Have you heard of the controversy
and heated debate swirling around Mel
Gibson's yet to be released film, "The
Passion"? Just to be clear, I will
summarize: Detractors, supposedly leaders
of Jewish groups, as well as Catholics
and Protestants, are concerned that
this documentation of the final hours
of Jesus Christ's life and His resurrection
"will fuel hatred, bigotry and
anti-Semitism." Since this portrayal
is arguably one of the most accurate
of all movies ever made about any aspect
of Christ's life, we should be asking
what these concerned "leaders"
are saying about the Gospel of Christ.
Are they saying that the Gospels
fuel hatred? If they are, they hit the
nail right on its head. The Gospels
have always fueled hatred against Christians
as Jesus Christ very clearly forewarned
they would. One would think Jesus' message
and mission of truth, love and mercy
would inspire all men to a perpetual
state of warm and fuzzy mutual affection.
But if you actually read Jesus' words,
He will disabuse you of that notion
in an instant.
Mark 6:1-3 And
He went out from thence, and came into
His own country; and His disciples followed
Him. And when the Sabbath day was come,
He began to teach in the synagogue;
and many hearing Him were astonished,
saying, "From whence hath this
man these things and what wisdom is
this which is given unto Him, that even
such mighty works are wrought by His
hands? Is not this the carpenter, the
son of Mary, the brother of James, and
Joses, and of Judas, and Simon? And
are not His sisters here with us?"
And they were offended at him.
Yes, Jesus was offensive to all who
were unwilling or not yet ready to believe
his message. His message was so offensive
that mobs attempted to stone Him or
throw Him off a cliff because of His
teaching and healing. Yes, as Jesus
was healing the dying, the lame and
the blind, there were men and women
desiring His death. What kind of message
could elicit this great condemnation?
It was and is still very simple:
Jesus is the Son of God. God chose to
sacrifice His Son in order to pay for
the sins of all mankind. The only cost
to the sinner is the putting aside of
our foolish pride in order to accept
this free gift. God categorically declares
that no man can earn this salvation
with good deeds. We are universally
and individually altogether too sinful
to pay the price. We have to accept
that Christ is the Son of God and died
for our sins.
So what is the big deal? Free gift.
Only have to accept the gift. No biggie,
Not so fast. The problem is this:
Today's American can't even see they
need salvation! "What have I done?
I haven't murdered anyone, have I?"
This message of redemption is really,
really offensive to a whole bunch of
So, as it was in His day, the story
is just as offensive now as it was then.
Millions of Christians over the centuries
since Christ have paid for their unswerving
declaration of Christ's Gospel with
And what did Christ say we Christians
should feel when persecuted? Prepare
yourself for the most ridiculously politically
incorrect characterization of unjust
suffering ever offered:
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile
you, and persecute you, and shall say
all manner of evil against you falsely,
for my sake.
be exceeding glad: for great is your
reward in Heaven: for so persecuted
they the prophets which were before
When Jesus says "blessed are ye,"
how would that be translated into modern
English? Blessed" means "happy"!
Yes! Believing Christians are told to
be happy about their persecution because
it is for Christ and truth.
Now Mr. Gibson will not likely pay
the greatest price of all (thank goodness!),
as so many Christians before him, but
he will as will other Christians
be persecuted for this kind of
Any movie telling an accurate account
of the life, death and resurrection
of Jesus Christ will and must elicit
a stinging rebuke from the world.
Accordingly, I declare Mel Gibson's
"The Passion" as the "single
most offensive movie ever made."
It is also the finest and greatest tribute
to Christ I have ever seen in film.
You might be wondering why some
movies about Christ do not offend as
well as this one does. There are a few
reasons. For starters, in past efforts,
Christ's scourging and torture is left
unrealistically brief and inconsequential.
"The Passion" is the only
movie ever made to show the horrifying
brutality of the pre-crucifixion price
paid by Christ.
The Old Testament
prophetically describes the results
of Christ's beating as rendering Him
unrecognizable by His own people.
Gibson and producer Steve McEveety address
this modern omission head-on with the
single-most graphic depiction of a true-life
torture ever filmed. No, the Gospel
is not for the faint-of-heart. This
violence was not gratuitous, but appropriate.
What other things bother today's
critic? To be blunt, unbelief. Jesus
is clearly shown as the Son of God.
And, importantly, unlike many movies
that end with Jesus' death on the cross,
"The Passion," in the last
brief scene, shows Christ in His tomb
resurrected in the promised victory
You see, Christians only see this
bodily resurrection as an accurate representation
of the life of Christ unbelievers
have to reconcile the claims of the
Gospels with their belief systems. Many
people today feel particularly offended
by Jesus' claim to be "the Way,
the Truth, and the Life" and that
"no man cometh unto the Father,
but by me."
Anybody can make a film about a
great guy named Jesus, an itinerate
carpenter-teacher humbly dispensing
words of wisdom just like Buddha, Confucius
and the Dalai Lama nobody gets
offended, everybody's happy. However,
no other recognized spiritual leader
in history has claimed deity, nor have
they been killed and brought back to
life. Jesus drew a line in the sand
between Himself and all past and future
Jesus said His message would put
His followers on one side of a line
and all other humanity on the other.
This would extend even to believer's
Whosoever therefore shall confess Me
before men, him will I confess also
before My Father which is in Heaven.
But whosoever shall deny Me before men,
him will I also deny before My Father
which is in Heaven.
Think not that
I am come to send peace on earth: I
came not to send peace, but a sword.
For I am come to set a man at variance
against his father, and the daughter
against her mother, and the daughter-in-law
against her mother-in-law. And a man's
foes shall be they of his own household.
He that loveth
father or mother more than me is not
worthy of Me; and he that loveth son
or daughter more than Me is not worthy
of Me. And he that taketh not his cross,
and followeth after Me, is not worthy
of Me. He that findeth his life shall
lose it; and he that loseth his life
for My sake shall find it."
A third reason this film must be reviled
is its lack of condemnation for those
who were responsible for Christ's death.
Critics, disingenuous or ill-informed,
believe that because the Gospel's account
of the events leading to Jesus' crucifixion,
portray Jewish religious leaders and
Jewish mobs as actively involved in
Jesus' sentencing and execution, is,
Let's see how silly this gets with
a little illumination. Jesus, the condemned
victim of torture and injustice is ...
Jewish. His mom, the virgin, the blessed
among women, is ... Jewish. Peter ...
is Jewish. Simon, the man who sacrificially
and with utterly inspiring abandon,
carries the cross for Christ at the
expense of pain and suffering, is ...
Jewish. James Jesus' brother , the "Marys"
who discover Jesus' empty tomb and Joseph
of Aramathia the rich man who
offered his pristine sepulcher as Jesus'
burial tomb were all ... Jewish!
The religious leaders who argued in
opposition to the Jewish religious leaders
instigating for Christ's execution were
... Jewish! Matthew, Mark, John, and
Paul were all ... Jewish. Could I go
on? Of course! Almost endlessly.
By the way, most Christians agree
that Jews are God's chosen people and
they consider the father of the Jewish
race, Abraham, the father of all Christians
as well! And here we are come full circle.
The Gospel of Christ a Jew
is characterized as "anti-Semitic,"
and therefore its portrayal in film
is as well. Most wonderful of all, Jesus,
hanging from the cross, prays to His
Father and asks forgiveness for His
persecutors as they "know not what
Lastly, a particularly bizarre charge
is made that Gibson's film inaccurately
portrays the Jewish religious leadership
and the mob as orchestrating the illegal
execution of Jesus. Maybe some of the
films detractors haven't read the New
Testament Gospels yet. I suggest they
Yes! Corrupt Jewish religious leaders
whipped up the primarily Jewish mob,
to demand Jesus' death. The execution
was illegally conducted, Jewish law
was broken. The story is therefore not
a condemnation of the Jewish faith and
its law, but of sin and corruption.
All times, all institutions have experienced
corruption at the hands of greedy, power-hungry
men. Nothing new here and certainly
Everyone should see this movie.
Not only is it "the greatest story
ever told," it is a cinematic tour
de force. I predict this movie will
become a classic: millions will see
it, millions more will buy it in DVD.
It will be shown in millions of homes
every Easter. It will be seen around
the world. And best of all, many viewers,
once "offended" will be transformed.
Elizabeth Farah is
co-founder of WorldNetDaily and serves
as senior vice president of marketing.