe is the most powerful use of film in the history of the industry. I sat with some 5,000 other people in near complete silence as we became part of the arrest, "trial," beatings, and crucifixion of Jesus. We were not entertained. We did not laugh. We did not leave relaxed. When the film was over, 5,000 people filed out of an auditorium in virtual silence. Only a few low voices could be heard rumbling here and there among the crowd as some struggled to break the awkward quiet.
"The Passion" is powerful ? it is reality. It is brutal and graphic because the beatings and crucifixion Jesus suffered were brutal and graphic.
In watching the scene where Jesus is flogged unmercifully, I found myself wanting it to end. "OK, I've seen enough of this," I thought, "let's move on to something else." But the flogging scene didn't end quickly ? it continued on as if I had been there for all of the terror of the real event. It was then I realized that for Jesus, the horror and agony didn't end quickly ? so why should it end quickly for me as a mere observer?
A few weeks ago, I had dinner with a Jewish friend of mine ? a person of some influence ? who had just viewed a private screening of the film. "I saw 'The Passion' last night," he said. "It's not about anti-Semitism as some are claiming ? it's a movie about truth." I don't think he understood the power of what he had just proclaimed.
Does the movie evoke strong emotion? Yes ? undeniably, it does. But so do lots of movies. What makes "The Passion" different is that it awakens your spirit and your soul ? it forces you to face the Truth, to come face-to-face with the Christ and the sacrifice he made for all of us. It forces you to make a conscious decision about what you are going to do with that truth in your own heart and life: This is the essence of "The Passion."
If you decide to see this remarkable, amazing, powerful, dreadful movie of truth, be prepared to see yourself in the faces of those who crucified this perfect man, the Son of God.
But if the status quo of your everyday life is exactly where you want your mind to remain, if the only thing that matters is the here and now, if you want to take the easy way out ? stay home.
The Good Book says that if you know the truth, the truth will set you free.
If you've never met Jesus, if you've never experienced who he is ? "The Passion" will introduce him to you in a very personal way. It will then be up to you to decide whether or not you want to actually know him as the Truth.
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