I went to see “The Passion of the Christ” film thisweek, keeping in mind the concerns that “The Passion of theChrist” film might be anti-Semitic.
The movie based on the New Testament gospel accounts ofChrist’s last 12 hours was accurate to the scriptures, whichkept it simple. I was a bit worried that my reading speedwouldn’t be up to par for the subtitles, as the movie is donein Aramaic (and, from what I hear, a bit of Latin).
I was surprised and relieved with the simplicity of the script.For the most part, only words specifically found in the scriptureswere translated. In several scenes, there were no words.Viewersrelied on watching humans display raw emotion, enough that anyonecould interpret what was being said. The characters in the movieconveyed their emotions well, painting vivid pictures of humanfeelings of pain, grief, hatred, and love.
Love was a significant part of this film. Not only was loveshown by the character of Christ, as any viewer would expect. Lovewas shown by many other characters in the movie. This was theaspect of “The Passion” I found to be most stunning inlight of the concerns that the film may be anti-Semitic. Theindividuals who most strongly showed their love for Christ in themovie were Jewish. (The man who helped Jesus carry his cross was aJew. He defended Christ fearlessly in the face of these mercilesssoldiers. “LEAVE HIM ALONE! LEAVE HIM ALONE!” hescreamed. He offered what he could to encourage Christ, saying asthey carried the cross, “Almost there. Almost done.”;in the film, Mary Magdalene, a Jewish woman who was once aprostitute, sopped up Jesus’ blood from the stone floor wheresoldiers had beat him. She grieved for Christ, remembering the dayJesus saved her from the Pharisees who willed to stone her for hersin. Her love for Christ was easy for me to see; a Jewish girl cameto Jesus with a towel to wipe the blood and dirt from his face, anda cup of water to drink as he carried his cross. After he had wipedhis face, she embraced the towel, revealing boldly her love forhim. Seeing this film, I have to say that the accusation that thismovie lays blame on the Jews for the death of Jesus is not alegitimate claim.
We are more than a world of races. We are a world ofindividuals. We each have choices to make and take the actions wechoose to take. We love the things we love; hate the things wehate. It has little to do with our race.
The people I saw in the crowd as I watched the movie were agroup of individuals who each made the choice to either love Christor despise him. Some chose hate. Others chose love.
To me, that’s what this film was about – not toblame any race for Christ’s death; but to show the sacrificeof this man, and reveal how each human has the choice to embrace itor not. And let us not forget that Jesus was first and foremost aJewish man.