Friday, March 28, 2003

The Passion of the Christ

The Lord Jesus Christ often asked people “Who do you say I am?” And often he was accused of claiming to be somebody that he wasn’t. His life, his death and his return from the dead was a dance that he played out right before us. He defied our sense of logic and defied our preconceived Ideas of who the Messiah should be. The Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson brings us into the dilemma of answering for ourselves his question “Who do you say I am?”

Hint’s of supernatural occurrences in Mel’s film are believed to be accurate by millions of Christ’s followers today. The purpose of miracles are to challenge our sensibilities and to force us to decide the question Jesus often asked “Who do you say that I am?”. One of the things Jesus said regarding these miracles however was that even though given the sign of Jonah many would not believe. The sign of Jonah refers to a Jonah who was swallowed up in the belly of a whale for 3 days and then released on dry land alive. This sign was performed by the Lord Jesus Christ when on the 3rd day he arose from the dead. Jesus also referred to this sign when he spoke of the destruction of the temple and the rebuilding of it in 3 days. For the temple he spoke of was his human body.

The Bible predicts the coming of a Messiah who would rule as King over the whole earth from Jerusalem. Yet the Bible also predicts a Messiah who would suffer. The two predictions seem contradictory. Many
religious folks who claim to be God’s people are blind to the prophesies of the suffering Messiah. Mel’s film makes fleeting reference to the predictions that were made approximately 700 years Before Christ’s Birth, by the prophet Isaiah. We would like to quote more of Isaiah’s prediction and also a prediction that was made by King David concerning the Messiah. By the way, the translation of the word for Messiah in Greek of Jesus day was the word Christos. Both words mean “Anointed One”.

Isaiah 52 - 13 …He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. 14Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men; 15So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told them they shall see, And what they had not heard they shall consider. Isaiah 53 - 2… He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. 3He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4Surely He has borne our grief’s And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5But 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. 6All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD as laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 7He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 8He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 9And they made His grave with the wicked-- But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth. 10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. 11He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. 12… He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.

Psalm 22 - 1 My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning? 2O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; And in the night season, and am not silent. 3But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel. 4Our fathers trusted in You; They trusted, and You delivered them. 5They cried to You, and were delivered; They trusted in You, and were not ashamed. 6But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people. 7All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8"He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!" 9But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother's breasts. 10I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother's womb You have been My God. 11Be not far from Me, For trouble is near; For there is none to help. 12Many bulls have surrounded Me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me. 13They gape at Me with their mouths, Like a raging and roaring lion. 14I am poured out like water, And all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me. 15My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death.16For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; 17I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. 18They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots. 19But You, O LORD, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me! 20Deliver Me from the sword, My precious life from the power of the dog. 21Save Me from the lion's mouth And from the horns of the wild oxen! You have answered Me. 22I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You. 23You who fear the LORD, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel! 24For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from Him; But when He cried to Him, He heard. 25My praise shall be of You in the great assembly; I will pay My vows before those who fear Him. 26The poor shall eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever! 27All the ends of the world Shall remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations Shall worship before You. 28For the kingdom is the LORD's, And He rules over the nations. 29All the prosperous of the earth Shall eat and worship; All those who go down to the dust Shall bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep himself alive. 30A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation, 31They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, That He has done this.

Mel was asked what motivated him to attempt to make the most accurate portrayal of the last 12 hours of the Jesus Life. He answered; Growing up I didn’t realize what was involved in this. I didn’t realize how hard it was. The full horror of what Jesus suffered for our redemption didn’t really strike me. Understanding what he went through, even on a human level, makes me feel not only compassion, but also a debt: I want to repay him for the enormity of his sacrifice. – Mel Gibson
Perhaps this film has sparked an interest in you as well. If it has please contact the person that handed you this tract or the tracts author and let them know. There are several Churches in your area who would be glad to greet you on Sunday morning and share with you the Passion of Christ as well. Perhaps you like Mel and like other Christians in your community have become aware of the great debt that you owe to our Lord Jesus Christ.
The scriptures tell us that the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is sprinkled on us. Hebrews 12 - 22But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. 25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 26whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, "Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven." The Lord Jesus Christ right now is involved in the ministry of the sprinkling of blood. Perhaps you are aware that He has sprinkled His blood on you. If so, come and join us and allow us to explain the Good News of the Love of the Lord Jesus Christ to you this coming Sunday morning.

You may contact the person who handed you this tract or is author

Bible Door Tracts
273 Manchester Drive, Newmarket, ON, L3Y 6J4 , Canada and
Copyright 2003 © Bible Door Tracts.

This tracts author is Ray Luff of Bible Door Tracts. The opinions contained in this tract do not necessarily represent the opinions of Riverdrive Park Bible Chapel where Ray is in fellowship. All Bible references are from The New King James Version. 1996, c1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson unless otherwise noted.

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