Have you decided if, as a Christian, you will go to see the new Hollywood rendition of "The Passion of The Christ"? Have you considered more, so what should be the PURPOSE of your going to see this movie? I would like to offer my humble suggestions
The best reason anyone can have for going to see the "Passion of The Christ" movie is NOT that it will bring them to
a greater understanding of their faith or a deeper personal relationship with God - BUT in addition to that - this move should act as a catalyst for evangelism called upon by Jesus exactly BECAUSE of His death! When one attends this film, are we truly overwhelmed by the thought of the total 'love nature' of God through this act? Will we now understand this love revealed through God's divine salvation plan that includes the enormous price Jesus paid for all sinners - but ONLY for those who truly repent and turn their life over to Him and believe in Christ alone for salvation? Indeed, this film surely will act upon the hearts of many Christian "sects" who deny or don't believe or devalue the true biblical doctrine of salvation ONLY in and through Jesus, including many Catholics who will go to see this film specifically because it was done by a 'Catholic'. So hopefully this movie will clearly prove to anyone attending that the deep suffering done by Christ PAID IN FULL for your sins and that no 'external', religious, pious acts can EVER be equal to and definitely will never be able to get you into heaven if you deny the supremacy of this act by Christ. If one comes away from this movie and can't realize this, then I think they somehow missed one of the main points!
The second reason that Christians specifically should attend is to see how lost so many still are and to let this film CONVICT them personally and cause them to pray to God to develop in them a heart for the lost - as well as for God to reveal biblical verses to use with those they love who have not yet come to faith in Christ for their salvation. Another reason is so that we show support for such a quality, Christian-based film and let Hollywood know we want to more films like this. This reason may be the best because it will show the world that in America, Christian faith and values are still strong, even though it may appear that 'the west' is lost in other values such as materialism and immorality.
A final reason I truly believe this movie is coming out now is to hopefully finally awaken and revive the true spiritual life of Americans! Once again, even a few years after 9/11 it seems we have become totally complacent about the evil that pervades our country and surrounds us in so many false images and messages portrayed primarily by the media and Hollywood. I further wonder if the 'violence' in this film can truly make an impact on our people (especially GenXers and Boomers) who have become so desensitized by the many scenes and daily experiences of violence and language they are bombarded with in movies, on TV shows, and even from the current events now available through the news media - perhaps this is why Mel Gibson felt the need to portray the acts done to Jesus in what some say is "very over the top" manner - personally I tend to agree that crucifixion was a very painful and violent act and that due to the many in power who were afraid of Him and a potential takeover, that Christ's beating and crucifixion was much more intense than any "average" torture of others who underwent crucifixion in those times. The fact that so many of our youth are still buying into this culture and somehow our parents, churches and even Christian-based schools and agencies just don't seem to be able to get a hold on how to reach young people with the message of the Gospel and that living your life for Jesus is so much more fulfilling than ANYTHING in the world - beyond all the technology, fancy clothing and jewelry, and 'fast' lifestyles presented by movies and 'reality TV' that is so Unrealistic a way to find a life-long partner or go through life -that God alone is enough to fill your every need and desire. This 'word' needs to be something we remember to tell every young person as another reason they should go to see this film. And I truly believe if our youth who go to see this film are not affected to begin to actively zone out of this culture and work together to change the culture and THEIR future -and to have respect for their parents and other 'authority figures' who are trying to develop their heart and minds to be good, Christian citizens - that the future of 'the church' itself is in greatest jeopardy! Of course, this also means that adults will LISTEN and work actively WITH our youth to reach out to save many young people who are dying around us without Christ. Without getting this message about the need for TRUE spiritual revival, I truly believe that America's future will be lost and God will begin to bring judgement and vengeance upon our churches and country because we have truly not lived up to our part in fulfilling the mission to "love your neighbor to Christ" and go even to the ends of the earth with the life-changing Gospel message. So I pray this movie will be a catalyst for true spiritual revival in America.
As for any anti-Jewish overtones that may occur from the film, it is unfortunate that apparently many have yet not heard Mel's direct comments that his intentions and this movie are in no way "anti-Semitic" - only a good representation of the facts as presented in the Gospels (although no one can know 100% everything that was acted and said by all present at those times). And that those who killed Jesus were in fact EACH and EVERY person on earth because we are all sinners…personally I feel this is another reason God purposed this film be released, as a means for Christians to readdress this issue and finally accurately interpret the related scriptural verses and put the old interpretation of antisemitism to rest permanently.
My further personal "interpretation" of how to address such "anti-semtic" comments is to clarify to people that the crowds in Jerusalem at that time were NOT only Jewish and not only from that area, but because of the holy days and Jerusalem being a strong "trade area" there were always people there from countries all over the known world. So surely it was not only Jews who were in the crowd screaming OR that had "issues" with Jesus even if they were not immediately in that crowd. And as Jesus walked to Calvary all these people had the chance to "save" him and not many did anything - so again, this only reinforces the biblical understanding of the verses that "His blood will be upon us (all) - meaning we are ALL guilty.
As for the exact verses that were omitted and often cited about (Jewish) crowds shouting "let his blood be on us and our children" - personally I also interpret these to be PROPHETIC verses and the Jews simply did not (and still do not realize) what they were saying at the time, but these verses match many other scripture that proclaim a remnant from the Jewish people WILL one day be covered by Jesus' blood (come to true salvation in Christ). And in fact, His blood, as it was spattered as He was being tortured and also poured out along the streets all along the way to Calvary and at the foot of the cross DID in fact "come upon us" in that some blood must have splattered over alot of people or they simply walked in/thru it, as well as the fact that His blood actually did pour INTO AND THRU THE ENTIRE EARTH from the bottom of the cross and all these routes Jesus walked to Calvary - all this was done so that God's love, thru his blood, could "infuse" and even cleanse the earth and even bring about new life for those who had already 'died in the faith' with knowledge of a Messiah they had believed in and now "saw" fulfilled through his blood pouring death and resurrection.
But what is also good to remember is that no one has 100% perfect interpretation of scripture - ONLY God knows how all scripture fits perfectly together. So although I do hope that this film will redirect many Catholics to read the Bible and realize a majority of the beliefs and theology they have are not biblical or commanded by God (especially their doctrine about salvation through prayers to Mary and other saints) I also do not hate Catholics for their false beliefs. And I also state that many other Christian sects and individuals do not have a clear or correct understanding of salvation, as well as many other theological points. The Scriptures tell us that as human beings we can have close understanding but will never know all until He returns finally triumphant and creates the new heaven and earth to reign forever (again another false doctrine that being propagated by many fundamentalists and therefore growing today is the concept of "pre-tribulation" and/or a 1000 years reign - which is only a very recent interpretation of scripture, that some are trying to proport supercedes the theology that God will return to rule forever, which means ETERNALLY when He comes again and recreates a new heaven and new earth - which scripture clearly shows happens at the same time, not different times).
So I hope people will understand that this movie was GOD working on Mel Gibson's heart and moving him to do a great thing in sharing this great story - but it is also giving each of us a chance to re-examine our own faith and perhaps use this film as an evangelical tool to reinvigorate us to SHARE THE GOSPEL that Christ's death and resurrection WAS a truly historic event that changed the world and can change their life, because faith in Christ is the only way to heaven! Even if Mel or other Catholics don't realize it, God is working strongly thru this film to bring them to knowledge that TRUE salvation and faith are found only in and thru CHRIST ALONE! My final thought is that God is working through this film to show the many churches how to redirect themselves back to true biblical faith - and that this faith in Christ alone is the only way to 'reunite' as one church, that will become the glorious bride finally prepared to meet her bridegroom - and this movie may just be one of the last calls in America to come to true faith before He returns in glory!
I PRAY 'the church' is ready!