The movie, The Passion of the Christ, co-written and directed by Mel Gibson, is a graphic retelling of the last twelve hours of Jesus before He was crucified. The actors spoke in Hebrew, Aramaic and Latin, recreating the historical landscape and the dialogue that occurred between the Jews and Romans. Critics have panned the movie as lurid and gratuitous. Others have charged that sectarian bias is imbued within the movie. I aver that it is a powerful presentation based upon the four Gospels of the Bible.
As I viewed the horrific recreation of Jesus being whipped and tortured by the Romans, the Holy Spirit brought to mind the passage from the Book of Isaiah. By His stripes we are healed.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5 (NASB)
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
Isaiah 53:5 (NLT)
In every Bible translation of this passage from the Prophet Isaiah, we read about the terrifying horror and pain that Jesus Christ endured for our sins. However, no words, no movie, no historical account will ever enable us to understand the depth of suffering that was inflicted upon Jesus. It was a physical suffering as depicted. It was an emotional suffering as He wept for His followers, His mother, and the Jews. It was a spiritual suffering as He bore the weight of the sins of everyone who has ever lived and will ever live.
This was not the first time I have viewed this movie and after each time, I am filled with profound grief, overwhelmed with emotions. For a few hours, all I can focus upon is the all consuming love that Jesus had for us. All I can see is the anguish on His disfigured face. I vow to always remember the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for me and all Creation.
And then, life intervenes.
A prickly HR issue has arisen within my office staff. A near miss at a busy intersection by someone speeding to beat the changing traffic light. A patient is calling to dispute their bill. Out of sight, out of mind. Choose your aphorism and my excuse. My fleeting faith is watered down by the concerns of my world. My sinful nature once again takes over and the vow I so confidently made is forgotten. The soul shaking image of Jesus is replaced by my sins. My sins are the stripes that wounded my Savior.
By His stripes we are healed.
How desperately I need my Savior, Jesus Christ.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.