Tuesday, March 02, 2004

The Passion of the Christ

I saw Mel Gibson's movie on Sunday, and found it powerfully moving. I have only one comment: I've read probably a hundred articles about the movie over the past few weeks, and most discuss whether the movie might inspire anti-Semitism in some people. In all of the articles I've read, no one -- and I mean no one -- has even mentioned the following scene:

As Jesus takes his last steps before the actual crucifixion, he passes in front of the Jewish high priests who earlier had urged that he be put to death. At that moment, there is a flashback to a time when Jesus was teaching his disciples. I don't recall the precise words from the screen, but I'm 99% certain that they came from John 10:17-18, where Jesus says:

I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.

It's very odd that no one mentions this scene. Gibson made a deliberate choice to use words and visual framing to emphasize that no one -- including the Jewish high priests in particular -- had taken Jesus' life, and that Jesus was laying down his life of his own free will. Surely this scene would be highly relevant to any assessment of whether the movie might inspire anti-Semitism.


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