Today is Good Friday. The day Jesus Christ was crucified. To the un-churched that may seem like a strange reason to refer to a day as being “good.” The reason of course that it is good is that through Christ’s crucifixion and subsequent resurrection, the sins of the world, past, present, and future, were forgiven. Mankind was given a second chance.
When The Passion of the Christ came out a couple years ago, I missed seeing it in the theater. It wasn’t a deliberate thing, I just didn’t make it. When it came out on DVD I had Netflix ship it to my house and it sat on my entertainment center for about two months, unwatched. Again, not really a deliberate action on my part, it’s just not the kind of movie you can pop in to pass the time. I was never in the right mood or frame of mind to watch it. I eventually sent it back, but ended up getting it again, this time determined to watch it. And we did, Jen and I. The best way I can describe it is “disturbingly moving.” As we watched the ultra-realistic portrayal of the beatings Jesus endured and the spikes driven through his flesh, we bawled like babies. Even now as I write this, remembering the images and what they represent, I am still moved. (I did not expect this) The movie certainly isn’t for everyone. It assuredly the bloodiest movie I have ever seen (this coming from someone who saw Saving Private Ryan in the theater five times). But the depiction of what crucifixion was is real and accurate.
Despite the clear physical suffering Christ endured, it is essential to remember that that was not the ultimate pain He suffered. Christ endured, quite literally, Hell. He was separated from the Father because He had become sin, our sin. That was the real torture. Because of that torture we will never have to experience it…if we accept His free gift of salvation. I’ve often speculated that the reason God chose such a brutal and grisly method of execution for His Son was to give us just the slightest bit of understanding of what He endured. We have all experienced physical pain. Not to that degree, hopefully, but we have all stubbed a toe, or cut ourselves, or broken a bone. It hurts. So, when we read the gospel accounts of what was done to Jesus or see it dramatically reenacted, we can begin to identify with the suffering. But even though we can know and appreciate what that must have felt like, we will never know the experience of God turning His back on us…if we accept His free gift of salvation.
Thankfully, after He died He didn’t remain in the grave. He was miraculously resurrected, defeated death, and now reigns at the right hand of the Father. He has offered all of us, all sinners, from the Apostle Paul to Osama bin Laden, the chance for redemption through his death and resurrection. All we need is faith. Faith that that alone can save us. No amount of good deeds, no self-affliction, no church attendance records, no devoutly following any other religious leader. The only thing that can save us from ourselves is faith in Jesus Christ. Don’t take my word for it. Find yourself a Bible and follow the Romans Road (click here).
My favorite scene in The Passion is near the very beginning. Jesus and His disciples are in the Garden of Gethsemane and the guards come to arrest him. As He is being led out of the garden there is a slow motion close up of a snake slithering by, a clear reference to Satan. As Jesus is walking by, His heal suddenly steps on the snake’s head as the film is sped up to normal. The inference is powerful and clear; a depiction of the fulfilling of the prophecy in Genesis 3:15 (and also Romans 16:20 for that matter). Satan thought he had won the battle, but really, he lost the war.
Check out Future Expositor for a great post along similar lines (linked in the side bar —>).