Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Power in Film

Last year I spent Good Friday watching The Passion of the Christ. There's a reason its rated "R" because I was definitely not prepared for what I was about to see. I'm really not okay with violent movies or TV shows. It makes me edgy, upset and has probably been the cause of nightmares I've had. 

But for some reason I couldn't let Easter pass me this year without watching a clip or two from the movie. If I think it's so violent, why did I want to watch it again? As you'll see in this interview with Jim Caviezel (he plays Jesus Christ in The Passion), he says that people get upset with watching the scene of Jesus' beating because that's "their sins." With every whip and every chunk of skin ripped off his back is another one our earthly sins. And Jesus took it. He took it all. Every last sin of the past, present and future. I think that's probably why I want to cry when I see that event. 

Caviezel proposes that people want to look away because they don't want to admit their own sins. (Theoretically) it would be hard to see a best friend getting whipped by a master, when you were the one who messed up, right? So if your friend took all the blame, selflessly, how would that make you feel? I'd initially feel guilty, and then sad. But if that whipping took care of every mistake you ever made and would make in the future, how freeing would that feel? And how much would you want to honor your friend for carrying that burden for you? That's how it is for Jesus. He took the pain so we didn't have to.

But back to my main point. If you watch a clip from the movie, you'll see how powerful film can be in conveying the message of Christ. This morning I read the four gospels' accounts of Jesus's death and resurrection. I could let my imagination run wild. But watching a film is different. It makes the events come alive - you can see how the event might have played out because there are "real" people and raw emotions. Caviezel even says in the interview something like, "I don't know how anyone cannot watch the movie and not be a believer." I'll let the movie speak for itself.


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