The PASSION of the Christ. This movie is a perfect example of what I have been talking about these past 54 months and what Liveprayer is all about, taking the message of Christ TO THE WORLD. Bringing Christ to the world through the same mainstream channels satan uses to take his message of destruction to the masses every single day. We need MORE movies like this, we need programs on SECULAR television that tell the truth of God's Word, we need those on secular radio willing to tell people the truth of God's Word in the context of the day to day issues we face in our world. Have you seen all of the airtime the secular media outlets have devoted to this movie in the last month? People that will never go to church, never watch the Christian media, are being exposed to Christ daily because of it. AMEN!!!
I want to start by saying thank you to Mel Gibson for his personal sacrifice to make this movie. He was truly an instrument God used to make this happen. I do need to address however an error in Mr. Gibson's theology. He is widely quoted as saying, "there is no salvation for those outside the Church (meaning the Roman Catholic Church)." That of course is not what the Bible, our final authority in ALL matters, teaches. It is NOT a church that saves you, but your faith in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8,9 clearly tells us that salvation is a two part process, God's grace and our faith plus nothing else. No church can save you, no amount of good works can save you, ONLY faith in Jesus Christ can save you. As for the movie itself, it was theologically very true to the Gospels.
Of course, one of the biggest controversies surrounding this movie has been the charge that it is anti-Semitic. Nothing could be further from the truth! Again, the movie was very true to the Gospels and accurately portrayed the role each group played in the death of Christ. The fact is, I killed Jesus Christ. It was MY SINS that He died for. YOU killed Jesus Christ. It was YOUR sins that He died for. All mankind killed Jesus Christ. It was for the sins of all mankind that He died for.
The Gospels clearly lay out and contemporaneous history confirms that Jesus was seen as a threat to the Jewish religious leaders of His day. They plotted to kill Him and were able to use the Roman government that was in power to carry out His death. That is an historical fact. This movie does not promote anti-Semitism any more than it promotes a hatred of Italians for the role they played in Christ's death.
The other controversy surrounding this film is the intense and graphic violence. While I personally do not enjoy movies with this type of violence, you could not accurately tell this story without it. Few people really comprehend the horror and brutality of the death Christ endured. You MUST WATCH every second as painful as it will be to begin to understand the price that He paid for OUR sins. Not His sins, OURS! I pray that the next time you make a choice to sin, you remember the pain He endured for that sin. After seeing this movie, you will never be able to take sin lightly again!
*I do need to add that in my personal view, this is NOT a movie a child under 12 should watch. It is simply too brutal, too graphic for a child under 12 to see. Of course, this is something each parent will need to pray about, but I advise you to see the movie FIRST before taking children under 12.
The reason I am so excited about this movie is that it can be an incredible evangelistic tool to lead many people to know Christ as their Savior. I realize that Mr. Gibson is a filmmaker and not an evangelist, but the only problem I had with the movie is after the last scene there NEEDED TO BE AN ALTAR CALL! It opens a person's heart to the Gospel, it moves them towards Christ, and then it ends. A thirty second explanation of what it takes to be a Christian and then giving an invitation to accept Christ would yield an incredible harvest of souls.
Since there is no altar call at the end of the movie, this is a unique opportunity for the church to fulfill part of its mission in the world. For those who are buying tickets and using them to bring unsaved family members and friends, that is great. The pastor will have the opportunity to gather everyone together after the movie and share the plan of salvation to lead those who are ready to make a commitment to accept Christ.
The vast majority of the times The Passion airs in movie theaters around the nation, there will not be a church group or pastor in attendance. It will simply be the general public. Churches need to have people outside of the theater to at least hand out tracts to those who saw the movie. Getting materials into the hands of the people who watched The Passion so that they have the opportunity to accept Christ is critical and a role the local church MUST play to maximize this wonderful evangelistic opportunity.
The other role the local church MUST play is in the follow-up. Those who commit their lives to Christ through this movie MUST BE DISCIPLED. That is a mission the local church has to play to see the maximum fruit from this unique evangelistic opportunity. A local church that makes full use of this movie could see hundreds, even thousands of new believers in their pews over the next few months!
I love you and care about you so much. I will be praying for you to take
time out of your busy life to see The Passion. As powerful as the various movies about the life of Christ over the years have been, none of them ever properly captured the brutality and horror of His death the way this movie does. It is IMPORTANT for every person who knows Christ as their Savior to understand the price of our sin. We often sin without regard because we know we can ask God to forgive us and He will according to His promises. But for the first time, many are going to see a brief glimpse of the incredible PRICE that was paid by Jesus for our sins.
I will also pray that you take advantage of this movie as an evangelistic tool to reach the lost for Christ. Every church should be involved in making sure those who see The Passion in your town don't get out of the theater complex without the opportunity to receive information on how they can have a personal relationship with the Jesus who died for their sins. It is also a great personal witnessing tool for those who know the Lord to bring to the movie unsaved family members, friends, co-workers, those you go to school with, and be able to share with them afterwards how Jesus Christ has made a difference in your life.
The most important decision that we will make in this life is what we do with this man named JESUS. The moment we die we will stand before God and be held accountable for our choice to accept Him into our heart and life by faith or reject Him. That choice will determine where whether we spend eternity WITH God our Creator, or SEPARATED from God. The beauty of The Passion is that it will force people to make a decision about Jesus.
The Bible says that TODAY is the day of salvation, tomorrow is not promised
to us. If you do not have the assurance that when your life is over you will
spend eternity WITH God and want to have a personal relationship with this Jesus
who paid the ultimate price for your sins, simply pray for God to open your
heart and read the words at: www.liveprayer.com/bdy_salvatn.html .
In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,