I was reminded the other day that The Passion of the Christ is available through my Netflix subscription. I replied that, having seen it a number of times already, I was not so keen to view it again.
If you've already seen the film, you know what I mean. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend that you do so.
Coming out of a packed theater after the first screening of The Passion in Union City, I was struck by the absolute silence (except for muffled sobbing) of this large crowd of mostly Christian people.
I was stunned by what I had just seen. Biblical scenes of the crucifixion in the Gospels present a detailed verbal description of what occurred on Golgotha hill.
We are visual creatures, however, and nothing before The Passion had conveyed the absolute horror of the physical price Christ paid on my behalf.
Criticism of the film from Reformed commentators consisted of this: That no film could in any way depict the utterly devastating mental and spiritual suffering that Christ underwent, and thus the film in effect downplayed these elements of His sacrifice.
Right. Jesus faced the wrath of God while hanging on the cross. Wrath intended for you and I. The perfect god-man not only bore our sin but was actually made sin.
David said, "My sin is ever before me." If this knowledge of our sin is so distressing to us as God's imperfect children, what must it have been like for the perfect Son of God to become sin and see His Father's face turn away? I can't imagine.
But I recommended this film, didn't I? I can't begin to imagine the mental anguish Jesus suffered. I have absolutely no conception of the spiritual torment. The Apostles' Creed says: "He descended into hell."
But hell has a physical aspect too. To see a film like The Passion is as close as I will come to understanding Jesus' physical suffering. I think I need to be brought face-to-face with that.
We strive to obey God's commands out of love and gratitude for the salvation He has given us.
I, for one, need an awareness of the price that was paid for my salvation. I need to be more grateful than I am.
I need to be reminded.