The Latin word “Passio”, and the Greek word “Pathos” are about passion and suffering. “The Passion of Christ” is about the suffering of Jesus Christ in His love for us, as from the night that He was betrayed, until He cried out, “It is finished,” and yielded up His Spirit. [Matthew 27:50] The Passion is depicted in radio, cinema and “Passion Play” stage performances around the world.
More than 100 movies have been made about Jesus Christ. The very first showing of The Passion -- the original version -- is previewed & reviewed in the New Testament. We just can't capture the intense drama of that day.
How did it premier? The idea of Jesus as King got people’s attention, [Matthew 21:1-17] but in a turnabout, the crowd pushed for the climax in Jesus’ death by crucifixion. [Matthew 27:22-26; Luke 23:22-25] Watching it in fear, a Roman centurion was humbled. [Matthew 27:54] One thief, dying alongside Him, came to find his life in Him. [Luke 23:39-43]
Jesus had told His disciples (from the prophet Zechariah), “I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.” [Matthew 26:31] The ‘sound & picture’ crisis of His betrayal and death in horror is outrageous, violently stirring human emotions and pushing people to disassociate from what happened. You may be thinking… If we had just been there, we would have dropped facedown, crying out, “What are we doing? We have killed Jesus, God’s Son; the King. Have mercy on us!” Yet, few people were converted while seeing the Passion of Christ.
Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” [John 3:14-15; 12:32-40] The Passion stage scatters, as from Matthew 26:31, until the power of God -- the Holy Spirit -- came to speak boldly in the Passion, declaring His good news to “all the world.” [Luke 24:48-49]
Without reflection and conviction, seeing the Passion becomes just another ‘shock & awe’ story. As it is written, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” [Romans 10:17] Numbers of people came to salvation in Jesus Christ during the sequel recorded in Acts 2, as when thousands believed on Jesus and acted like they did.
What is seen as through a window can incite what we feel, but “with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” [Romans 10:10] Those who are being saved will receive the truth (as from Peter), “Repent, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the Holy Spirit. …be saved from this perverse generation!” Most films about Jesus have left out that part.
If your church or youthgroup’s got Passion Fever, it’s time to get serious about being the Passion of The Christ, instead of just sitting through it. [Luke 9:23]